Archive for This Week’s Comment

Blogs, Forums and Listservers – Scientific networking redefined

In this generation, social networking has become an important communication tool for people to interact with each other. But, has social networking affected our ability to communicate with our colleagues in the scientific field? I definitely believe so. How can I be sure of that? Just remember your last visit to a scientific conference, symposium, or meeting.  In the agenda, you probably found a scheduled time to “network” with others and to discuss the latest research. The “poster session” is possibly one of the most commonly known scheduled “networking” sessions in scientific meetings and one of the best opportunities to make your contribution known to the scientific community.

Communication among experts and scientists is not a new concept, but I am convinced that the way we communicate our ideas is changing. “Scientific networking” (as I call it) is becoming redefined. How can I be sure of that? The existence of blogs, forums and listservers dedicated to encouraging the sharing of ideas, projects, and knowledge among the scientific community are serving as the “networks” that allow us to find out what’s going on in countries oceans away from us.

With this is mind, I’ve listed some blogs, forums and listservers that are presently aimed at communicating about marine and coastal issues.

I also included a list of blogs from UPR Sea Grant, which has also dedicated efforts to communicating their activities with the local public.

Other noteworthy websites are also listed for more interesting news concerning topics on marine and coastal issues.

Blogs, Forums, and Listservers:

University of Puerto Rico Sea Grant Blogs:

Other websites any avid marine expert or conservationist should visit:

 

Contributed by:

Jasmine Seda

CRA Team Member

Posted in: This Week's Comment

Leave a Comment (0) →

One for the Seabirds… or One-third…

Fish populations play a critical role in the feeding habits of seabirds. Healthy populations of fish provide subsistence to many species of birds, some of which are threatened, or in dire straits.  A recent article by Philippe M. Cury and others (2011) analyzes the trophic relations between birds and fishes, and ponders on the impact of fishing on the prey of seabirds.  The authors conclude that the ecosystem approach to management must put into action to allocate resources (“one-third for the birds” *) for the sustenance of bird populations and to maintain the “integrity of predator-prey interactions and marine food webs for the benefit of both natural predators and humans.” (Cury et al: 1706)

Ricardo López-Ortiz, from the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, studied the foraging and feeding habits of seabirds of the genus Sula in the Monito Islet of the Mona Channel near the island of Puerto Rico (López-Ortiz, 2009).  The study (supported by UPR Sea Grant) is perhaps one of the few descriptions of the foraging habits of boobies (Figure 1; p. 115) that suggests that the feeding habits of seabirds could also serve as a mechanism for monitoring the population of epipelagic species at their juvenile and post-larval stages.  Seabirds could provide (through regurgitation) samples of epipelagic fishes that could, otherwise, be difficult to obtain.

In the large scheme of things, seabirds compete with fishers, fishes, and other marine species for a number of their target preys, and thus must be factored into the management equation as Cury et al. (2011) suggests.

* – “…a practical indicator would be to maintain forage fish biomass above one-third of the maximum observed long-term biomass. The application of such a management guideline will depend upon local circumstances, such as the need to implement spatial management around breeding colonies or the conservation status of species.” (Cury et al: 1706)

References:

Cury PM, Boyd IL, Bonhommeau S, Anker-Nilssen T, Crawford RJM, Furness RW, Mills JA, Murphy EJ, Österblom H, Paleczny M, Piatt JF, Roux J, Shannon L, and Sydeman WJ. Global Seabird Response to Forage Fish Depletion—One-Third for the Birds. Science, 23 Dec 2011: 334 (6063), 1703-1706.

López-Ortiz, R. 2009. The Diet of Masked, Brown and Red-Footed Boobies (Sulidae: Pelecaniformes) in the Mona Passage, Puerto Rico. Ph.D. Dissertation. Marine Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez. (Figure 1, p. 115)

Written by: Dr. Manuel Valdés-Pizzini

Edited by: J. Seda Miró

Posted in: This Week's Comment

Leave a Comment (4) →

Caribbean Marine Biodiversity: Has much changed over the past few years?

