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Cycle 8 (2019 Deadline)

Incorporating relationships between ecosystem integrity and people’s livelihoods for conservation action planning in Tropical Dry Forest

PI: Susana Rodríguez-Buriticá (, Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute, in partnership with Universidad Nacional de Colombia
U.S. Partner: Andrew Hansen, Montana State University
Project Dates: January 2020 - December 2020

Project Overview:
8-221_Dry forest group 
Dry forest group. Photo credit:  Instituto Humboldt 
Photo credit: Felipe Villegas 
Despite recent improvements in the availability of basic ecological information on Tropical Dry Forest (TDF) remnants in Colombia, high-impact conservation and sustainable land management strategies are still elusive. This is in part due to the lack of a comprehensive narrative connecting our ecological knowledge with the economic consequences of TDF degradation. This project will address two major knowledge gaps about TDF in Colombia. First, current basic research does not have a good characterization of TDF ecological degradation; specifically, forest degradation in terms of attributes that could be relevant for ecosystem services (ES) provision. Second, despite previous study of the ecological and socioeconomic aspects of TDF, no previous effort has aimed to integrate available information to produce a comprehensive understanding of the role of TDF for local communities, as well as the cost-benefits associated with TDF degradation and loss. Analyses of information have been limited by project-specific commitments and fall short in using sophisticated analytical tools to construct such a narrative. By translating the ecological impacts of TDF degradation on ES and cost-benefit valuations, this PEER team aims to provide powerful tools to negotiate TDF protection and restoration at the local levels.

The goal of the project is to integrate scalable information from contrasting TDF territories with nationwide integrity indicators and to improve models for ES supply dynamics and their economic assessments. Site-specific information for the project will come from two large current TDF projects supported by other sponsors that have explored the links between (1) multi-level biodiversity indicators and TDF degradation in nine watersheds and (2) TDF degradation, ecosystem processes, and ES supply in four watersheds, with only two with socioeconomic information. Both projects are based on forest ecological condition assessments that do not incorporate land management history and only consider forest extent, not forest structure or overall integrity.   PI Dr. Rodríguez and her PEER team will (1) evaluate the congruence between forest degradation, biodiversity, and ecosystem functioning and ES under contrasting socioecological contexts; (2) assess the role of landscape management history on the dynamic of forest and ecosystem degradation; and (3) use ecosystem valuation and cost-benefit analyses to assess relationships among alternative management practices. This PEER-supported project will update analyses and models to improve data integration, scalability, and applicability of results to other TDF contexts by using sub-products from several ongoing U.S. Government-funded projects that will improve landscape and forest degradation assessments, thereby generating stronger evidence-based, high-impact products with nationwide pertinence.

Twitter account: @inst_humboldt

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