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Individual Highlight

Agroscapes Combined with Preserved Forest Remnants Promote Biodiversity at Local and Landscape Levels

Photo of Avian survey in agricultural mosaic, northern Nicaragua. Gerald P. Bauer, USDA Forest ServiceAvian survey in agricultural mosaic, northern Nicaragua. Gerald P. Bauer, USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Agroecological practices and resultant agroscapes, coupled with the preservation of forest remnants, have a positive impact on local biodiversity and are an integral component of the major ecosystem mosaic generally used to measure the biodiversity pulse of a region.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Arendt, PhD, Wayne J. 
Research Location : Nicaragua's Pacific Slope Ecoregion within the Paso del Ismto Biological Corridor (PIBC) in southeastern Nicaragua, and at the Juan Roberto Zarruk Biological Station, Finca Santa Maura, within the Cerro Datanlí-El Diablo Natural Reserve in Nicaragua's Northern Highlands Ecoregion.
Research Station : International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 595

Summary

Forest Service scientists carried out biodiversity research along the Pacific Slope Ecoregion within the Paso del Ismto Biological Corridor (PIBC) in southeastern Nicaragua, and at the Juan Roberto Zarruk Biological Station, Finca Santa Maura, within the Cerro Datanlí-El Diablo Natural Reserve in Nicaragua's Northern Highlands Ecoregion. Of the 168 species of birds detected in the PIBC, the significant correlation between habitat type and forest-interior birds, as well as other bioindicator species of forest health and sustainability, underlined the importance of the preservation and management of mature forest remnants with ample understory, younger wooded tracts and brushy areas under regeneration to preserve and promote biodiversity among similar agroscapes within the Paso del Istmo. Of the 123 species of birds and 29 species of nymphalid butterflies detected among five habitat types in the Northern Highlands, i.e., secondary and riparian forest, forest fallow (‘tacotales'), coffee plantation, and pastureland with scattered trees, coffee plantations had the highest avian species richness, whereas forest fallows harbored the most species of nymphalid butterflies. Among the most common species observed (within both taxa), many were forest-dependent, further demonstrating that anthropic landscapes are vital in maintaining a rich biodiversity. Within the interior of the coffee plantations, which are interspersed within a complex matrix of remnant forest, the scientists found forest-interior and bio-indicator species of birds and butterflies, further supporting the argument that agro-ecological practices and resultant agroscapes, concomitant with the preservation of forest remnants, have a positive impact at the local landscape level and are an integral piece of the major ecosystem mosaic generally used to measure biodiversity at local and landscape levels.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Gerald P. Bauer, Biological Scientist and Director of International Cooperation, USDA Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry.
  • Adelayde Rivas Sotelo, Media Specialist
  • Jean Michel Maes, Museo Entomológico de León
  • Jorge Paniagua, Artist, Graphics Designer, and Photographer
  • José Manuel Zolotoff-Pallais, Fundación Cocibolca
  • Julie Martínez Velásquez, Paso Pacífico
  • Kim Williams-Guillén, Paso Pacífico
  • Liza González, Paso Pacífico
  • Marlon Sotelo, Paso Pacífico
  • Martín Lezama, Paso Pacífico
  • Marvin A. Tórrez, Universidad Centroamericana
  • Sarah M. Otterstrom, Paso Pacífico