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close this book Planning National parks for Eco-development - Methods and Cases from Latin America
close this folder Chapter II. The growth and development of national parks in Latin America
View the document Introduction
View the document The birth of the park idea
View the document Development of common concepts for park management
View the document Role of national parks in ecodevelopment
View the document Political evolution of the park concept in Latin America
View the document Appendix II-A. Convention on nature protection and wild life preservation in the western hemisphere
View the document Appendix II-B. Convention on nature protection and wildlife preservation in the western hemisphere, 1940
View the document Appendix II-C. Criteria for national parks prepared by the IUCN international commission on national parks, Banff, Canada 1972
View the document Appendix II-D. Declaration of principles on policy for national parks, FAO Latin American forestry commission Quito, 1970
View the document Appendix II-E. Notes on the 1974 IUCN system for classifying natural regions for purposes of conservation
View the document References for chapter II

Appendix II-E. Notes on the 1974 IUCN system for classifying natural regions for purposes of conservation

The 1974 IUCN is first divided into BIOME types, a class derived from the work of Clements and Sheford97 and is characterized by a prevailing regional climax vegetation and its associated animal life. The principle BIOME TYPES98 are:

Tundra and related communities

Temperate needle-leaf forest or woodland

Temperate/subtropical rain forest or woodland

Temperate broad-leafed forest or woodland

Mediterranean forest/scrub or woodland

Tropical dry or deciduous forest (including monsoon forests) or woodland

Tropical humid forests

Mixed mountain/highland systems

Tropical savannahs and grasslands

Temperate grasslands

Warm deserts or semi-deserts

Mixed island systems.

The BIOME is a unit which is easily utilized in natural areas when the actual vegetation conforms to the expected climax formation. Where the vegetation is in disclimax, especially where man-induced or manmaintained, such as the case of many savannahs, it is difficult and of little use to classify the area for its former climax. The BIOME is a very useful starting point, however, since by focusing upon natural communities and climax communities, it provides the conceptual framework within which further detailed sub-division can be given to species and taxonomic differences.

Secondly, IUCN suggests99 that the BIOMES he separated by "biggeographically-determined continental sub-divisions." Furthermore, major floral and faunal differences are then subdivided. Thus, the regional ant sub-regional biomes are separated into BIOTIC PROVINCES100 which:

are distinguished by vegetation, flora or fauna. The physiognomy of the prevailing climatic climax vegetation is the first basis of recognition of a biotic province. Within the area of a physiognomically defined formation, however, the presence of a distinctive flora or fauna will serve to delineate the provincial boundaries. Similarly, within an area of relatively uniform flora or fauna, a marked change in vegetation will indicate a provincial boundary.

The preliminary map of this system as it relates to the Latin American region, is presented above in Figure II-1. Dasmann and IUCN both realize that the map is very preliminary and they urge all specialists from around the region to improve the details wherever they have more complete information. Moreover, details within each biotic province become especially complicated where mountains and islands are involved. Over very short distances such as in the Andes, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta of Colombia, and the Galapagos Islands, large changes in flora and fauna occur. The Holdridge LIFE ZONE system of classification101 has definite advantages, especially where life zone changes occur within few linear kilometers, e.g., from high-altitude paramo, through temperate forests, sub-tropical forests, tropical rain forests, or even semi-desert and desert formations, along one continuous slope. The Holdridge system is widely used in Latin America and is an important tool to classify lands within biotic provinces and to specifically delineate altitudinal variation.

The national parks of Latin America (as of 1974)102 are listed by biotic provinces in Table II-3, above. The table was derived by transposing the geographic location of each park system upon the map of biotic provinces.

Source: Dasmann, R.F. Biological Conservation. Towards a system for classifying natural regions of the world and their representation by natural parks and reserves. 4:247-255. 1972.

Dasmann, R.F. A system for defining ant classifying natural regions for purposes of conservation. A Progress Report. IUCN Occasional Paper No. 7. Morges, 1973.

IUCN. Biotic Provinces of the World. Occasional Paper No. 9. Morges, 1974.