8th Doctorial presentation. José Francisco Cáceres (ICTA-UAB)

Applied research in UNESCO’s Natural Protected Areas (Biosphere Reserves and Geoparks): Morocco – France – Spain)
International UNESCO Centre of Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves


8th Doctorial presentation. José Francisco Cáceres (ICTA-UAB) – Supervisor: Carles Barriocanal (24th May)

Abstract :

“Biosphere Reserve Cajas Massif (RBMC) is the fifth in its category in Ecuador and is the first located in the western foothills of the Andes of Ecuador, it is declared as such in May 2013 and contains an ecosystem mosaic from the moor (4.450msnm) to a marine coastline in the Gulf of Guayaquil. However, so far it does not have a clear management strategy to guide the management and conservation of natural ecosystems and environmental services that the reserve provide to their people.

Thus, it is the urgent need to delineate this process by developing a system of tools applicable to the management of RBMC focused on the conservation of high Andean ecosystems and their environmental services management.

For this, it is proposed to identify and assess the ecosystems in the RBMC and environmental services they provide, prioritizing them according to their strategic importance, and to identify and assess environmental impacts on these ecosystems that could be altering their balance and risking their functionality and production of services.

In addition, the perception of the actors in the territory and generate a set of management tools for ecosystems RBMC identified in order to preserve habitats, species and ecosystem services will be analyzed.

This work aims to get to have a practical use in technical, social and political fields, and is a medium in which the processes of decision making support.” 

We should go further in the term of conservation and think about the conservation of the ecosystem. We can not allow that happens the same as the Panda bear, we are investing a lot of economic resources and time when its natural ecosystem doesn’t exist.

Ecuador is a country with a high number of biodiversity although its dimensions are no too big. From the pacific basin to the highest peak (4500m) there are 60 km in vertical line that provokes an enormous numbers of ecosystems. Now, Ecuador has 5 Biosphere Reserves and one of the most remarkable is Galapagos, for sure, for Darwin.

The PhD study is going to focus on the Cajas’ Biosphere Reserve that has this Protection Figure since 2003 and its bioclimatic and ecological characteristics make that this area has a lot of biodiversity.

The lack of information and, in addition to the lack of the incorporation of society to the ecological problems is one of the highest issues to be treated. It is very important to get an ecological balanced with the humanity.

In this area has a lot of different endemism in flora and fauna so, threaten this ecosystems is threaten the fauna too. The ecosystems are very weak and we should work with and for the society for solving the conservation troubles.

It is necessary the development of a new strategy that allows us the management of these ecosystems and providing their ecosystems services. We have neither time nor resources for doing all the data bases and see what we can do, the extinctions of the species are happening. For the research is really important the monitoring of the resources and the environmental education is the unique tool and way that we have for taking profit of this resources. This should be not only a PhD Thesis this should be a tool for the stakeholders. They should will use for their daily activities and this is the historically time for doing the first step.


Opening questions to José Francisco Cáceres presentation :

Prof.Yves Girault (MNHN): “There is an ethical and environmental aspect very obvious as the case you mentioned of the panda bear. Why protect some endemic species and others not? Now we should talk about resilience of the ecosystems. There are tendencies very different that differs one with the others and this market view of the nature is not mine.”

José Francisco Cáceres (UAB): “The ecosystems of the panda bear dissapear, we conservate them for having them in the zoo? It isn’t a market issue so I am not talking about payments. Every country has its own System for quantifying the environmental services. Firstly, we should find which services are and related with the necessities of the country. We can’t control the nature; I am talking of conservation in the sense of helping the functions of the ecosystems.”

Prof. Carles Barriocanal (UAB): “ We didn’t talk about payments, we just talked about environmental services. In the actual context of Global Change we define some indicators developed for our own research group.”

Prof. Yves Girault (MNHN): “When you talked about environmental services, we should look which are the most important services for the society but, then the society will focus on the economy because all our lifes are related around the money. Now the most important element is the assessment. For example the case of bees. If bees disappear how much will cost substitute them for machines? I think that without the economic argument there is not valid reason for conservate the environmental values. People don’t know the environmental services neither Geoparks because people only think in the economy.”

José Francisco Cáceres (UAB): “You are right, in the world the only think that cares is the money but, in my opinion is not the solution for everything. We are in an historical moment, the beginning of a change in the paradigm.”

Ayoub El Ouarti (UCA): “ I would like to insist in how the environmental services have an economic importance. I would like to say that maybe is related with the terms used. Bringing a economic value is putting limits to the impact in the ecosystems.”

José Francisco Cáceres (UAB): “Yes, there are a lot of limits with the Language and with the format but for this reasons this sessions are very useful and we have the opportunity for sharing what we have. We are improving our Thesis and how much diverse is a system more stable is this one.”

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