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Land use change on Puná island (Gulf of Guayaquil, Ecuador): the impact on mangroves

By Francisco T. Sevilla, Pablo J. Hidalgo and Manuel A. Duenas


The destruction of mangrove ecosystems on tropical and subtropical coastlines in South America is increasing. Ecuador’s deforestation rate is the second highest in South America and the highest of any Amazonian country, and this study has focused on Puná island (which occupies an area of approximately 920 km2) in the Gulf of Guayaquil. The objectives of the study were to create land-use maps from aerial photographs (1960s) and satellite images (2006), to assess the extent and change of the impact on land use following the conversion of mangroves into salt-ponds for the purposes of shrimp farming. The results of this multi-temporal study show that more than a quarter of the mangrove wetlands and nearly 75% of the salt flats on Puná have disappeared during the last 40 years. Puná’s mangrove ecosystem must now be subject to conservation and restoration programmes integrated with traditional fishing methods and eco-tourism, with a view to alleviating poverty

Topics: Ecology and Environment
Year: 2008
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