The study is part of a research project seeking to evaluate the results of actions for restoration and conservation of the Atlantic Forest at Pontal do Paranapanema. With the data at hand, researchers will analyze how effective the actions were in regards to animals and identify management initiatives that contribute to the region.
The research belongs to a wider project called “Development of simplified procedures for monetary-economic valuation of ecosystem services and non-monetary valuation of cultural ecosystem services related to forest restoration”, a partnership of IPÊ with CTG Brasil, a clean energy company, through a R&D project from ANEEL.
Heading the Biodiversity branch of the Project is Simone Tenório and the general manager is Laury Cullen, both researchers at IPÊ.
To identify the fauna present in the region, the researchers Rafael Souza Cruz Alvez and Claudia Zukeram Kanda (pictured) installed 60cm high trap cameras around tree trunk.
“This way it is possible to grasp if mammals are moving through the restored areas, and if they actually use the area for survival”, says Claudia.
By analyzing the presence of animals, the researchers will be able to evaluate the advances in conservation related to the ecosystem services rendered by them. “The animals will help keep the health of ecosystems and productive areas, contributing to pest control”, stated Rafael Souze Cruz Alvez.
An example for this is the Brazilian Tapir (Tapirus terrestris), considered the forest gardener due to how it scatters seed with greater germination potential. Forests inhabited by tapirs have a greater diversity of trees, for they move great distances inside their habitat and also between forest fragments (around 500 hectares – or 500 soccer fields). “Areas with tapirs have woods and riparian forests of higher quality, and, therefore, more preserved. This restoration will lead to better water quality, as it reduces soil runoff (particulate organic matter in the water)”.
Three study scenarios
In the study with mammals, 37 areas are analyzed in 3 scenarios: in conservated fragments, in restored fragments, and in the biggest restored forest corridor in the biome, connecting two conservation units, the Parque Estadual Morro do Diabo and the Estação Ecológica Mico-Leão-Preto. Each area will be monitored for two months, during three cycles, resulting in six months of image capturing.
During the installation of the cameras, the researchers found traces, such as tracks and feces of Brazilian tapirs (Tapirus terrestris), cougars (Puma concolor), and ocelots (Leopardus pardalis).