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Learning Network > Biodiversity Survey > Rapid Assessment Program > Surveys

Surveys

Upcoming RAP Surveys

 

Virachey National Park,  NE Cambodia, June 2011
Organized by CI-Cambodia and CI-RAP, contact David Emmett (d.emmett@conservation.org)

An AquaRAP team will survey hill streams that feed into the mighty Mekong River and demonstrate the park’s importance as a high biodiversity watershed forest, whose rivers contain undiscovered jewels that can be conserved in perpetuity through proper valuations of watersheds linking to integrated water resource management. The Mekong River and tributaries form one of the most biodiverse freshwater habitats on Earth, containing more than 1,200 freshwater fish and supporting many of the region’s rarest freshwater-dependant species.  It also provides fresh water and food security for tens of millions of people in the region.  Yet it is under threat from hydropower development and climate change.  The hill stream tributaries in Laos and northeast Cambodia are among the least studied habitats in Southeast Asia, likely to yield many new species of fish, amphibians and other freshwater-dependant species.  Many dams are planned for the tributary rivers in the Mekong basin, with over 70 planned for in Laos and Cambodia alone, including several river systems in and around Virachey National Park.

Orange Mountains of South-eastern Suriname, early 2012 with reconnaissance trip
in Fall 2011 and Tumuk Humak mountains, Fall 2012 or early 2013
Organized by CI-Suriname and CI-RAP, contact Trond Larsen (tlarsen@conservation.org)

The mountain ranges along the border between Suriname and Brazil in the Guyana Shield region of northern South America, remain one of the most remote and unexplored regions on Earth.  Few people, including the local Amerindians, have set foot inside these mountains, and it’s likely that no one has ever summitted the numerous inselbergs- tabletop  mountains- within the ranges. We plan to conduct two RAP surveys in 2011 and 2012 to explore the higher elevations of these remote mountains. While the lowland forests of Suriname- arguably part of the greatest expanse of forest in the world- contain high diversity, they are not known for high endemism (species unique to the region).  However, these mountains will likely contain many species new to science and species unique to the mountains, perhaps even unique (endemic) to a particular inselberg. These RAP surveys promise to be a true adventure, since we are not yet sure how we can even enter the mountain range. Biological data are needed on these mountain ranges in order to guide and inform development and conservation plans for Southern Suriname.

 


Recent RAP Surveys

 

Kwamalasumutu region, South-western Suriname, August 15 -September 12, 2010
Organized by CI-RAP and CI-Suriname, contact Trond Larsen (tlarsen@conservation.org)

A RAP team of 16 international and Surinamese scientists and 7 Surinamese students surveyed the diversity of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, and several insect groups including water beetles, dung beetles, katydids, dragonflies and ant. The team was assisted by three representatives from the Suriname government’s Nature Conservation Division, seven forest rangers from the Amazon Conservation Team, and 18 people from the local Trio village of Kwamalasumutu.  Preliminary results include high diversity of all taxonomic groups, especially small mammals (41 species), birds (324 species, fishes (100 species), frogs (43 species), and dragonflies (72 species). New records for Suriname were reported for birds, snakes, and many of the insect groups. At least 40 species that have not ever been seen or described by scientists were discovered (pending verification), including five fish, one frog five katydid and about 25 water beetles. The results from camera traps (which take photos of movement) revealed a high diversity of large mammals and birds, including 24 species of mammals. Jaguar, ocelot and puma were photographed at the third site, indicating less human disturbance. Water quality was very good. The RAP results will be used to help the local Trio people develop eco-tourism around their village and to promote the establishment of a Jaguar Sanctuary to provide refuge for wildlife (against bushmeat hunting). The RAP provided a valuable field experience for the Surinamese students and government representatives, all whom are anxious to participate in the next RAP survey.  See full preliminary report here.

