Title: Conceptual frameworks for monitoring of high-altitude Andean ecosystems
Author: Busch, David E.; Silva, Xavier;
Source: In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 45-49
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Description: The Ecuadorian government and its partner organizations in the international conservation community share an interest in developing monitoring programs for Andean protected areas to help support management for recreation, education, and ecological sustainability. To accomplish this goal, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of the Interior are providing assistance to establish a system of ecological monitoring. Assistance was focused on Parque Nacional Cotopaxi, a protected area centered on a 5911m active stratovolcano and an ecosystem dominated by the paramo vegetation association. A number of issues complicate the development of monitoring and management systems for such protected areas. Among these are uncertainty about the roles and interactions of ecosystem drivers, the relative importance of various anthropogenic factors, and a need for clarity about how individual protected areas function within larger ecological and socioeconomic contexts of Andean landscapes. Changes in factors of management interest can be viewed as progression along, or deviation from, pathways of ecological succession. A simple conceptual model integrating physical and anthropogenic factors has been developed to help describe a basic Andean successional template. Elevation gradients are wellestablished as fundamental ecosystem determinants in montane ecosystems throughout the world. Further articulation of this concept makes it clear that proximity to volcanic activity in space or time can be considered a primary driver. Similarly, spatiotemporal proximity to glaciation is another clear determinant of successional status. In addition to physical ecosystem factors, human perturbation is proposed as a cause for deviations (altered trajectories, novel stable states or cycles) from “normal” successional gradients. Monitoring of Andean ecosystem status and trend should be designed and implemented taking into account this physical system/perturbation template. In addition to stratification along lines of zonal and azonal ecological communities, sample design for monitoring ecosystems should first be stratified along lines of volcanic and glacial disturbance, as well as human perturbation.
Keywords: monitoring, assessment, sustainability, Western Hemisphere, sustainable management, ecosystem resources, Andean
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Busch, David E.; Silva, Xavier 2006. Conceptual frameworks for monitoring of high-altitude Andean ecosystems. In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 45-49
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