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Title: Potential for biological conservation in man-modified semiarid habitats in northeastern Jalisco, Mexico
Author: Riojas-Lopez, M.E.
Mellink, E.
Issue Date: 2005
Abstract: The Llanos de Ojuelos, a semiarid zone of northeastern Jalisco, Mexico, is formed mostly by natural grasslands and nopaleras (communities dominated by platyopuntias or flat-stemmed Opuntia cacti; both natural and cultivated), dotted with small reservoirs. This area is representative of many regions in the semiarid portion of Mexico's Mesa del Centro. With over 450 years since Spanish settlers occupied the area, human activities have modified native habitats and transformed the landscape. The ecological consequences of this transformation have not been recorded, but are likely to include negative impacts to many species of the native flora and fauna. Since there are no protected natural areas nor other efforts to conserve the semiarid biological communities of this region, and most of it has been modified, environmental conservation and management actions must rest on the tapestry of man-modified, or created, habitats. Although the three most characteristic habitats in the Llanos de Ojuelos are affected by human activities, they support a large part of the local vertebrate fauna. Sixteen of the vertebrate species in them are currently considered as being of conservation concern or requiring some type of protection or restoration. Overall, conserving and increasing herbaceous communities in the three habitats, as well as creating habitats through cultivated nopaleras, would contribute to increase faunal diversity and enhance some animal populations. Management schemes should focus on including different habitats within areas whenever possible, rather than attempting to manage tracks of single habitat isolated from each other. To allow for such adaptive management, any conservation actions should be followed by monitoring and management shifts. Also, if conservation projects are to be effective, they must consider the interests of the landholders. � Springer 2005.
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