At the Manu Learning Centre, research is conducted to study the effects of human disturbance on biodiversity in a self-regenerating forest.
LONG – TERM BIODIVERSITY MONITORING
In this project, we are monitoring 5 indicator groups of animals in the Manu Learning Centre, assessing their biodiversity in relation to the disturbance levels of the forest and in response to the long-term conservation effort made by the Crees Foundation.
Amphibians and Reptiles monitoring
Amphibians are excellent bioindicator species because they are extremely vulnerable to changes in their environment in all life stages and sensitive to chemical pollutants or atmospheric and aquatic variations. Additionally, they play a key role in energy flow and nutrient cycling because they are both predator and prey.
Reptiles are another important group that play a major role in the ecosystem food web. They fill roles as both predators of small mammals and prey to birds, mammals, and snakes. But also, reptiles are greatly understudied which makes our contribution to improving the understanding of these animals of even greater value.
Birds and Mammals monitoring
Mammals and birds are predominantly seed dispersers for tropical plant species providing a critical link in the regenerating process of trees. Moreover, some of these animals are an important source of protein for the human population of the surrounding area.
The richness and abundance of mammals and birds can signify many different things about the forest including structure, age, health, level and type of human impact.
Peru is home to around 21% of the world’s butterfly species, making it one of the richest and most diverse countries in the
Neotropical region for butterflies.
They are important bio-indicators and are vital in ecosystems as pollinators.
They are particularly sensitive to environmental changes. This makes them an ideal bioindicator group to monitor when studying regenerating forest.
The Mascoitania Clay Lick Project
This project started in 2006, monitors the Mascoitania clay lick to understand the social behaviour of macaws, parakeets, and parrots including their group size, eating patterns, and the effect of ecotourism on them.
The Blue-headed Macaw: This species habits in Bolivia, Brasil, and Peru and its population is declining because of illegal trade and deforestation. Our data allowed to reevaluate the conservation status of this species to Vulnerable in 2007.
USING CAMERA TRAPS FOR CONSERVATION
We are monitoring mammals using camera traps to survey their occurrence at Manu Learning Centre and around Manu Biosphere Reserve.
This allows our team to collect novel distribution and ecological data, mainly for poorly known species. Their use provides a non-invasive way to monitor secretive, inconspicuous, and cryptic specieS.
Check out our past works and contribution here.