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Monitoring attributes for ecological restoration in Latin America and the Caribbean region

Marina Mazón, Nikolay Aguirre, Cristian Echeverría, James Aronson
Restoration ecology 2019 v.27 no.5 pp. 992-999
chronosequences, ecological function, ecological restoration, ecosystems, education, environmental indicators, governance, monitoring, tropical dry forests, tropical rain forests, Brazil, Caribbean, Latin America
Ecological restoration is becoming mainstreamed worldwide but target ecosystems' responses to restorative interventions are not sufficiently monitored, in terms of the wide range of ecological, social, and economic attributes available. In order to highlight and better understand this problem, we conducted a literature review of the ecological, social, and economic attributes cited in the scientific literature used for monitoring the success of ecological restoration projects in Latin America and the Caribbean region, where no regional study of this kind has previously been conducted. In 84 of the 91 articles retained for the study, ecological indicators were evaluated, while only seven articles included measurements of socioeconomic indicators. Regarding the Society for Ecological Restoration Primer attributes of restored ecosystems, we only found indicators measuring attributes 1–6, with attribute 1 (species assemblages) predominating (73%), followed by physical conditions (54%) and ecological functions (51%). Brazil was the country in the region where most monitoring was being carried out (51% of the articles), and tropical rainforest (33%) and tropical dry forest (25%) were the ecosystem types where ecological restoration was most frequently monitored. Highly vulnerable ecosystems such as mangroves and paramos were underrepresented. Attributes related to ecosystem stability or to governance and education of communities were not monitored at all. More real long‐term monitoring, instead of chronosequences, is needed, especially where understanding socioeconomic implications of, and barriers to, effective ecological restoration is a top priority.