CAVU flights for CATIE and Conservation International played an important role in assessing mangrove habitat in Costa Rica’s Gulf of Nicoya and Isla Chira. The flights carried Dr. Miguel Cifuentes and Christian Brenes of CATIE, who were using the aerial perspective to visually estimate the structural and floristic composition present in the mangrove area gradients; useful for the design of field inventory information.
Mangrove forests provide many important ecosystem services: carbon sequestration and storage, reproductive habitat for fisheries, filtration of contaminants and sediments, scenic beauty. In addition, they provide materials and subsistence products to local populations. The objective of CATIE’s research is to determine the economic value of carbon accumulation and other priority ecosystem services that contribute to sustaining the livelihoods of communities around the Gulf of Nicoya, in northern Costa Rica. CATIE researchers will estimate the mangrove ecosystem carbon stocks and their historical changes due to land use dynamics since the 1960s. In addition, CATIE will document the livelihoods of local populations and determine their vulnerability to climate change. This information will help determine the economic value of the most relevant ecosystem services for local communities. Ultimately, the goal through this research is to help promote the sustainable use, restoration and effective management of mangrove forests in the area.
These flights are part of CI’s greater vision and project implementation for Nicoya with key partners such as CATIE and CAVU.
After the flights, Dr. Miguel Cifuentes Jara had this to say, “I’d like to thank CAVU for offering this incredible opportunity. We gained unique insights about the distribution and condition of land use categories along the coastal margin of the Gulf of Nicoya. This helped tremendously with our site selection; it significantly cut the time we would have had to spend scouting for sites via roads or shore access. I was really impressed at how much easier it is to scout for sites and identify land use features from the air.”