Patricia Miloslavich and Eduardo Klein in their 2005 publication titled the Caribbean Marine Biodiversity: The known and the unknown present a general description of the major marine ecosystems and species found (referred to as the “knowns”) in the Caribbean region, an area that comprises about 2,754,000 km2 and is considered among the top five of the world “hotspots” for marine and terrestrial biodiversity. The authors also identified the “unknowns”, drawing attention to studies that must be addressed in each country to better understand the present and future status of Caribbean marine biodiversity in order to establish better resources management practices.

Overall, areas that required more studies included the taxonomy of small-sized organisms, cryptic and rare species (Table 1). Surprisingly, there were few studies regarding the biodiversity of planktonic species. Phyto- and zooplankton organisms represented the first and second trophic levels of the marine food chain, respectively.  Phytoplankton species are one of the main primary producers in the marine environment and, thus, are responsible for the uptake of carbon from the atmosphere and its transfer to other levels. It is widely known that phytoplankton composition can be used as an indicator of environmental health (i.e., ecological indicators) and, therefore, can be used as a tool for management. On the other hand, commercial and ecologically important species, such as fishes, lobsters, and sea urchins, spend most of their larval stage in the form of meroplankton. With this is in mind, they should be considered essential for studies on organisms associated with zooplankton diversity. They also represent the link between primary producers (i.e., phytoplankton) and higher trophic levels.

Marine microbes (e.g., bacteria, fungi, and yeasts) were another group of “unknowns” that required more studies. Bacterioplankton represented an important “sink” of carbon in the ocean, accounting for about half of the carbon fixation in the marine environment. In addition, they may serve as an index of water contamination, which may contribute to establishing effective management practices.

In general, a need for trained personnel, equipment, law enforcements, more research and education among the community was identified in order to establish better management policies to protect the marine environment in the Caribbean. In addition, more efforts that integrate research and collaboration among different areas of the region were highly recommended. For more details on the studies needed by countries that were assessed in this publication (Bermuda, Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico), click below on Tables 2-4.

In a more recent publication (2010) by Miloslavich and a team of 16 other experts, the regional estimates and distribution patterns of the Caribbean marine biodiversity are re-evaluated based on major activities conducted by the Census of Marine Life Program (click here for access to the full text version of this article through our publication database). Over 12,000 marine species were reported in different sampling areas that mostly included shallow, nearshore waters of the region. Limited amounts of data were available from offshore and deep-sea environments since they have been less studied. Interestingly, Miloslavich et al (2010) identified four factors that made their assessment on the “true” distribution patterns of marine biodiversity practically unattainable and that particularly included “high variability among collecting methods” (Miloslavich: e11916). This statement coincides with comments made by several experts who have participated in our discussion sessions, emphasizing the need for standardized methods of collecting data necessary for establishing species inventory and baselines.

Although many marine species have been identified, being able to obtain a sufficient amount of data collection to accurately represent and describe the marine biodiversity of the region remains as a major concern. Addressing this concern may help to resolve other pertinent issues that may be directly affected by this particular need (for example, establishing baselines of commercially-important and recreational marine organisms). It is imperative that managers, scientists, and conservationists draw the attention of important local stakeholders and agencies in making extra efforts, as a region, to address these concerns and bring about the change needed for the past few years.

Table 1. General overview of the “unknowns” of marine biodiversity throughout the Caribbean region (Miloslavich and Klein 2005).

Tables 2-4. Detailed overview of marine studies needed by country (Miloslavich and Klein 2005).

