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The Puerto Rico Gap Analysis Project Volume 1: land cover, vertebrate species distributions, and land stewardshipAuthor(s): W. A. Gould; C. Alarcon; B. Fevold; M.E. Jimenez; S. Martinuzzi; G. Potts; M. Quinones; M. Solórzano; E. Ventosa
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-39
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: International Institute of Tropical Forestry
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DescriptionPuerto Rico faces a number of problems common to much of the world. Population is increasing while land area is not, and there are reassessments of land use policy and practice to accommodate growing populations, shifting economies, and changing public value systems. Puerto Rico shares similarities with the Eastern United States with its history of agricultural abandonment, relatively high population density, and abundance of “forested” suburban areas in the wildland-urban interface. Puerto Rico has affinities with other tropical regions with high biodiversity and an abundance of rare species. Puerto Rico shares similarities with small islands with space limitations, an abrupt terrestrial-marine interface, and species diversity controlled by the isolation of the island as well as climatic, evolutionary, and historical factors. The Puerto Rico Gap Analysis Project documents Puerto Rico’s land cover, vertebrate occurrences and natural history information, and land stewardship. The report has four major components: land cover mapping, documentation of vertebrate species distributions, documentation of land stewardship practices with respect to conservation, and an integrated analysis of these three elements. Our current reserve system protects a number of important habitats and species and includes 7.6 percent of Puerto Rico. Expanding this to 15 percent would be more in line with internationally accepted conservation goals. Abandoned agricultural land serves as habitat for a number of species and buffers older forests, wetlands, riparian areas, and reserves. These lands have excellent potential for restoration. Recommendations include expanded reserves in the coastal plain, particularly coastal hills and the matrix of wetland and upland vegetation; regulation of development in the periphery of existing reserves; and developing viable corridors to connect the upland and coastal reserves.
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CitationGould, W. A.; Alarcon, C.; Fevold, B.; Jimenez, M.E.; Martinuzzi, S.; Potts, G.; Quinones, M.; Solórzano, M.; Ventosa, E. 2008. The Puerto Rico Gap Analysis Project Volume 1: land cover, vertebrate species distributions, and land stewardship. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-39. Río Piedras, Puerto Rico: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry. 165 p.
Keywordsbiodiversity, conservation, tropical ecology, vertebrate diversity, land cover, Puerto Rico
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