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Claudia Irene Ortiz-Arrona , Peter R.W. Gerritsen , Luis Manuel Martínez Rivera
Riparian zones are crucial ecosystems as they function as biodiversity refugees and provide ecosystem services for human well-being. Currently, land use change, natural flow regime alteration, morphological alteration of the river channels are the greatest anthropic pressures on these ecosystems. Restoration measures need to improve and recover hydrological and ecological functions. The purpose of this work is to exemplify the lesson´s learned and the challenges ahead regarding riparian restoration in the Ayuquila river watershed, western Mexico. In the period 2004, a bottom-up riparian forest restoration initiative was developed in the agricultural Autlan-El Grullo valley in the middle part of the watershed, where riparian buffers along a segment of the Ayuquila River were restored with native multipurpose tree species. In total, 2.8 has restored along approximately 3 km of riverbanks with the participation of 14 farmers. Sixteen years after starting the project, the restored areas are still being used as demonstration sites to motivate other farmers to protect their riparian forests. Farmers identified the role of tree-roots in avoiding riverbank erosion during floods events and the value of trees in providing shade and space for recreation. However, while riparian ecological aspect has been better developed (e.g. environmental conditions, tree species assemblage) and community conservation activities are being implemented in several micro-watersheds, there are still socioeconomic and legal aspects that limit restoration activities, being applied at a broader scale. Finally, we discuss some management guidelines to achieve conservation and restoration objectives for the riparian zones acknowledging its relevance in a cultural river landscape.
Conference Presentation, SER2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program