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YEAR 2006 - CRP Project #1001C (Caribbean)

Project #1001C
Mona Island Marine Reserve
Australian Pine Management

Mona Island, Puerto Rico

Trees before girdling - click to enlarge  Trees after girdling - click to enlarge
Australian Pines (C. equisetifolia) before (left) and after girdling

Project name:   Mona Island Marine Reserve Australian Pine Management  
Project number:   1001C  
Project status:   Complete  
Grant Administrator:   Gulf of Mexico Foundation (for NOAA)  
Grantee:   Chelonia Inc.  
Project location:   Mona Island, Puerto Rico  
Grant period:   Jan 1, 2021 - June 30, 2021  
Grant amount:   $14,949  
Land Ownership:   Public - administrated by DNER  
Lat/Long:   18° 05’N, 67° 54’W  
Types of Habitat:   Tropical dry forest, coralline sandy beaches, and mangroves  
Project leader:   Robert P. van Dam
Chelonia Inc.
PO Box 9020708
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00902

Species Benefiting From Restoration:
   • Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
   • Mona’s endemic iguana (Cyclura cornuta stejnegeri)
   • White Mangrove (Conocarpus erectus)
   • Ipomea sp.
   • Suriana maritime
   • Sea Grapes (Coccoloba uvifera)

Acres of Habitat To be Restored:
Approximately 2 acres

Project Summary:
The main objective of this project is the restoration and recovery of Hawksbill sea turtle and Mona’s endemic iguana nesting areas on Carites, Mujeres and Carabinero beaches of Mona Island. This project involves the selection and design of 4 plots of 20m x 3m (60 m2) in the coastal zone. In plots 1 and 2, all adult trees, seedlings, saplings and leaf litter of the introduced exotic Australian pine (C. equisetifolia) will be cut or/and removed. From this stage, Plot 1 will be unmanaged to allow natural succession. Plot 2 will be managed by planting suitable native species for reforestation, such as attractors of seed-dispersing wildlife or “roosting trees,” and species with a thin canopy that produce fine, readily decomposed leaf litter. Plot 3 will be in an area where C. equisetifolia had been removed approximately 13 years ago, since this will document later successive stages. Also it will be helpful to see species composition before and after C. equisetifolia removal and to use that information for reforestation. Plot 4 will be a control with no C. equisetifolia removal. Each plot will be monitored for iguana and hawksbill sea turtle nesting activities, soil properties and species richness, among other parameters, to evaluate methodologies based on Adaptative Management Theory.

Project Objectives:
The goals of the project will be achieved through the execution of three specific objectives:

  1. Removal of at least 50 percent of the total surface occupied by the introduced exotic Australian Pine Casuarina equisetifolia
  2. Reforestation with native species that dominate coastal habitats
  3. Development of a monitoring program to evaluate the success/failure of the project as well as evaluating the first community-based management project for the island.

Community Involvement:
“Amigos de Amoná” NGO will be participating as volunteers during field activities, cutting and removing C. equisetifolia and collaborating in the reforestation stage. Also they will contribute in the design of the educational brochures. Trips to see iguanas, their habitats, and the iguana nursery, as well as night patrols to see nesting sea turtles, will be offered to visitors, along with educational brochures and oral presentations about their biology and conservation efforts on Mona Island and in the Caribbean region.

Re-sprouting after girdling - click to enlarge  Re-sprouting after girdling - click to enlarge
Examples of re-sprouting after girdling. Sometimes the girdling does not kill
the tree, which means additional measures have to be taken.

Click on photo to enlarge

Removing Australian Pine needles - click to enlarge
Removing Australian Pine needles

Pine needles before removal - click to enlarge
Australian Pine needles before removal

Pine needles after removal - click to enlarge
Australian Pine needles after removal

Fallen Australian Pine after girdling - click to enlarge
Fallen Australian Pine after girdling

Dead Australian Pine trees - click to enlarge
Dead Australian Pine  trees
due to girdling

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NOAA Restoration Center

Gulf of Mexico Foundation

Chelonia Inc.

Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER)

Amigos de Amoná

University of Puerto Rico

Gulf of Mexico Foundation - PMB 51, 5403 Everhart - Corpus Christi, TX 78411
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