References:

  1. Miloslavich P. and E. Klein. 2005. Caribbean Marine Biodiversity: The known and the unknown. DEStech Publications, Inc. Pennsylvania. 310 pp.
  2. Miloslavich, P., J. M. Díaz, E. Klein, J. J. Alvarado, C. Díaz, J. Gobin, E. Escobar-Briones, J. J. Cruz-Motta, E. Weil, J. Cortés, A. C. Bastidas, R. Robertson, F. Zapata, A. Martín, J. Castillo, A. Kazandjian, and M. Ortiz. (2010). Marine biodiversity in the Caribbean: regional estimates and distribution patterns. Public Library of Science (PLoS) 5.8 : e11916.

Written by:

Brenda Soler, PhD candidate, UPR-Mayaguez, Department of Marine Sciences

Edited by: Jasmine Seda, CRA Project Assistant

Posted in: This Week's Comment

Leave a Comment (2) →

Survey – Ten Year Build-Out Plans – CariCOOS

CariCOOS (http://www.caricoos.org/drupal) is the observing arm of the Caribbean Regional Association for Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing (CaRA; http://cara.uprm.edu/). This effort, funded by the NOAA IOOS office, is one of eleven coastal observing systems and regional associations, which along with federal agencies constitute the national coastal component of the US Integrated Ocean Observing System.

In the implementation of the Integrated Coastal Ocean Observation System Act (ICOOS Act), NOAA, the lead Federal Agency, requires that CariCOOS complete a “10 year build out plan”. To date, CariCOOS has focused largely on providing coastal climate information. The requirement for a 10-year term plan gives us the opportunity to meet other needs aligned to the objectives of promoting commerce, improving security and ensuring sustainable use of coastal resources.

In order to identify further needs for data and products, CariCOOS has designed a BUILD-OUT SURVEY for stakeholders, experts and local community members.

To complete this survey in English, please click here.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

El Sistema Regional de Observación Oceánica Costera del Caribe, CariCOOS (http://www.caricoos.org/drupal) por sus siglas en inglés, es uno de los once sistemas regionales de observación oceánica costera que constituyen el Sistema Integrado de Observación Oceánica estadounidense, IOOS. El sistema IOOS proporciona datos y productos para satisfacer las necesidades de las partes interesadas en la región.

En la implementación de la Ley del Sistema Integrado de Observación Oceánica Costera (ICOOS Act), promulgada el año pasado por el Presidente Obama, la NOAA, Agencia Federal líder, requiere que CariCOOS diseñeun plan de desarrollo (“buildout plan”) a 10 años plazo.

Hasta el presente, CariCOOS se ha enfocado mayormente en proporcionar información de clima costero. El requerimiento de un plan a 10 años plazo nos brinda la oportunidad de atender otras necesidades alineadas a los objetivos de promover el comercio, mejorar la seguridad, y garantizar el uso sostenible de los recursos costeros.

La siguiente encuesta está dirigida a la identificación de necesidades eventuales a mediano y largo plazo (horizonte de 10 años) de datos y productos para continuar la construcción del sistema CariCOOS.

Para completar la encuesta en español, por favor oprima aquí.

Posted in: This Week's Comment

Leave a Comment (0) →

Ciguatera and Lionfish – Should we worry?

Ciguatera poisoning is caused by ciguatoxins produced by certain microscopic algae associated with reefs, can accumulate in certain fish species that eat these algae and can be life threatening when consumed by humans. Presently, efforts from CaribCATCH.org (a project consisting of 5 major institutions and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration along with the Schneider Regional Medical Center and the St. Thomas Fishermen’s Association) are being made to study ciguatera poisoning associated with changing environmental factors in St. Thomas. However, with the rapid increase of lionfish in seawaters, some concern has come up regarding the possibility of ciguatera poisoning associated with lionfish consumption. A short article on the incidence of ciguatoxins found in lionfish at the Virgin Islands was previously reported (click here to read more).

