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Diversity and ecosystem services of birds, bats and arthropods in Peruvian agroforestry landscapes of native cacao

23 Feb 2024 - Carolina Ocampo, University of Gottingen | 15h30 | Hybrid Seminar
Diversity and ecosystem services of birds, bats and arthropods in Peruvian agroforestry landscapes of native cacao

The continuous growth of commodity production in the tropics represents a threat for nature conservation, but also an opportunity for a permanent transition towards diversified farming. Tropical agroforestry farming has proved valuable for biodiversity conservation, crop yield, and smallholder income, but higher socio-ecological standards are still urgent. We studied the diversity of birds, bats and arthropods, and related ecosystem services in cacao agroforestry systems of Peru. We assessed how landscape characteristics impact functional biodiversity on agroecosystems, and how local management strategies may promote both biodiversity and increased crop yield. Moreover, we studied how grafting, as a plant rejuvenation strategy, may improve crop yield and income for smallholder farmers, without sacrificing biodiversity and even promoting the conservation of local genetic diversity. These studies highlight the well-known thesis that "one size does not fit all”. The most urgent strategies to conserve biodiversity and improve cacao yield are highly context-dependent, but a common focus on balanced social and ecological sustainability goals is paramount for achieving biodiversity-friendly tropical agroforestry.

Carolina is an ecologist interested in tropical biodiversity conservation, community ecology, agroecology and multi-trophic interaction networks. She studied biology in her home country, Colombia, with master studies in International Nature Conservation and a P hD in Agricultural Sciences. Through the combination of studies in biological and agricultural sciences, she has become increasingly interested in trans-disciplinary research that tackle the social and ecological aspects of conservation issues. Her goal is to develop and promote the implementation of novel strategies to conserve tropical biodiversity, guaranteeing fair participation of local communities.  Her work so far has focused on studying biodiversity in agroecosystems, associated ecosystem services and management techniques that promote biodiversity conservation at multiple spatial scales. She's also very interested in critical discussions about changes in scientific and academic practices towards improved diversity, equity and inclusion.

[Host: Luke L. Powell, Applied Ecology - APPLECOL]

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