Claudia Irene Ortiz-Arrona

Claudia Irene Ortiz-Arrona

Researcher on the ecology and restoration of riparian vegetation corridors in the Ayuquila-Armeria river basin and coastal basins of Jalisco, western Mexico, focusing on the generation of knowledge on the functioning and processes in riparian ecosystems, with a conservation and restoration approach.

Conservation And Management Of Riparian Zones In The Ayuquila-armeria River Basin, Western Mexico.

The assessment of the riparian ecological status is fundamental for achieving better river management. The objective of this research is to assess the ecological status and to develop a participatory management plan for riparian zones in the Ayuquila-Armeria river basin. The river is located between the physiographic provinces of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Axis and Sierra Madre del Sur, western Mexico. It plays an important rol in the maintenance of biodiversity and as a source of water for agricultural irrigation and domestic use. The assessment of the riparian ecological status was evaluated in seventy river segments applying the Riparian Quality Index (RQI) that evaluates structural and functional attributes. The results indicate that there is a generalized disturbance of the riparian zones whithin the basin, with a low proportion of riparian segments in good quality (29%); most of them showed regular (49%) and poor (24%) status. Dimensions of land with riparian vegetation, longitudinal continuity, composition and structure of riparian vegetation, and natural regeneration of woody species were the attributes of structure and functioning with a greater alteration along the riverbanks, due to the regulation of the natural flow regime, morphological alteration of the channels and deforestation of riparian vegetation, mainly. A management proposal for the riparian zones is proposed with the following guidelines: a) definition of priority areas for conservation, b) rehabilitation or restoration of the hydrological and ecological functions of the altered riparian segments, c) development of protocols for the management of priority riparian zones and a training program in order to support of municipalities and other authorities related to the riparian zones management, and d) identification of participatory compensation mechanisms to reduce pressures and impacts on the riparian system.

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