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Authors: Choi, Jonathan
Advisors: Wilcove, David
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: Ecological restoration has demonstrated huge potential in slowing and ultimately reversing the tide of species extinction and land use change. Trends in urbanization and globalization have led to the widespread abandonment of cattle pastures which have the potential to be restored to forest. Unfortunately, the perception of restoration as expensive and contrary to economically “useful” land use has precluded efforts to regrow forests. The use of agricultural waste generated from orange juice manufacturing, namely pulp and peels, in Área de Conservación Guanacaste offers a unique opportunity to explore the restoration of tropical forests from cattle pastures in Mesoamerica. After the supervised application of 1,000 truckloads of orange peels in 1998, soil surveys in 2000 and 2014 recorded large scale differences in soil properties. Vegetation surveys in 2014 recorded a 3 fold increase in species richness for trees larger than 5 cm in DBH and a 2 to 4 fold increase in aboveground biomass. Invertebrate pitfall traps revealed a large difference in number of individuals between the two sites, but was unable to discern a difference in family-level diversity. Vertebrate audio surveys using passive audio recorders provide a hint into the vertebrate community using the restored habitat, including howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata) and white-faced capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus). The potential for the use of orange peel-based restoration is immense. Studies of the exact mechanisms for orange-peel catalyzed regeneration and the potential for the use of other agricultural waste would help to improve policy recommendations for restoration. The uniquely cost-effective nature of this restoration method makes it a particularly attractive method for further research.
Extent: 133 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 1992-2016

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