Ecology and Management of “Tropical Dry Wetlands” (Palo Verde National Park, Costa Rica)

Science Center Objects

In Central America, “tropical dry wetlands” provide numerous ecosystem goods and services. The mosaic of wetlands within and around Palo Verde National Park (a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance) is one of the largest complexes in the region.

The mosaic of wetlands within and around Palo Verde National Park

The mosaic of wetlands within and around Palo Verde National Park

The Science Issue and Relevance: In Central America, “tropical dry wetlands” provide numerous ecosystem goods and services. The mosaic of wetlands within and around Palo Verde National Park (a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance) is one of the largest complexes in the region. During the dry season, these wetlands are “functional oases” in the landscape and provide important habitat for many species. Like many other Central American wetlands, there is a need to better understand the ecology and management of these wetlands, especially in the context of climate change (i.e., a drier future) and increasing human water demands.

Methodologies for Addressing the Issue: Plant, soil, avian, and hydrologic data were used to better understand the ecology and management of these systems.

Future Steps: There is a need for additional research in the Palo Verde wetlands and other Central American wetlands to improve our understanding of these ecosystems. In the context of climate change (i.e., a drier future) and increasing human water demands, research focused on the importance of environmental flows and the ecological effects of hydrologic alterations is needed.

Additional Related Product(s):

Osland, M. J., E. González, and C. J. Richardson. 2011a. Coastal freshwater wetland plant community response to seasonal drought and flooding in northwestern Costa Rica Wetlands 31:641-652.

Osland, M. J., E. González, and C. J. Richardson. 2011b. Restoring diversity after cattail expansion: disturbance, resilience, and seasonality in a tropical dry wetland. Ecological Applications 21:715-728.

 

Ten day water level change and precipitation in the Palo Verde wetlands

Ten-day water level change and precipitation in the Palo Verde wetlands

Map location of the Palo Verde National Park in Costa Rica

Map location of the Palo Verde National Park in Costa Rica