Training and certification needs for ecological restoration in Puerto Rico

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Robert J. Mayer

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The Archipelago of Puerto Rico is located on the eastern Caribbean and consists of 4 islands with a combined area of 5,800 km2 . It has many coastal habitats that include coral reefs, coastal dunes, lagoons, salt flats, ponds, freshwater swamps, mangrove and coastal forests. Most of these habitats were severely degraded by recent storms and could benefit from ecological restoration measures designed to put them back into their historical trajectory. The restoration of habitats in Puerto Rico presents many challenges in balancing conservation and development and the government does not offer effective protection for them. Puerto Rico would greatly benefit from the training of a new generation of certified ecological restoration practitioners that could improve wildlife habitats and increase the resilience of coastal communities to future storms and climate change. The University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla is actively working on several restoration projects on the island and working on the creation of an MOU with the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), curriculum alignment to train new CERPITs, and on the creation of an official SER student association. Visits to other UPR campuses and other local institutions of higher learning will introduce students to ecological restoration, inform them of volunteer and training opportunities in our ecological restoration projects and promote the creation of more student chapters of SER on the island. This will be the first step to increase the number of ecological restoration projects in Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program