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Escofet, A., Espejel, I.: Conservation and management-oriented ecological research in the coastal zone of Baja California, Mexico. Journal of Coastal Conservation, 5: 43-50, 1999.


Abstract. This paper presents the main results of two studies of contrasting natural and man-induced conditions along the Pacific coast of Baja California (Mexico), based on the assumption that ecological insight can be obtained from maninduced modifications insofar as relevant activities are explicitly addressed as parts of the systems under study. The study is concerned with a fragmented coastal succulent-sage scrub and showed that several patches of different size and age may harbor as many species as non-fragmented areas, and that 83 % of the original species assemblage persisted in the fragments, in which the invasion by opportunistic exotic species may not progress beyond certain limits. The study on dunebacked and urban-backed beaches showed a significantly greater abundance of the Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) at the dune-backed beach, where a much more active back-shore feeding of adult birds and the only evidences of breeding occurred. Both studies refer to landscape features of regional concern and its results may be used in conservation management. The results on fragmented coastal succulentsage scrub may encourage alternative urban designs that keep patches of the original landscape, thus meeting existing requirements of low density urban development for most of the coastal succulent-sage scrub area. The evidence presented on the negative effects of dune destruction on the abundance, feeding and reproductive performance of a threatened bird species has a bearing on the topic of biodiversity management. It may also contribute to the conservation of the coastal dunes system.

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