Mount Panié, Province Nord, New Caledonia, October-November 2010
Organized by CI-New Caledonia and CI-RAP, contact François Tron (f.tron@conservation.org)

CI’s New Caledonia and RAP programs, the government of Province Nord and local NGO, Dayu Biik, sent a RAP team to survey the Mount Panié Wilderness Reserve from October 10-November 30, 2010. Mount Panié is known to have many endemic species that are highly threatened by invasive species and bushfires, but many areas have not been surveyed. An aquatic team surveyed streams at lower elevations; the terrestrial team helicoptered to the peak of Mount Panié to survey and to analyze the causes of decline of the emblematic mountain kaori tree. The RAP team included several trainees from local communities and also from CI’s Fiji program. View preliminary results here.

Touho to Ponérihouen MarineRAP survey, Province Nord, New Caledonia, November 2009 – March 2010
Organized by CI-New Caledonia, contact François Tron (f.tron@conservation.org)
Final RAP report coming soon.  View preliminary findings here.

 

Muller Range, Papua New Guinea, September 2009
Scientists from CI-RAP and the Papua New Guinea Institute of Biological Research (IBR) conducted a month-long RAP biodiversity assessment of the Muller Range in Western and Southern Highlands Provinces, PNG between 2-26 September 2009. The Muller Range is one of the last great ‘biological unknowns’ of PNG and was identified by RAP’s Gap Modelling as a region lacking basic biological documentation. The RAP survey has helped to fill a major gap in knowledge about PNG’s biota, discovered many new species, and provided valuable information on the distribution and conservation status of many poorly known plants and animals.
Preliminary results coming soon.

Nangaritza region, Ecuador, April 2009
This RAP survey, organized by CI-Ecuador and Fundación Ecológica Arcoiris
with participation of scientists from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador and the Universidad Nacional de Loja and several other institutions, was conducted in the Upper Nangaritza River Basin in the Cordillera del Condor of southeastern Ecuador, an area of high biological, ecological and social richness. The local community and indigenous associations are involved in the management of this area and have put forth a proposal to the Ministry of Environment to declare this site as part of the national system of protected areas) in order to assure its long term conservation. In order to support this proposal, a RAP survey was carried out to collect scientific data to demonstrate the importance and richness of the area. Visit http://www.conservation.org/explore/discoveries/where/south_america/Pages/nangaritza.aspx
for preliminary results of the RAP Survey.


Nakorotuba Range, Fiji Highlands, December 2009
Organized by CI-Fiji, contact Sefanaia Nawadra (s.nawadra@conservation.org)
Final report coming soon.

 

New releases in the RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment series

Mountains of Southwest China Hotspot, Ganzi Prefecture, Sichuan Province, China, 2005

A RAP team of Chinese and international biodiversity experts surveyed three remote valleys in the Mountains of Southwest China Hotspot, Sichuan Province, China. The RAP survey data will inform CI and local Tibetan communities of the rich biodiversity on their lands and help them promote protection of their lands beyond their communities, including traditional Tibetan sacred lands. Data will also be used to justify and determine boundaries for the expansion of nature reserves and parks in the region.
The three RAP survey sites contain a rich and interesting biodiversity. In particular, at Site 1, Danba County, the RAP team documented many globally threatened species, including Critically Endangered (CR) and Endangered (EN) small mammal species. Site 2, Kangding, contained the highest diversity since it was at the lowest elevation, with several species possibly new to science, including two amphibian species. The third site, Yajiang, was at the highest elevation and in best condition, with a high diversity of mammals and birds, and high habitat heterogeneity. The RAP team discovered at least 28 species new to science and also documented 33 species of conservation concern.

