6th April 2012 GVI Amazon, Ecuador

Where there is a road... There is a way... To study it! In 2010 and 2011, staff and volunteers at GVI Amazon completed a never-before done study of the impact of a road in a primary tropical forests by looking at the species compositions of birds, butterflies, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians in areas close to the road that runs through the reserve and compared them with areas further from the road. While there have been previous studies looking at the impacts of a road on bird populations or mammal populations, there has never been a multi-taxa study looking at all of these groups at once. The data Road  widening  work  at  the  Yachana   Reserve,  GVI  Amazon,  Ecuador   collected here is in the process of being analyzed and written up with the intention of publishing in a scientific journal.

Over the last few months there have been further developments on the road. While the initial study was done on a narrow road with trees touching or almost touching above; the road has recently been significantly widened for safety of cars as well as allowing an electricity line to run along the edge of the road to deliver power to the communities beyond the reserve. Additionally, there are plans to further widen the road and flatten vegetation near it in order to build a tarmac/asphalt road in mid to late 2012. While we are working with the communities and developers to do minimal damage to the reserve, we are also taking advantage of the situation and restarting the road impact studies with the further disturbed road. We will then collect more data in the future when the tarmac/asphalt road comes in. Once we have all of the data we will be able to compare the affects of a narrow access road with a wider but still basic gravel road, with an even wider tarmac/asphalt road. The data collected from the narrow access road shows that there is a greater diversity further from the road but a similar number of individuals close to and further from the road. Will the further developments decrease the diversity further from the road, further reduce the diversity close to the road or even reduce the number of individuals present?
We are very lucky to be in a position to have the opportunity to complete this multi taxa study looking at the different stages of development however it is sad to see a large portion of the reserve cut down or bulldozed. Philip Brown – Assistant Base Manager

GVI has an important role in conservation around the world and our work here in the Amazon is just one small piece of the jigsaw that makes up global conservation. For more information on our project visit our web site: http://www.gvi.co.uk/programs/rainforest-conservation-expedition-ecuador

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