Big animals can survive reduced-impact logging — if done right

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Employing camera traps to survey Amazonian mammals in Guyana, researchers found that large mammals and birds did not see a lower population of target species in reduced-impact logging areas as compared to unlogged areas. For some species, like jaguars and pumas, population numbers actually rose.

The research was conducted in an unusually managed swath of forest: Iwokrama. Spreading over nearly 400,000 hectares (close to 990,000 acres) – an area a little smaller than Rhode Island – Iwokrama Forest is managed by the not-for-profit Iwokrama organization and 16 local Makushi communities.

Looking at 17 key species in the area – including 15 mammals and two large birds – the researchers found that populations didn’t change much between logged and unlogged areas, a sign that Iwokrama’s logging regime is not disturbing the area’s larger taxa.

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Guyana leads the way for Intact Forest Landscapes

Almost 90 percent of Guyana’s roughly 750,000 residents live in coastal areas outside of the forests, which contributes to the preservation of the country’s intact forest landscape. Over the past two decades, deforestation rates in Guyana have ranged from between 0.02 percent to 0.079 percent – far less than many other tropical countries. The full article is available here…

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What will expanding the Georgetown-Lethem road mean for conservation?

A new report by Conservation International details the predicted impacts of expanding the Georgetown-Lethem road through Guyana’s forests. This report presents an assessment of the potential impacts on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services that can arise from the upgrade of the Georgetown to Lethem Road. This assessment builds on, and is guided by, a number of previous studies of the planned upgrade. This report includes the results of several studies conducted over a thirteen month period.

Read the report here

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Detailed study in Iwokrama shows little effect of reduced-impact logging on biodiversity

New research conducted in the Iwokrama Forest in Guyana has highlighted the value of a modern logging technique for maintaining biodiversity in tropical forests that are used for timber production.

Researchers at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) at the University of Kent say that with over 4 million km2 of tropical forests harvested for timber worldwide, improving the way logging impacts on wildlife is essential for global biodiversity conservation.

Members of DICE conducted the most comprehensive study of Reduced-Impact Logging (RIL) to date, surveying wildlife communities over a five-year period before and after timber harvesting.

The research team, comprising Dr Jake Bicknell, Dr Matthew Struebig and Dr Zoe Davies, discovered that RIL had very little effect on the birds, bats and large mammals in the rainforests of Central Guyana. In fact, they found that the natural rates of change in the wildlife communities were greater than those resulting from this type of modern, best-practice logging technique.

Now the researchers hope the new evidence, showing the benefits of adopting RIL over conventional logging, will encourage governments and timber companies to make the switch in their timber industry practices.

Dr Bicknell said the research demonstrated that RIL is a ‘cost-effective option’ that will ensure the long-term sustainability of biodiversity-rich tropical forests around the world. It is better for wildlife because it ‘minimises collateral damage to unlogged trees in the forest, and reduces gaps in the forest canopy which are associated with conventional logging’.

Andrew Snyder Logging in Guyana

The paper, titled Reconciling timber extraction with biodiversity conservation in tropical forests using reduced impact logging, is published in the current issue of the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Download the paper here

Understanding primate distributions in Guyana

A new study published in the scientific journal Biotropica, explains patterns in the spatial distributions of three species of primates in the Rupununi area of Guyana. The study by the Project Fauna team is based on three years of field surveys by local communities, and shows that competition between species is fundamental to species distributions, as well as habitat and fruit availability.

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Protected areas system gets boost

The Guyana protected areas system received a significant boost yesterday with the exchange of notes to formally initiate a funding grant from the German Government to the Guyana Government via the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Robert Persaud and German Ambassador, Stefan Schluter with the signed financing agreement. Also in picture are: Deputy Commissioner, Denise Fraser, Commissioner Damian Fernandes and German Consul Ben ter Welle. (Adrian Narine photo) Future investments will focus on the construction and equipping of offices for the recently established Protected Areas Commission (PAC).

German Ambassador Stefan Schluter said that his country’s partnering with Guyana on environmental issues began in 1996, and since then, has continued to grow. “We are actually now celebrating the third phase of this on-going project which, so far, amounts to US$14 -15M. This is the latest phase which will have about Euros 5 million  in aid.

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Renowned climate scientist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri was recently installed as Chairman of Guyana’s well known international rain forest conservation, research and development centre Iwokrama.

The installation took place on the lawns of State House where a reception hosted by President Donald Ramotar was held for Dr. Pachauri who earlier today travelled to the centre for a tour and meeting with the staff.

The centre was established in 1996 under a joint mandate from the Government of Guyana and the Commonwealth Secretariat to manage the Iwokrama forest, reserve of 371,000 hectares of rainforest. The canopy walkway is one of its most distinguished features.

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The Guyana Protected Areas Bill was passed in July 2011 and subsequently gave way for the establishment of a Protected Areas Commission. In October 2011 the Kanuku Mountains in Region Nine and Shell Beach in Region One were added to Guyana’s list of protected areas.

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