Poster Presentations

Authors

Madeline A. Price '15, Gettysburg College

Location

Science Center 2 and 3 Lobby

Session

Poster Session I

Start Time

5-3-2014 9:00 AM

End Time

5-3-2014 10:15 AM

Supervising Faculty Member

Monica Ogra

Department

Environmental Studies

Description

I conducted this research while studying abroad with SIT Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation. This is a multidisciplinary investigation of the Upper Bay of Panama wetlands, a 49,000 hectare region east of Panama City that features mangrove, intertidal mudflat, and grassland habitat internationally recognized as a stopover site for two million shorebirds every migration season. However, with economic pressure to increase urban development in the area, this land’s protected status under the Ramsar convention was suspended for a year in April 2012. By compiling scientific studies, news articles, photographs, and interviews with local conservationists and community members, this project describes the ecological, political, and social conditions surrounding this area today. I found that this ecosystem contains plentiful nutrients from both seasonal upwelling and mangrove detritus, supporting a thriving aquatic food chain, including major fisheries, but also experiences garbage, agrochemical, and heavy metal inputs from human activities. Because of reduced infiltration caused by new developments, plus ongoing construction, much of the eastern Panama City district of Juan Díaz is now regularly subject to flooding too severe for its current drainage system to control, for which I provided photographic evidence, and receives little compensation. By law, though, Panama’s government is obligated to protect these people’s right to live in a healthy environment. Strategies for ecosystem management should be planned for the long-term and include economic incentives, citizen involvement, and government support. There is also a need to promote education of wetlands ecosystem benefits and the repercussions of their removal.

 
May 3rd, 9:00 AM May 3rd, 10:15 AM

The State of the Upper Bay of Panama Wetlands: Ecological Significance, Environmental Policy, Urbanization, and Social Justice

Science Center 2 and 3 Lobby

I conducted this research while studying abroad with SIT Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation. This is a multidisciplinary investigation of the Upper Bay of Panama wetlands, a 49,000 hectare region east of Panama City that features mangrove, intertidal mudflat, and grassland habitat internationally recognized as a stopover site for two million shorebirds every migration season. However, with economic pressure to increase urban development in the area, this land’s protected status under the Ramsar convention was suspended for a year in April 2012. By compiling scientific studies, news articles, photographs, and interviews with local conservationists and community members, this project describes the ecological, political, and social conditions surrounding this area today. I found that this ecosystem contains plentiful nutrients from both seasonal upwelling and mangrove detritus, supporting a thriving aquatic food chain, including major fisheries, but also experiences garbage, agrochemical, and heavy metal inputs from human activities. Because of reduced infiltration caused by new developments, plus ongoing construction, much of the eastern Panama City district of Juan Díaz is now regularly subject to flooding too severe for its current drainage system to control, for which I provided photographic evidence, and receives little compensation. By law, though, Panama’s government is obligated to protect these people’s right to live in a healthy environment. Strategies for ecosystem management should be planned for the long-term and include economic incentives, citizen involvement, and government support. There is also a need to promote education of wetlands ecosystem benefits and the repercussions of their removal.