INTEGRATING AQUATIC ECOLOGY IN SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS: THE CASE OF PALM OIL PLANTATIONS IN SOUTHEAST MEXICO
Over the last several decades, land conversion to palm oil production has increased due to growing demand for palm oil as a renewable form of energy and as an additive to food and personal care products. In general, this land use change results in a degradation of the biotic composition and ecosystem processes in streams due to increasing inputs of sediments, nutrients, pesticides and herbicides, and by altering in-stream habitat and hydrology. However, to fully understand and quantify the drivers of this land use conversion and design effective conservation strategies, it is essential to incorporate the socio-political and economic factors (e.g. regulatory policies, economic incentives, and land ownership) that influence it. We develop a framework that integrates social, natural and geographical information to examine the context that has led to the expansion of palm oil plantations in Southeast Mexico and their ecological effects. We will use this framework to guide observational and experimental studies to quantify the ecological impacts of land conversion on streams, as well as to predict future expansion of plantations and the consequent changes to stream structure and function.
Keysa G. Rosas (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Georgia, email@example.com;
Krista Capps ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Georgia, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Research in Krista Capps's lab is dedicated to understanding how anthropogenic activities alter community structure and ecosystem processes (e.g., productivity, decomposition, and biogeochemical cycling) in freshwater ecosystems. Much of her research has focused on the impacts of consumers on basal food resources, community structure, and nutrient dynamics in streams and wetlands. To translate scientific knowledge to actionable outcomes, she actively works with community groups and local, state, and federal employees to develop programs that integrate stakeholder concerns into research planning.