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Alvaro Obregón, Mexico

Moreno-Mateos D.,Basque Center For Climate Change 3 | Moreno-Mateos D.,Ikerbasque | Moreno-Mateos D.,Stanford University | Meli P.,Natura y Ecosistemas Mexicanos AC | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Applied Ecology | Year: 2015

Current efforts to restore and create ecosystems require greater understanding of ecosystems' responses to commonly used physical and biological intervention approaches to overcome ecological and technological limitations. We estimated effect sizes from measurements of biotic assemblage structure and biogeochemical functions at 628 restored and created wetlands globally, in comparison with 499 reference wetlands. We studied the recovery trajectories of wetlands where different restoration or creation approaches were used under different environmental settings. Although the variance explained by a linear mixed-effects models was low (6-7%), the study of recovery trajectories showed that the restoration or creation approach had no significant effects in most environmental settings. In particular, wetlands where surface modification and flow re-establishment were used followed similar recovery trajectories regardless of whether they were revegetated or not. We even found potential detrimental effects of biological manipulations on the recovery of the plant assemblage, particularly in cold climates and in wetlands restored or created in agricultural areas. Since physical interventions are required to recover or create the hydrological conditions of degraded or new wetlands, and given the high cost (22-73%) of biological interventions (i.e. revegetation), the need for biological interventions is, in most cases, unclear. Our results highlight the urgent need to increase our understanding of the long-term effects of restoration and creation actions in our aim to engage in large-scale ecosystem management strategies for wetlands. Synthesis and applications. These results suggest that, currently, the recovery and development processes of restored and created wetlands can be driven by spontaneous processes rather than by the response of wetlands to human interventions other than those targeted to restore hydrological conditions that existed prior to disturbance. However, given the synthetic nature of the data set, the mixed nature of available data and the limited number of measures we found to estimate recovery, caution must be exercised when adapting the results presented here to the planning and execution of specific ecosystem restoration projects. These results suggest that, currently, the recovery and development processes of restored and created wetlands can be driven by spontaneous processes rather than by the response of wetlands to human interventions other than those targeted to restore hydrological conditions that existed prior to disturbance. However, given the synthetic nature of the data set, the mixed nature of available data and the limited number of measures we found to estimate recovery, caution must be exercised when adapting the results presented here to the planning and execution of specific ecosystem restoration projects. © 2015 British Ecological Society. Source


Meli P.,Natura y Ecosistemas Mexicanos AC | Landa R.,Centro Interdisciplinario Of Biodiversidad Y Ambiente Ac | Lopez-Medellin X.,Autonomous University of the State of Morelos | Carabias J.,National Autonomous University of Mexico
Ecosystems | Year: 2015

Understanding social perceptions of rural communities is essential to construct public policy and management alternatives, not only to maintain natural ecosystems but also to deal with a changing environment due to climatic change. Because climate variability in Mexico has important socio-economic and environmental impacts, it is necessary to build capacities for adaptation. We describe social perceptions of three main local stakeholders (that is, farmers, elders, and local authorities), regarding their relationships with rainforest and local adaptation to climate change in eleven rural communities in Marqués de Comillas municipality, Chiapas, Southern Mexico. We based in a qualitative approach and used participant observation and semi-structured interviews. Even certain subtly variation among stakeholders, we recognized some underlying ideas behind perceptions. Rainforest is considered crucial to maintain human livelihoods and to mitigate climatic changes. They perceived changes in climate occurring in the region, such as raising temperature, unpredictable rainfall, and streams becoming dry. Local organization and government involved in managing rainforest or dealing with climatic changes are practically absent. This emphasizes the needs bring proper and reliable information to make decisions regarding rainforest use and management, but also to adapt to a changing climate. The loss of the collective character of the communities and, certain conflicts in public policies that mirrored in the coexistence of initiatives with contrasting objectives are proposed as particularly important for understanding the emergence of these perceptions. We proposed some recommendations to bolster regional capacities addressing climate change. Involving stakeholders such as governmental and non-governmental institutions is also imperative. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Source


Meli P.,Natura y Ecosistemas Mexicanos AC | Rey Benayas J.M.,University of Alcala | Martinez Ramos M.,National Autonomous University of Mexico | Carabias J.,National Autonomous University of Mexico
New Forests | Year: 2015

