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Toward a Resilience-Based Conservation Strategy for Wetlands in Puerto Rico: Meeting Challenges Posed by Environmental Change

  • Jaime A. CollazoEmail author
  • Adam J. Terando
  • Augustin C. Engman
  • Paul F. Fackler
  • Thomas J. Kwak
Landscape approaches to Wetland Management


Designing conservation strategies in human-dominated landscapes is challenging, owing to complex human-natural systems and evolving societal values. To meet this challenge, a robust, adaptive strategy should have a process for flexible implementation of incremental actions. We describe a hypothetical example for the Rio Grande de Arecibo watershed and coastal wetlands in Puerto Rico to address the first component. The process begins by identifying shared stakeholder objectives. This process benefits from a review of foundational research and knowledge base that includes global forcings and vulnerability of resources of interest. Forcings include climate change and pervasive urban sprawl. We focus on two taxonomic groups with differing life histories but strong dependence on water resource dynamics, another resource valued by humans. We stipulate objectives and multiple actions, but focus on those pertaining to hydro-management as the common thread in our example. We advanced two decision contexts of contrasting complexity, illustrated links between objectives and actions, and highlighted trade-offs triggered by varying resource valuation. Our focus was to highlight various components necessary to frame a resilience-based strategy, but we cannot overemphasize the importance of accommodating institutional and stakeholder changing priorities and values to ensure its successful implementation.


Adaptation strategies Coastal wetlands Decision models Eleutherodactylus spp. Puerto Rico Resiliency Sicydium spp. Vulnerability Watershed 



This work was supported, in part, by the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Federal Aid Program (Project F-50) and the U.S. Geological Survey, SE Climate Adaptatio Science Center. We would like to thank the Society of Wetlands Scientists and B. Murry for their invitation to contribute to the Special Issue: Landscape Approaches to Wetland Management, and to Craig Lilyestrom for comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. We thank C. Belyea for assistance with GIS. The North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit is jointly supported by North Carolina State University, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Wildlife Management Institute. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


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© US Government 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.S. Geological Survey, North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research UnitNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Department of Interior Southeast Climate Adaptation Science CenterU.S. Geological SurveyRaleighUSA
  3. 3.Department of Applied EcologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  4. 4.North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Reserch UnitNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  5. 5.Department of Agricultural and Resource EconomicsNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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