Quick biological surveys are facilitating conservation efforts
Quick biodiversity surveys are facilitating conservation efforts
June 9, 2008
Short but intense biological surveys in remote parts of the world are playing a critical role in determining conservation priorities and disseminating information to policy makers and stakeholders, said researchers speaking in a series of presentations at a scientific conference held in Paramaribo, Suriname.
These fast-paced assessments, which include the Field Museum’s Rapid Biological Inventories (RBI) to Conservation International’s Rapid Assessment Program (RAP), typically last less than a month and involve a team of field biologists to quickly quantify and qualify the biological value of a selected wilderness. The resulting data is processed, analyzed, and then presented in report form to various stakeholders. The process offers a quick, but thorough view of biodiversity in the target area, enabling scientists to make recommendations to policy makers based on hard scientific data.
Mammal expert Kris Helgen is seen holding a golden-mantled tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus pulcherrimus) in New Guinea. Helgen was part of a RAP expedition to the Foja mountains of Papua, an Indonesian province on the island of New Guinea. Photo from Conservation International.
The programs also serve to raise pubic awareness of areas of conservation value. For example, CI’s RAP expeditions are accompanied by local education campaigns to promote understanding of the biodiversity in the assessed zone. Further, data from the effort is made public through news releases to media outlets and an online database.
While new discoveries are documented in scientific literature, they are also used stimulate local community interest in conservation and sustainable use by highlighting the uniqueness and importance of resident plants and animals. Such efforts have helped reduce illegal logging and bushmeat hunting, dissuaded developers from exploiting sensitive areas, and reduced the impact of mining operations. Rapid assessments may even be helping motivate local children to become the next generation of scientists.
Leeanne Alonso: “Communicating the results of rapid biodiversity surveys to maximize conservation impacts.”
- Dedy Darnaedi: “Rapid biodiversity assessment as a tool for increasing awareness of biodiversity in Indonesia.”
- Olaf Banki: “Tree diversity and nature conservation on bauxite mountains in Northeast Suriname.”
- Piotr Naskrecki: “Multiple outcomes of a rapid assessment survey in the Atewa Range Forest Reserve, Ghana.”
- Carlos Peres: “Bottom-up regulation of wildlife abundance in neotropical forests: implications for reserve design.”
- Kristen Williams: “Identifying gaps in biodiversity survey data for amphibians; can rapid biodiversity assessments inform delineation of key biodiversity areas in the New Guinea wilderness?”
- Jan Mol: “Direct impact of rapid assessment surveys on conservation in the Guiana Shield area.”
- Ana Liz Flores: “Impacts of the RAP program: knowledge and conservation of the biodiversity in Venezuela.”
- Corine Vriesendorp: “Peru: rapid inventories lead to new conservation landscapes.”
- Alfonso Alonso: “Biodiversity assessments in Gabon, Central Africa: protocols, training, and conservation results.”
- Jonathan Majer: “Documenting Barrow Island’s invertebrates: an essential prerequisite for quarantine surveillance and environmental monitoring.”