Birding for and with People: Integrating Local Participation in Avian Monitoring Programs within High Biodiversity Areas in Southern Mexico
Biological monitoring is a powerful tool for understanding ecological patterns and processes, implementing sound management practices, and determining wildlife conservation strategies. In Mexico, regional long-term bird monitoring has been undertaken only over the last decade. Two comprehensive programs have incorporated bird monitoring as the main tool for assessing the impact of human productive activities on birds and habitats at local and regional levels: the Integrated Ecosystem Management (IEM) and the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor Mexico (CBMM). These programs are implemented in supremely important biodiverse regions in the southern and southeastern states of Mexico. Bird monitoring activities are based on the recruitment and participation of local people linked to sustainable productive projects promoted by the CBMM or IEM. Through a series of training workshops delivered by specialists, local monitors receive equipment and coordinate to become part of a large monitoring network that facilitates regional covertures. This data currently being obtained by local people will enable the mid- and long-term assessment of the impacts of sustainable human productive activities on birds and biodiversity. Community-based bird monitoring programs are a promising opportunity for enhancing scientific knowledge, improving sustainable practices, and supporting wildlife conservation in areas of high biodiversity.
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