In the framework of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, Costa Rica has settled a system of corridors network to increase the connectivity of protected areas. The Three-Wattle Bellbird Biological Corridor (CBPC, for Spanish initials) was established to ensure the altitudinal migratory routes of several bird species under conservation concern. CBPC vegetation is represented by patches of Rain, Humid and Dry Forest, as well as Mangrove in the costal lines, immerse in grasslands for cattle and crops production.
Due to the limitation of financial resources and the extensive degraded areas present in the CBPC northern sector, there is a need to prioritize areas for landscape restoration. Community participation in the decision-making processes, improve and ensure future project goals (Hobs, 2007). This work aims to identify priority areas for restoration through a participatory process, and assess the impact of possible future actions in the functional connectivity of the northern sector of the CBPC corridor.
Several groups of stakeholders, representing different interests in the CBPC were engaged in the participatory process to determine criteria for the establishment of priority areas (Silva & Bonet, 2016; Gómez-Parra & Bonet, 2016). We use the Packs of Cards methods (Figueira & Roy, 2002), that allow us to identify the six first common criteria within the different stakeholder groups: water resources, erosion and landslides, forest connectivity, areas with low biodiversity, surrounding forest areas and terrain slope. Each criteria was included as a GIS layer, and with the help of a multi-criteria and spatial analysis we calculated and mapped the Importance Values for Restoration (IVR).
Four different scenarios, representing the present fragmentation and the recovery of IVR greater than 70, 60 and 50, were evaluated according to the enhancement of the functional connectivity. We used three key species models with different dispersal rate and habitat modification tolerance patterns (Panthera onca with high dispersion and low tolerance, Cebus capuchinus with low dispersion and middle tolerance, and Narica nasau with middle dispersion and high tolerance). The length of the Least Cost Path (LCP), the Conection Probability Index (PC) and the Maximum Probability (MP) of using a path were calculated and compared (Saura y Torné, 2009).
The potential areas for restoration stablished by the stakeholders with middle (60) and high (50) IVR would result the increase of 10 and 30% in average of the functional connectivity PC of the northern sector of CBPC. For the three species the LCP distance decrease and the MP increases in each scenario, but the ratios were no significate for the C. capuchinus revealing the importance of stepping stone patches that improve the mobility of this particular species. Thus, we recommended to use nucleation processes with native species as an effective method for landscape restoration. In addition, this work shows the positive results that brings the bidirectional knowledge between society and landscape ecology, increasing the engagement and feasibility of restoration programs.
Figuira J y Roy B. 2002. Determining the weights of criteria in the ELECTRE type methods with a revised Simos' procedure. European Journal of Operational Research 139: 317–326.
Gómez-Parra S. & Bonet A. 2016. Evaluación de las acciones de restauración realizadas en el sector de Monteverde del Corredor Biológico Pájaro Campana, Costa Rica. University of Alicante, Spain.
Hobbs RJ. 2007. Setting effective and realistic restoration goals: key directions for research. Restoration Ecology 15: 354-357.
Saura, S. & J. Torné. 2009. Conefor Sensinode 2.2: a software package for quantifying the importance of habitat patches for landscape connectivity. Environmental Modelling and Software 24: 135-139.
Silva E. & Bonet A. 2016. Áreas prioritarias para la restauración del sector norte del Corredor Biológico Pájaro Campana. University of Alicante, Spain.