Despite this recent information, no conclusive statements have been made about ciguatera poisoning associated with lionfish. Inconclusive information on ciguatera in lionfish may be a deterrent to one of the few tools that we have to manage with this particular invasive species: promoting its consumption. In Puerto Rico, lionfish has been promoted and eaten by local fishers. Puerto Rico Sea Grant provides information on how to process the fish safely and how to eat it based on local knowledge and experience (click here to read the Fuete y Verguilla Special Edition on how to prepare lionfish for human consumption). So far, no incidences of intoxication nor of ciguatera (which is perhaps a localized and seasonal occurrence) have been reported in the island. The USVI effort on the understanding of the environmental factors that may precipitate ciguatera are important indeed. However, the association between lionfish and ciguatera is only based on the possibility of the occurrence and a handful of fish sampled, but there is no information on ciguatera intoxication by consumption. We all must be wary, but also assertive on the possibilities of lionfish as a food source.

Contributed by: J. Seda and M. Valdes-Pizzini

Want to read more about lionfish in the Caribbean? Access these resources from our publications database:

Lionfish Tissue Repository (LTR) (Website)

Maljkovic, A., T. E. Van Leeuwen, and S. N. Cove. “Predation on the invasive red lionfish, Pterois volitans (Pisces: Scorpaenidae), by native groupers in the Bahamas.” Coral Reefs 27.3 (2008): 501.

Schofield, P. J. “Geographic extent and chronology of the invasion of non-native lionfish (Pterois volitans [Linnaeus 1758] and P. miles [Bennett 1828]) in the Western North Atlantic and Caribbean Sea.” Aquatic Invasions 4.3 (2009): 1–23.

The Lionfish Invasion (Website)

Schofield, P. J. “Update on geographic spread of invasive lionfishes (Pterois volitans [Linnaeus, 1758] and P. miles [Bennett, 1828]) in the Western North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.” Aquatic Invasions 5.Supplement 1 (2010): S117–S122.

Caribbean Invasion. 2009. J Slayer. (Film)

Johnston, M W. and S J. Purkis. “Spatial analysis of the invasion of lionfish in the western Atlantic and Caribbean.” Marine Pollution Bulletin Article in press (2011).

Mumby, P J., A R. Harborne, and D R. Brumbaugh. “Grouper as a natural biocontrol of invasive lionfish.” PLoS One 6.6 (2011): e21510.

International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) Advisory on the Lionfish Invasion in the Wider Caribbean (Website)

Video – How to filet a Caribbean Lionfish (Ocean Foundation)

Posted in: This Week's Comment

Leave a Comment (0) →

Helpful Search Tips for the Best Results from our Database

The Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Publication Database consists of reliable sources of information found in peer-reviewed scientific journals, books, websites, thesis/dissertations, and government documentation associated with marine/coastal management and conservation in the Caribbean region from 1998 to the present. Over 50% of the resources found in the database are freely available online.

However, it is NOT a comprehensive database of all of the marine studies performed in the Caribbean. The purpose of this database is to serve as a reliable portal of information for studies that focus on managing and conserving our natural marine and coastal resources in the Caribbean, including international countries.

There are presently 15 categories (subjects): Biogeochemical studies; Climate change; Coasts; Communities/Populations; Conservation; Contamination/Pollution; Coral reefs; Fisheries; Management/Policy; Mangroves; Marine ecology; Marine protected areas/Reserves; Ocean circulation; Sediments; General

Here, we include some helpful search tips to get the best results from our publication database:

  • Please do not use terms such as “marine” and “Caribbean” for your keywords. The publication database is dedicated to marine and coastal studies in the Caribbean. Therefore, unless these words actually appear in the title or abstract of your article or resource, using them in your search will greatly reduce your final results.

For example, if you search for “Mangroves Caribbean”, you’ll get 18 resources.

But if you eliminate “Caribbean” and search for “Mangroves”, you’ll get 36 resources! That’s twice the number of resources!

