|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Date||24 Jun 2009|
The Pampean coastal ecosystems in Argentina extend along the Atlantic coast of Buenos Aires Province and are broadly characterized by wide beach-dune systems. Particular fauna and flora depend on Pampas coastal habitats, including endemic plant and animal species, migratory shore and grassland birds, and vulnerable species. Coastal dunes favor peoples welfare through a variety of ecosystem services regarding coastal protection against marine erosion and the provision of fresh water for human consumption.However, dune systems along the Pampean coast undergo an accelerated process of alteration derived from intense human use. Growth of tourist localities, roads construction, afforestation practices and harbour development since the 1900’s, have impacted the Pampean coastal ecosystems, causing habitat fragmentation and biodiversity loss. Due to a scarce representation within the provincial System of Protected Areas and to a lack of adequate regional management plans, the dune systems of the Pampean coast face a critical conservation situation. In this context, we recognized the need to develop concrete and urgent conservation actions to protect the dune ecosystems of the Pampean Atlantic coast, and started a project in 2003 aimed to detect priority areas for the establishment of new nature reserves.
Our overall objective is to contribute to the conservation of the Coastal Ecosystems of the Pampean Region. The studies we have been conducting allowed us to identify a high ecological value area on the coast of Coronel Dorrego District, southern Buenos Aires, where we are currently promoting the creation of a marine-coastal reserve called “Arroyo Los Gauchos”. Nature Reserves constitute one of the most efficient tools for the conservation of biodiversity, providing the opportunity of sustainable development for local communities. Accordingly, the declaration of the protected area we are promoting on southern Buenos Aires coast would act as the first step to start up a plan for the future management of Pampean coastal ecosystems.
Our work will increase the knowledge on the area’s ecology and biodiversity and will provide a stronger basis to design accurate management guidelines and to support the proposal of protected area. Research will be focused on the characterization of plant communities and animal assemblages inhabiting the beach-dune system, considering the detection of seasonal changes in biodiversity, and understanding the dynamics of the coastal ecosystem. We will integrate local people into conservation activities through environmental education at local schools, dissemination of information among community members, contact with governmental authorities and other means of communication and participation.
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