Hummingbirds and their Nectar Resources in Tabasco (Mexico): Identifying Priorities and Strategies for their Conservation

Claudia Isabel Rodríguez Flores

My project aims to establish the diversity of hummingbirds and their main nectar resources in different areas of Tabasco State in Mexico. Tabasco is one of the most deforested states and at the same time one of the least studied in the country. In this scenario, hummingbirds play a fundamental role in maintaining and restoring ecosystem services, because these birds pollinate an incredible number of native plants including crops for human consumption.

In this first phase, my students and I will carry a diagnosis of the diversity of hummingbirds in different natural areas and areas under some land use scheme (e.g., agriculture, livestock raising and urbanization) to design conservation strategies that involve communities, producers, landowners and the general public. For this first year the methods proposed include censuses and focal observations of the plants to establish hummingbird diversity and hummingbird’s feeding preferences.

Additionally, to gate morphometric measurements, characterize floral traits and to obtain botanical material for greenhouse propagation we will take samples of flowers, fruits, seeds, leaves and pollen. These plants are essential to our aim of establish floral strips in pastures, cropland areas and pollinator gardens. I am convinced that effective conservation strategies require not only a strong research component, but also the involvement of the public. It is crucial that people of all ages recognize the relevance of processes such as pollination, the role of pollinators (including hummingbirds) and the plants they use as a food source, but above all, the most important thing is to transmit the actions we can take to collaborate with the conservation and recovery of the environment in both rural and urban areas.

To this end, the project proposes to work directly with the communities, offer workshops in schools, universities, to participate in public events, and to elaborate dissemination material for audiovisual media (radio, television and social networks) and for the people at rural communities.

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