  • We recommend that you use English terms. Although several of our resources may have some Spanish translations or versions, most of the resources listed are in English.
  • Search by the author’s last name. Some references are easily found by the name of the author(s) of the report or article you are searching for.
  • Search by using ONE keyword or “root” word that summarizes the main topic or subject of your inquiry. For example, when searching for a certain type of coral species and you have trouble finding it, try searching using “coral” for a broader range of results. If you’re using a keyword that is very specific, you may be limiting the number of resources that may be associated with your main topic.
  • Use Advanced Search to narrow down search hits and customize your search based on your interests. With this option, you can select from a list of options (e.g., keywords, resource type, creator, etc.) along with your keyword.
  • Use our “Select” option from our Resource Menu if you’re still having limited results. This search option gives you a list (from different types of fields) of all of our resources to choose from.
  • If all else fails, send us an e-mail with the information that you’re searching for and we’ll try to help. Our quick tutorial on how to use the publication database can also be very helpful. You can access this tutorial at any time from the CLME database Homepage.

Posted in: This Week's Comment

Leave a Comment (0) →

Commerce and NOAA aim for sustainable domestic aquaculture

The Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released new national policies aimed towards sustainable marine aquaculture practices to cope with the increasing demand for seafood production, to promote job creation associated with coastal communities, and to restore critical ecosystems (Read the full news article here.) Among the priorities set for developing sustainable practices, the administration hopes to initiate a partnership with the shellfish industry to increase production and improve water quality.

Interestingly, one of the comments that was frequently mentioned in our discussion session on sustainable mariculture practices in the Caribbean was to identify and prioritize the cultivation of important “filter feeders” (molluscan species  such as conch, oysters, clams, etc.) since they can help improve water quality and clean coastal waters, making for environmentally-friendly shellfish mariculture. However, a comprehensive aquaculture strategic plan was deemed necessary for its implementation along with the development of indices and standards that could help define what parameters are needed for sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices in Caribbean coastal waters.

In 2009, international efforts to engage governments for the development of a regional shellfish hatchery in the Caribbean was made by the Aquaculture Service (FIRA), Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) (click here to read their report). Of the 21 countries assessed, 14 demonstrated interests in studying the cultivation of native molluscan species.

Contributed by: K. Grove and J. Seda

Photo: UPR Sea Grant archive

Posted in: This Week's Comment

Leave a Comment (0) →

More on history and mangroves…

The historical perspective on mangroves is becoming extremely important for understanding the so-called “natural history” of coastal ecosystems. The Martunnizi et al (2008) paper I discussed in the previous entry in this blog (click here to read about it) is an example of such a perspective.  Dahdouh-Guebas and Koedam (2008) published an interesting article on the need for a “transdisciplinary” approach to understand the natural and anthropogenic dynamics of mangroves.  Social and economic histories shape the contours and size of mangrove forests throughout the world (and all ecosystems, I might add), and following that line of thought, the authors make a strong case for the incorporation of a multi-tiered and transversal study of mangroves. That is, a research agenda that incorporates a number of fields in the human and life sciences that traverses boundaries among disciplines and charts the trends (both physical and social) of mangroves throughout time.

Different disciplines offer a variety of opportunities to increase our knowledge of mangroves at different temporal scales: the present and the recent past (forestry, ecology, remote sensing, landscape photography, interviews with the local population), the past (archival information, historical sources, archaeology, paleoethnobiological data) and the distant past (lichenometry, paleontology),  as well as other techniques that provide information on a wide spectrum of temporalities (substrate cores, isotope analyses, genetics, etc.).  The authors argue that scientists should go beyond the interdisciplinary approach (pairing two or three research techniques to calibrate the information or to solve a problem), and rather use a transdisciplinary approach. Many readers will find those definitions troublesome, but the authors make a great case for the use and sharing of information from an array of disciplines, expertise and techniques to understand the mangrove ecosystem, taking into account human history.  Indeed, they go as far as to argue that the knowledge of the mangrove’s spiritual heritage is invaluable to the analysis.  In the Caribbean, the mangrove is a place of important cultural and spiritual meanings, as this ecosystem is associated with maroon societies, deities and religious practices of African descent and heritage.  The mangrove is also a living metaphor of freedom, culture and resistance in the post-colonial literature of the region.

