viernes, mayo 4

Highlights from the Sierra de Juarez Symposium

Nearing the end of 2011, Terra Peninsular held "The Future of Sierra de Juarez Conservation" symposium in which local and international conservation experts were summoned to talk about the current state and the future of the Sierra de Juarez Conservation, where the following presentations took place:

Biologist Sergio Mata spoke about the hydrological services that the Sierra de Juarez provides, presenting the Barbon-Guadalupe-La Mision watershed as the case study. He stressed the bio-hydrological importance of the Sierra, being that it provides water to 14 watersheds out of which 13 end in the Pacific Ocean. The Barbon-Guadalupe-La Mision watershed is the main source of water for Ojos Negros and Valle de Guadalupe valleys ,and the city of Ensenada; reason why it is of vital interest for Ensenada to conserve the northern Baja California mountain ranges.

Snow on February 27, 2011 illustrating the large size of the Sierra de Juarez mountain range. Photo by NOAA

Dr. Roberto Martinez Gallardo, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California researcher, talked about the mammals of Sierra de Juarez. This ecosystem has unique environmental features that host a wide variety of important mammals. Unplanned livestock consuming resources, the presence of exotic and feral species, and habitat loss and fragmentation are the main threats to mammals of the Sierra de Juarez. There is great uncertainty and worry about the effects of the installation of massive wind energy turbines, being that numerous studies in other locations have reported alterations that go from habitat and migratory routes modifications, to injuries and death from collisions against the wind turbine blade and other structures, suffered mainly by bats.

Bart O'Brien from the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden in California, talked about the rare plant species of Sierra de Juarez. He mentioned some of the 1443 taxa listed as rare, endangered or endemic in the California Floristic Province part in Baja California, enlisting 159 taxa (11%) known in Sierra de Juarez, out o which 133 (82.4%) are dicotyledons, 26 (16.4%) are monocots, a (0.6%) gymnosperm and a (0.6%) fern.

Verbena orcuttiana endemic to the Sierra de Juarez. Photo by Thomas Oberbauer

Richard A. Erickson presented on the endemic insect and terrestrial vertebrates of the Sierra and enlisted 54 dragonflies, 86 butterflies, 8 amphibians, 36 reptiles, 233 birds (birds; 98 nesting species) and 57 mammals that can be found in this area. There have been 5 endemic subspecies described: Habrodais poodiae poodiae (Lepidoptera), Junco hyemalis pontilis (Aves) and 3 gophers (Thomomys bottae juarezensis, T.b. Cunicularius y T.b. jojobae; Mammalia). 4 vertebrate subspecies are endemic to Sierra de Juarez and Sierra San Pedro Martir.

Endemic species of Sierra de Juarez and Baja California mountains. Photo by Richard A. Erickson

Thomas Oberbauer from AECOM in San Diego, California, spoke of the vegetation and floristic features of Sierra de Juarez, where he mentioned that unique soil types exist, that host a great deal of endemic and rare plant species that still haven't been explored. The Sierra de Juarez provides a series of specific habitats and important ecological opportunities for plants.

According to information presented and outlined by conservation experts, the Sierra de Juarez presents physical and bio-geographical characteristics that offer important ecological conditions for the State and eco-region shred between California and Baja California, and by being part of the same biological corridor.

Compilation by
Jorge Flores, The Future of Sierra de Juarez Conservation Symposium Coordinator

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