Abstract

In the context of a new international master's degree program, "Biodiversity in Tropical Areas and its Conservation," we led a two-week module on ecological restoration in Ecuador for 34 future conservation professionals from nine nations, including seven from Latin America. One week was spent in the cloud-forest life zone, a second in the lowland tropical forest. The ranges of biomes and socioeconomic and historical settings that commonly occur in tropical regions were discussed. We saw these students as future communicators engaged not only in management of protected areas, but also as deeply involved in outreach, negotiation, and consensus-building among stakeholders. Students were introduced to concepts and techniques for evaluating a degraded landscape in order to determine past and present land uses and conflicts of interest among stakeholders. They were instructed on how to select a reference model using sequential reference sites and to incorporate nine attributes of satisfactorily restored ecosystems into restoration plans. In nine small groups, the 34 participating students prepared proposals to obtain funding for a restoration project in their home countries or in one of the two regions of Ecuador that were visited in the module. For this purpose, each group developed a schematic model showing how the target ecosystems were degraded and landscapes fragmented. In a second schema, they proposed a program to restore or rehabilitate different landscape units and to reintegrate fragmented landscapes. Highlights and lessons learned from this modular exercise are presented and discussed.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-4079
Print ISSN
1543-4060
Pages
pp. 175-181
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-10
Open Access
No
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