Finally, Dahdouh-Guebas and Koedam (2008) also suggest that researchers should take a hard look at the archives. Once in those depositories, scientists must scrutinize old maps and drawings as well as the undecipherable explanations, legends and scribbles inscribed in the maps.  The authors go as far as to suggest that “despite the valuable information contained in such historic archives, there is no evidence of their utilisation to study any aspect of the essential tropical coastal ecosystems” (2008:84), at least for the colonial world dominated by the Dutch.  The status of the use of archival data may be different for the English and Spanish domains. However, their point is well taken and should be underscored – researchers must invest more time in the archives, or incorporate historians, anthropologists and archeologists into the  understanding of the mangrove ecosystem.  To this, I add in a true transdisciplinary way, that is, that each researcher efface the contours and boundaries of their own disciplines, while engaging in the gaze and even the epistemologies of other fields, as if they were in their own.

Dahdouh-Guebas and Koedam (2008) use the example of a map from a coastal island in Senegal drawn in 1816 by the British. The authors draw the attention to the comments written in the map with information on the distances, tides, winds and directions, which was the standard information provided in a text form in the British maps. This information was “relevant for biological interpretation on mangrove ecosystem dynamics” (2008:85).  There is a wealth of cartographic information for Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean that remains unexplored, in terms of the “transdisciplinary” opportunities it may contain.  A clear example is the amount of data provided by the map below of the mangroves in the Guayama-Salinas coast (south shore), drawn by the Spanish military in 1884, and is accompanied by a textual description of the areas (not provided here). Documents and history await.

Contributed by: M. Valdés-Pizzini

Reference: Dahdouh-Guebas, F. and Koedam, N. 2008. Long-term retrospection on mangrove development using transdisciplinary approaches: A review. Aquatic Botany, 89, 80-92. (Click here for full text of this article in our database.)

Video: Mangroves commonly found in Puerto Rico (Spanish)

Posted in: This Week's Comment

Leave a Comment (1) →

Strategies for mangrove conservation in Puerto Rico

The debate on the amount of mangrove cover lost in Puerto Rico throughout the twentieth century continues unabated.  A recent article by Martinuzzi et al (2008) [1] revives the issue with new data, maps, remote sensing images, corrections of past estimates, and trend analyses of mangrove cover.  The paper, published in Forest Ecology and Management, also reviews critical research articles on the topic (Heatwole 1985, Cintrón et al 1978, Holdridge 1940, Lugo and Cintrón 1975, Murray Brunner 1919, all cited in the paper) as well as a handful of studies on the economic history of the island, shedding light to the processes that contribute to the reduction of mangrove cover.   This study also evaluates the impacts of urban encroachment, changes in the drainage system, agricultural activities, and natural events (hurricanes) on mangroves.  Following Cintrón et al (1978) [2], the authors characterize the mangrove ecosystem as encompassing “all salt-influenced wetlands that are part of the tidally driven coastal complex, including the community of mangrove trees, adjacent salt and mudflats, halophytic herbaceous and shrub vegetation, and saline lagoons often associated with mangrove trees.”

The key argument is that agriculture (mostly sugar cane cultivation in the coastal plains) depleted coastal forests since the early 1800’s until the 1940’s when only 6% of the original vegetation remained untouched.  Demise of agriculture and rapid coastal urbanization “led to a natural increase in forest cover equivalent to 44% of the island by 1992” (Martinuzzi et al 2009: 78, after Helmer et al 2002). After 1971, improvements in conservation policies and actions led, according to the study, to the protection of mangroves, and thus to an increase in cover in a number of sites throughout the island.  Most of the mangrove forests in Puerto Rico are located within protected areas and those outside these areas feature a pattern of cover reduction since the 1970’s.

