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Title: Assessing primary producer biodiversity as a proxy for monitoring agricultural land health on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Authors: Rizzo, Gabriella E.M.
Advisors: Dobson, Andrew
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Class Year: 2013
Abstract: Conservation-minded agricultural management is becoming increasingly important, as humanity heads into a time of unprecedented demand for land and resources. Existing metrics for assessing the impact of systems of agricultural management on the surrounding biodiversity are complicated, cumbersome, and require vast amounts of time and money. This paper proposes a simpler proxy system of estimating environmental health through analyzing basic ecosystem services. Here I test the feasibility of assessing land quality through soil nutrient and primary producer biodiversity analysis on ranchlands of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. A small sample size and difficulty with data collection meant neither success nor failure of the objective. Because it is impossible to confirm the several hypotheses that could explain the data, demonstrating that the concept behind the proposed metric is sound will require further testing with some alterations. The potential usefulness of a proxy metric in community conservation in small agricultural areas means that it could be an important development in community conservation. If it is successfully rendered, it will most likely be necessary to justify its use in an economic context.
Extent: 65 pages
Access Restrictions: Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 1992-2016

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