Anthropogenic disturbances frequently exceed resilience of riparian forests. In small-scale restoration projects revegetation is a common technique, but its success depends on the plant species used and some environmental filters. We investigated whether grass competition and soil compaction together with seasonal drought and flooding limit the establishment of seven tree species experimentally planted in abandoned riparian pastures in Southern Mexico. We tested the effects of grass clearing and soil tilling and analyzed seasonal variation of vertical distance to water level, and changes in tree performance, microclimate, and vegetation biomass after planting. Seedling survival was low (19 ± 3 %), ranging between 3 (Brosimum alicastrum, Moraceae) and 38 % (Pachira aquatica, Bombacaceae). Survival was negatively correlated to vertical distance to water level, highlighting the importance of the short but severe dry season that may occur in the humid tropics, which reduced survival by >60 %. Flooding events also produced high seedling mortality (80 % after the two first events). Clearing but not tilling enhanced seedling survival. Clearing also significantly increased seedling growth of some species, suggesting competition release. Tilling did not have any consistent effect on growth, but it appears to counteract the positive effects of clearing. Both pre-existing and planted trees ameliorated microclimate to produce better conditions for establishment of new trees following natural regeneration. We conclude that clearing can enhance seedling establishment in riparian abandoned tropical pastures, but other revegetation treatments intended to reduce soil drying and uprooting by flooding during early establishment should be evaluated to improve the cost-benefit of restoring riparian forest. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Source


Meli P.,Natura y Ecosistemas Mexicanos AC | Meli P.,University of Alcala | Martinez-Ramos M.,National Autonomous University of Mexico | Rey-Benayas J.M.,University of Alcala
Restoration Ecology | Year: 2013

In revegetation projects, distinguishing species that can be passively restored by natural regeneration from those requiring active restoration is not a trivial decision. We quantified tree species dominance (measured by an importance value index, IVIi) and used abundance-size correlations to select those species suitable for passive and/or active restoration of disturbed riparian vegetation in the Lacandonia region, Southern Mexico. We sampled riparian vegetation in a 50×10-m transect in each of six reference (RE) and five disturbed (DE) riparian ecosystems. Those species representing more than 50% of total IVI in each ecosystem were selected, and Spearman rank correlation between abundance and diameter classes was calculated. For eight species, it was determined that passive restoration could be sufficient for their establishment. Another eight species could be transplanted by means of active restoration. Five species regenerate well in only one ecosystem type, suggesting that both restoration strategies could be used depending on the degree of degradation. Finally, two species were determined to not be suitable for restoration in the RE (based on the above selection criteria) and were not selected during this initial stage of our restoration project. The high number of tree species found in the RE suggests that the species pool for ecological restoration is large. However, sampling in both ecosystem types helped us reduce the number of species that requires active restoration. Restoration objectives must guide the selection of which methods to implement; in different conditions, other criteria such as dispersal syndrome or social value could be considered in the species selection. © 2013 Society for Ecological Restoration. Source


Meli P.,Natura y Ecosistemas Mexicanos AC | Martinez-Ramos M.,National Autonomous University of Mexico | Rey-Benayas J.M.,University of Alcala | Carabias J.,National Autonomous University of Mexico
Applied Vegetation Science | Year: 2014

Question: How to evaluate and integrate relevant ecological, social and technical criteria to select species to be introduced in restoration projects of highly diverse ecosystems such as tropical riparian forests. Location: Riparian forest, Marqués de Comillas municipality, southeast Mexico (16°54′N, 92°05′W). Methods: We proposed a 'species selection index' (SSI) using five independent criteria related to ecological, social and technical information. SSI targeted species that (1) are important in the reference forest; (2) are less likely to establish following disturbance; (3) are not specific to a particular habitat; (4) are socially accepted; and (5) their propagation requires a reasonable time and financial investment. SSI may range between zero and 50, with higher values meaning higher potential for restoration purposes. Results: Out of a local pool of 97 species, we identified 30 target tree species that together represented >60% of total importance value index in the reference riparian forests. SSI averaged 28.3 ± 1.0 over the studied species, suggesting that species with high values are not frequent. For 20 species, reintroduction by means of active forest restoration was deemed necessary. Species that established through natural regeneration, following secondary regrowth, had lower social value among local farmers. Nearly half of the identified species showed technical constraints for easy propagation and seeding. Conclusions: The proposed procedure is useful for selecting species to initiate forest restoration projects and of other woody ecosystems that harbour high biodiversity, and is suitable for several stakeholders interested in restoration. © 2014 International Association for Vegetation Science. Source

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