Biodiversity and neotropical forest megafauna research

Project name:

Operation Wallacea (13)

Project purpose:

Biodiversity and neotropical forest megafauna research

Project activities:

  • animal interaction

  • data collection/analysis

  • habitat restoration/management

  • teaching​

Weekly cost (approx USD):

$

850

Direct benefits you gain:

  • data/statistical skills

  • field research skills

  • gain qualification and/or credit

  • remote scenic location

Noteworthy conservation points:

  • development goals (supporting local community)

  • publishes peer-reviewed science

  • publishes work

Accommodation:

When does the project run?

June to August

Facilities:

How long can I stay?

Minimum 2 weeks. Maximum 8 weeks.

Requirements:

Details of the day-to-day life on the project:

**There are many different programs running with opwall for varying amounts of time. The price listed here may change upon further enquiry**

The expeditions involve trekking through undisturbed forests, where jaguar, tapirs, giant otters, harpy eagles and many other charismatic South American species are abundant.

Operation Wallacea has formed a partnership with the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development (IIC) and the Amerindian community of Surama. The IIC manages one million acres (371,000ha) of lowland tropical rainforest in the centre of the country. The IIC represents an international partnership between Guyana and the Commonwealth to demonstrate how tropical forests can be sustainably used in the interest of global scale climate change, local communities and biodiversity conservation.

Surama Village is a Makushi Amerindian community, which has a vision to develop, own and manage a community-based eco-tourism business by using the natural resources and their traditional culture practices. Protection of rainforests is a matter of ensuring that surrounding communities can have a financial benefit from conservation of those forests, and this is the basis of many of the REDD+ type data collection monitoring projects being run by Opwall, where funds are raised through preservation of the carbon content of the forests. However, an alternative approach is to sustainably exploit the timber in the forest using a reduced impact logging protocol developed by Iwokrama so that communities can have financial benefits, but the biodiversity of the forest can be maintained.

Just under half of the Iwokrama Reserve has been designated as a sustainable use area (SUA). Within this area a 60 year rotation has been agreed where approximately 1% of the trees in the blocks to be logged are removed with detailed planning so that the cut and skid trails to remove the timber have minimal impact. This level of cutting for the most part allows the canopy structure and overall age structure of the trees to be maintained even in the harvested blocks, but since the trees removed are the high value commercial species, it generates substantial income for the local communities. This is a very impressive harvesting system and if it can be demonstrated to have minimal impacts on biodiversity whilst at the same time generating much of the income that would have been achieved from much less sensitive ways of harvesting, then this approach may have much wider applications worldwide.

The Opwall teams are helping to provide detailed and verifiable data sets on target biodiversity taxa in the Iwokrama forests both to examine the impacts of selective logging but also to quantify long-term changes in the biodiversity of the forests.

An annual monitoring programme providing equal coverage of the SUA and wilderness preserve (where no logging is allowed), as well as the forests surrounding Surama Village has been initiated, and is being completed by the Opwall survey teams. The purpose of this monitoring is to provide long-term data sets on the abundance and diversity of key biodiversity taxa so that the impacts of sustainable use within Iwokrama and the forest surrounding Surama can be identified in comparison with the non-utilised wilderness areas.

Reviews & ratings

Adriano

Volunteer

Very Good Program

My week at Daktari was excellent and the program is very intense in the sense that we all get together with the kids and animals from 7am until 9 pm. It is an excellent choice for a first volunteering program abroad considering and I would definitely like to go back someday

Corinne

Intern

It was an experience that I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of

Wild Sun Rescue is an animal rehabilitation center located in the remote and scenic fishing village of Cabuya, Costa Rica. The long-term (12 week) volunteer experience involved getting to do hands-on work with all of the animals that are housed at the center, including howler monkeys, capuchins, opossums, squirrels and raptors. The daily duties included diet prep (mostly chopping and cooking fruits and veggies), enclosure cleaning, facility maintenance (repairing enclosures, building new enclosures and enrichment), and animal handling and medical treatment. It was an experience that I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of--nowhere else in the world would I be able to work with all of these amazing animals, in such a unique and beautiful location. As a wildlife biology intern, I also had the opportunity to create my own research project at the center, supervised and assisted by the internship coordinator.

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