Common Pacific mangrove reported in the Colombian Caribbean
UNal researchers claim that presence of certain Pacific Caribbean Basin mangrove species stress the need to preserve them as distribution in the northern coast is very restricted.Bogotá D. C., 26 de marzo de 2014 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
Pelliciera rhizophorae fruit of the Pacific plant which was also discovered in the Colombian Pacific. Unimedios
Amongst the recorded flora species of Colombian coastal lagoons there are two species which are very important for the mangroves of the country: Pelliciera rhizophorae also known as the tea mangrove and Prioria copaifera or cativa.
According to UNal-Bogotá Biological Sciences doctoral candidate Denisse Viviana Cortés, they have records of this type of flora in the Province of Córdoba, in the area of Caño Salado and the Ostional and Corozal lagoons.
Although these species are Neotropical and thrive in mangrove areas they have also been recorded in Pacific areas such as the Ensenada de Utría (Province of Chocó) Natural Park, UNal researchers claim that presence of said species stress the importance of preserving the mangroves of the region, as their distribution in the Caribbean basin is very restricted.
Presence of Pelliciera rhizophorae mangroves and associations of Prioria copaifera with Rhizophora mangroves in the Province of Córdoba not only evidence an ancient connection between the Pacific and Caribbean regions, but also represent interest centers for preservation of these species.
According to assessments performed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature on the Red Books of Colombian flora, these mangroves are currently threatened.
“Given its importance some areas of the Province of Cordoba have been allotted a special management figure, as conservational areas or non-forest sustainable-use areas,” said Denisse Viviana Cortés.
However researchers suggest extending these figures to other regions where these species also thrive.
“It is important to maintain these areas because vegetation is the skeleton of ecosystems and we don’t know what would happen if they cease to exist. We know this would impact fauna and the environmental services provided by the mangroves could also diminish,” said Cortés.
Caño Salado, a place where Pelliciera rhizophorae thrives has the most amount of mangroves of the Caribbean region, with a total of four species and a fern. Rhizophora mangle, Laguncularia racemosa and Avicenia germinans are part of the flora of the region.
“In this region people are very aware on the importance of mangroves for their sustenance and local economy; hence they work alongside the Regional Autonomous Corporation of Sinú and San Jorge Valleys for its care and preservation,” said Cortés, whom has traveled great part of the Colombian Caribbean characterizing and recording mangrove flora.
Essential for the ecosystem
The plant component is not the only thing the UNal Sciences Faculty Natural Sciences Institute’ Biodiversity and Conservation Research Group studies in these areas. They also research sedimentation, a natural process important for lagoons.
“Research on sedimentation and stratigraphy in mangroves is important for the evolution of plant groups (mangroves and marshy forests), in defining the coastal line and understanding natural and anthropic phenomena (climatic change),” said Natural Sciences Institute Professor and member of the research group Alexis Jaramillo.
Sedimentation variation also contributes to variation of mangrove environmental conditions. For example the Ciénaga Grande of Santa Marta has fine material like sand, while the lagoons of Tayrona have coral, fragments and breakings.
“Mangroves are diverse and each one contributes rich and diverse knowledge, which all together will make up valuable regional and national tools for essential decision making regarding the effects of climate change in coastal areas of our country,” said Jaramillo.(Por: Fin/DSGM/CAPG/AC