Weʼre raising £2,500 to Support my school Conservation Research Expedition to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
- Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire
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Cotswold School has organised a two-week expedition to help with the biodiversity studies run by Operation Wallacea.
WHAT IS OPERATION WALLACEA?
Operation Wallacea (Opwall) is a conservation research organisation that is funded by, and relies on, teams of student volunteers who join expeditions for the opportunity to work on real-world research programmes alongside academic researchers.
This Opwall expedition will take the group to the remote lowland Amazonian forests of Equador and for the second week, to the Galapagos Islands.
Work undertaken and objectives:
Much of the Amazonian forest in Ecuador is under threat from oil extraction. In the Amazon, oil extraction has traditionally been followed with deforestation of the areas of extraction and has often been of little benefit to the native people on whose land the oil extraction is occurring.
The Kichwa Amerindians have managed to protect their forests against proposed oil extraction. In essence, the Kichwa Indians are foregoing income from the oil industry in order to protect the forest, and that income needs to be replaced by an income of the same level or greater in order to ensure the long-term protection of the forests.
Sani Eco Lodge, an Ecuadorian ecotourism operator, has been working with the Kichwa community to develop ecotourism income that provide sustainable jobs and income from leaving their forests intact. They have constructed a high-end ecotourism lodge in the centre of the 40,000 hectares that encompass the Sani Reserve, and a separate field research camp that is being used by the Opwall survey teams, and as a camping experience for the high end ecotourist visitors.
In 2017 the first teams of Opwall scientists completed a detailed habitat and vegetation communities map of the reserve, compiled a photographic guide to the fish and amphibians of the reserve and gained initial distributional data on the birds and large mammals. In 2019 I will join further teams which will be developing the information on the biodiversity of this site and specifically:
- To produce an illustrated guide of the distribution, habitat preferences and relative abundance of the bird community in the Sani reserve. - To update the guide to the amphibians and reptiles of the Sani Reserve with any new records made.
- To produce an illustrated guide to some of the larger invertebrate species found in the reserve
- To continue the collection of botanical samples to complete an inventory of the flora
- To re-measure the permanent forest plots so that data on forest dynamics (eg turnover, growth, recruitment) can be quantified
- To update the mammal and primate guide to the reserve with new records and data on distribution and relative abundance
- To extend the range of ecotourism activities involving the Sani Community
- The Galapagos portion of the expedition focuses on environmental education and training rather than research.
Full details of the work done by Opwall and duirng this trip specifically can be seen via the links below:
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