Conservation of Oak-Dominated Ecosystems in the Tropics: Opportunities and Challenges


Conservation of Oak-Dominated Ecosystems in the Tropics: Opportunities and Challenges

Wed, July 13, 10:30 - 12:30 hrs, Room: Arsenal


Silvia Alvarez-Clare, Hernando Rodriguez-Correa

Opportunities and Challenges for Oak Conservation in the Tropics

Oaks (genus Quercus) are a charismatic group of trees of great ecological, economic and cultural importance. The genus comprised of 441 species is widely distributed among numerous and diverse habitats, from which approximately 250 are tropical. Mesoamerica is the center of diversity with 186 described species to date in Mexico alone, and new species being discovered frequently. Recent work by Hipp et al. indicates that there is still an important gap in the understanding of the biodiversity of oaks, particularly in Mexico and Central American countries. This represents a great opportunity for scientists, as oaks have been proposed as a model group to understand evolutionary and biogeographical questions. However, the group also faces major challenges. The recent Red List of Oaks 2020 (Carrero et al. 2020) revealed that more than 25% of the species (38 sp.) in the region are threatened with extinction, and 32 have been categorized as Data Deficient (DD), meaning that there is not enough information to assess their threat status. The most important threats in Mesoamerica are related to the fragmentation, degradation and modification of original habitats promoted by the advance of the agricultural frontier into the remaining forest patches and by wood extraction for the production of coal. In this symposium we will highlight new findings related to genetics and biogeography of the group, while discussing the threats faced by various species, and the work being done to prevent their extinction. We will highlight opportunities and challenges, and the implications that research and conservation can have for local ecosystems and livelihoods. Our goal is to include conservation-based science talks, that directly inform conservation and recovery action and can serves as models to study, protect, and manage other tree or plant groups.

The oaks of Guatemala, current state of knowledge and implications for their conservation.
Maura Quezada*, Lourdes Rodas-Duarte and Andrea Marroquín-Tintí

Conservation genetics of two threatened Mexican oak species
Antonio González-Rodríguez*, Silvia Alvarez-Clare, Maricela Rodríguez Acosta, Libny Lara De La Cruz, Goretty Mendoza Juárez, Michelle Xicotencatl Lozano, Allen Coombes and Jeannine Cavender-Bares

Opportunities and Challenges to preserve Montane Cloud Forest Ecosystems
Hernando Rodriguez-Correa*, Ken Oyama, Silvia Alvarez-Clare, Sofía Zorrilla Azcué and Melissa Naranjo-Bravo

Phylogeography and functional biology of threatened and broadly distributed tropical and subtropical live oaks (Quercus section Virentes)
Jeannine Cavender-Bares*, Antonio González-Rodríguez, Silvia Alvarez-Clare and Paul Gugger

Role of Quercus species in biogeochemical cycles in western Panama
Cecilia Prada* and Jim Dalling

Quercus brandegeei: a transdisciplinary effort for its conservation and sustainable use
Aurora Breceda*, Silvia Alvarez-Clare, Daniel Peréz-Morales, Antonio González-Rodríguez, Madeleine Fernandez Laris and Christie Klimas