Martinuzzi et al (2008) underscores the importance of protected areas and their role in protecting Puerto Rico’s mangrove ecosystem since the 1970’s, which contributed to an increase in forest cover, and protecting the remainder of the mangrove patches from depletion.  The paper calls for a new inventory of the mangrove ecosystem (the last one was in 1989) and the “development of standard methods for mapping and classification of the coastal areas” (2008:82).   The authors also recommend that an official mangrove monitoring program be put in place to support other management activities in the coastal zone such as zoning and developing effective regulations.

The suggestion after reading this paper is that there is an urgent need for a thorough historical analysis of mangrove forests that incorporates anthropology, historiographical methods and, perhaps, archaeology with an interest in the reconstruction of paleoenvironments (see Dahdouh-Guebas and Koedam 2008 [3]). For example, Martinuzzi et al indicate that the protection of mangrove forests started in 1919 (under U.S. ruling).  However, archival information and a number of historical studies provide evidence on the fact that the Spanish government and its forestry agency, La Inspección de Montes, had under protection a large portion of the mangrove forests throughout the island (including the Piñones forest in the northern coast, described by Martinuzzi et al as the largest mangrove patch).  In fact, municipalities and the central government regulated the cutting and filling of mangroves, and protected the associated habitats and wetlands (Giusti-Cordero 1994 [4], Domínguez-Cristóbal 2000, [5]). During the occupation, the U.S. authorities received nearly 300,000 acres of protected forests from the Spanish government, including large mangrove areas in Piñones, Jobos (southern coast), Boquerón (western coast) and La Parguera (southern coast).  While the U.S. government protected the forests inherited from the Spaniards and added land to extant protected areas, the sugar cane sector continued devouring the few coastal forests left as well as those in piedmont areas.

Another area that deserves attention is the occupation of marginal urban lands (in San Juan and elsewhere) by shantytowns from 1900 to 1971. The impact of the Land Law (Ley de Tierras) and urban renewal projects that eased the pressure exerted by the urban poor on mangrove areas near urban coastal settlements, which also served as important industrial and sugar production centers, also warrants interest. Following Dahdouh-Guebas and Koedam’s (2008:80) transdisciplinary approaches (“combination between basic and applied sciences on one hand, and social and human sciences on the other”) and a retrospective (historical) perspective may provide important insights and knowledge on the life history of mangroves.

[1] Martinuzzi, S., W. A. Gould, A. E. Lugo and E. Medina. 2008. Conversion and recovery of Puerto Rican mangroves: 200 years of change. Forest Ecology and Management, 257, 75-84. (Click here for free full-text available through our database)

[2] Cintrón, G., A. E. Lugo, D. J. Pool and G. Morris. 1978. Mangroves of arid environments in Puerto Rico and adjacent islands. Biotropica, 10, 110–121.

[3] Dahdouh-Guebas, F. and N. Koedam. 2008. Long-term retrospection on mangrove development using transdisciplinary approaches: A review.  Aquatic Botany, 89, 80-92.

[4] Domínguez-Cristóbal, C. M. 2000. Panorama histórico forestal de Puerto Rico. San Juan: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico.

[5] Giusti-Cordero, J. A. 1994. Labor, Ecology and History in a Caribbean Sugar Plantation Region: Piñones (Loiza), Puerto Rico, 1770-1950.  Ph.D. Dissertation, State University of New York, Binghamton.

Contributed by: M. Valdés-Pizzini

Video – Piñones Lagoon Mangrove Channel Restoration Project

Posted in: This Week's Comment

Leave a Comment (3) →

UNDP – Latin America and Caribbean, a Biodiversity Super Power

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently declared Latin America and the Caribbean as a Biodiversity Super Power, stated in their recently published report on the economic contribution of biodiversity and ecosystem services of the region (Bovarnick, A., F. Alpizar, C. Schnell, Editors. The Importance of Biodiversity and Ecosystems in Economic Growth and Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean: An economic valuation of ecosystem, United Nations Development Programme, 2010).

Interested in more information? Please click here to access UNDP’s webpage with the detailed report.

Posted in: This Week's Comment

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 2 12