Assessing the value of regenerating tropical rainforest for biodiversity and conservation


The importance of pristine rainforest for biodiversity conservation is well known. However, much of the tropical forest that remains has experienced significant human disturbance and at the most extreme has regenerated after clearance. How well tropical forest biodiversity can recover from such devastating environmental change and the potential conservation value of regenerating forest is often difficult to determine because, while regenerating, the environment continues to experience human impacts such as hunting or harvesting of firewood. This project is investigating the diversity, abundance and distribution of biodiversity in strictly protected regenerating tropical forest and control areas of primary forest, in one of the world’s most diverse zones, the Manu Biosphere Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon. The project study site is the Manu Learning Centre, an Amazonian research lodge run by project partner and Peruvian sustainable development NGO Crees. The area has been allowed to regenerate after different levels of clearance and disturbance due to historical agriculture/logging and is now strictly protected from hunting and other potentially harmful human activities making it an ideal location for studying the potential conservation value of regenerating forest. The research focuses on large mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and butterflies and includes studying temporal usage patterns of key indicator species; including Jaguar, Tapir and Razor-billed Curassow.