Coral Reefs of the Northwest Lagoon, between Koumac and Yandé, Province Nord, New Caledonia, 2007 

From November 24, 2007 to December 15, 2007, coral reefs were surveyed in northern New Caledonia, from Recife des Francais and Yandé in the north to Recife de Koumac and Passe de Koumac in the south. A total of 322 named Scleractinian coral species were observed during the survey, with many additional undescribed spefies likely. 526 species of reef fishes were recorded, representing 52% of the known diversity.  Thirteen species of sea cucumbers were recorded and the highest diversity was observed in intermediate type reefs with 11 species. Densities of most harvested species, Holothuria scabra and Holothuria nobilis were extremely low to nil. Only three species of giant clams were recorded along the transects and one Tridacna derasa was observed outside the transect. Forty-nine percent of the reef sites surveyed were rated as being in a very good to good state (reef “health”). The most frequently observed threat or disturbance to the reefs surveyed was from fishing related activity that occurred on 38.7% of the reef sites surveyed.  No bleaching was observed at any of the reef sites surveyed, however symptoms of coral disease or pathogens were noted at 8.2% of the sites assesses. Numerous red listed species were spotted on 66% of the reef sites we assessed. These include several species of sharks, bony fishes, and sea turtles. A new breeding bird species for the area, the Beach Thick- Knee (Esacus magnirostris) was observed, two lagoon marine Important Bird Areas (IBAs) were identified that included the main breeding area in New Caledonia (about a hundred pairs) for a highly endangered subspecies of Fairy Tern (Sterna nereis exsul), and a relict population of an endemic subspecies of Island Thrush (Turdus poliocephalus xanthopus) was rediscovered on Yandé Island.

Upper Cuyuní River, Venezuela, 2008 

The Cuyuní River valley includes approximately 10% of Venezuela’s Guyanan region. Harboring great diversity resulting from the juxtaposition of species from the Amazon, the Guyanas and the river valley itself, it forms an important part of the extensive Essequibo River basin, shared with the country of Guyana. The biological richness of this area continues to be threatened by small and large scale gold mining activities that have historically been carried out in the zone.  The Upper Cuyuní RAP survey in 2008 registered a high diversity of invertebrate, aquatic and terrestrial vertebrate, as well as plant species, despite the deforestation and degradation of the river.  The headwaters of the Cuyuní River, however, remain in nearly pristine condition, protected by the geography of the Sierre de Lema and the Parque Nacional Canaima, but face the latent threat of invasion by illegal miners.  The recommendations from this RAP survey include developing a monitoring plan for threatened species, mercury contamination and deforestation; an action plan for environmental education;  and establishment of a biological station to fulfill the imminent need for monitoring the biota and the territory of the Cuyuní River Basin.  Link to Edward’s video and the other video if possible (see Edward’s emails). 

Ramal de Calderas, Venezuelan Andes, Venezuela, 2008

Due to its geographical position, Ramal de Calderas has fundamental strategic value for conservation because of its potential as a natural biological corridor, integrating protected natural areas such as Sierra Nevada, La Culata and General Cruz Carrillo (Guaramacal) National Parks. Ramal de Calderas is part of the Teta de Niquitao-Güirigay Natural Monument and the Protective Zone of the hydrological basins of the Guanare, Boconó, Tucupido, La Yuca and Masparro rivers. The main objective of this RAP survey was to collect information to contribute to the protectionof the threatened Andean mountains and to  highlight its global importance, all in the context of the imminent threats from the surrounding population and the resulting demands on the natural resources. Over 1000 species were recorded during the RAP survey, including 296 new locality records for the Calderas region, 12 species possibly new to science, and 21 threatened species.  Conservation recommendations from this survey include 1) Establish Ramal de Calderas as a conservation area to create a biological corridor in the region, 2) Urgently protect the remnant medium size forests (5-10 ha) to ensure conservation of pre-montane and lower montane vegetation formations, and the biological diversity associated with them, and 3) Promote shade-grown coffee cultivation that includes conservation criteria as well as fair economic incentives for local producers that procure higher quality products, and which maintain the Andean region’s natural heritage.  This RAP survey was complemented with additional studies on coffee forest biodiversity.


Nakauvadra Range, Ra Province, Fiji, December 2009

To Learn More About Other Surveys Visit Our Results Page

 

     
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