Bird conservation would complement landslide prevention in the Central Andes of Colombia.
Conservation and restoration priorities often focus on separate ecosystem problems. Inspired by the November 11th (2011) landslide event near Manizales, and the current poor results of Colombia's Article 111 of Law 99 of 1993 as a conservation measure in this country, we set out to prioritize conservation and restoration areas where landslide prevention would complement bird conservation in the Central Andes. This area is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, but also one of the most threatened. Using the case of the Rio Blanco Reserve, near Manizales, we identified areas for conservation where endemic and small-range bird diversity was high, and where landslide risk was also high. We further prioritized restoration areas by overlapping these conservation priorities with a forest cover map. Restoring forests in bare areas of high landslide risk and important bird diversity yields benefits for both biodiversity and people. We developed a simple landslide susceptibility model using slope, forest cover, aspect, and stream proximity. Using publicly available bird range maps, refined by elevation, we mapped concentrations of endemic and small-range bird species. We identified 1.54 km(2) of potential restoration areas in the Rio Blanco Reserve, and 886 km(2) in the Central Andes region. By prioritizing these areas, we facilitate the application of Article 111 which requires local and regional governments to invest in land purchases for the conservation of watersheds.
Ocampo-Peñuela, N; Pimm, SL
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