|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Date||18 Oct 2016|
The structure, composition and function of biodiversity together with the ecosystem services provided by such biodiversity are recognized today as the natural capital of regions and countries. This natural capital is in constant conflict with economic activities. In the particular case of Mexico, the evaluation of the current state of its biodiversity and its valuation as natural capital are major challenges in great part because it is one of the top-five mega-diverse countries. Additionally, the scarcity of reliable information on Mexican tropical ecosystems is a major impediment on the implementation of environmental policies aimed to attain the sustainable use of its natural capital.
The current scenarios on which the natural capital of the Mexican tropics should be assessed are highly complex anthropic landscapes comprised of contrasting habitats, which differ in their characteristics, origins, ecological dynamics and their potential to provide ecosystem services, which additionally contain a remarkable biodiversity. A particular example of these types of landscapes is the tropical dry region of the state of Veracruz in which relatively small patches of the original tropical deciduous and semi-deciduous forest as well as secondary forest derived from them, are surrounded by different types of extensive agricultural fields. In general, the knowledge of the current natural capital of this region is very poor. The evaluation of the natural capital of the tropical dry region of Veracruz (Mexico) is a major challenge and priority due to its importance as an essential corridor for North-American birds, its high number of endemic species, as well as its high rate of deforestation (product of deleterious and high impact activities such as cattle raising, cane crops and oil extraction). A detailed description and update of land cover and vegetation types of the area will be done. This information will also be used as a starting point for the proposal of management programs focused on the payment of carbon bonuses in the region.
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