NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
4 Nov 1991
- Noel Kempff Mercado National Park; El Encanto camp
- -14.625 -60.6930556
- 0 meters
(XY stereo - no decoding needed)
Arriving at the Moira sawmill
FX - Door slamming - Car starts up
AC and Ted chatter¿. "cold drinks¿.where can we get something to drink before we leave¿.this is the only civilization. It's a logging camp¿. They built the roads, (Ted speaking Spanish)
FX - Door opens and slams again, truck stops
Ambi - walking on the road, quiet talking in background.
Spanish: nothing to drink.
Drive to the ferry
AC: look at the butterflies. Just before the real hard rain falls, lots¿.(FX truck engine¿.baby crying)
FX: Door opens, engine turned off, getting out of truck. Truck stops. Slamming the door. Good outdoor ambi - gives a sense of arriving somewhere - Los Fierros - camp¿. Quiet chatter ¿.long ambiences and conversation about camp facilities
TP: watch out for the chiggers¿.have any insect repellent¿. Better get it out. TP talks in Spanish. This place used to be nothing¿. Now look at this. This is the headquarters of the national park. AC describes.
FX: Pouring and drinking water.
The camp has been here for three years.
0:21:00 Car ambi approaching El Encanto camp.
0:25:43 - arrive and slam car door. Get in again, speaking in Spanish. Drive on
0:27:15 - Meet Louise Emmons. This is Louise. Anyone in the camp - there are 10 million bees (off mic).
Driving into camp.
0:28:00 - Arrive at camp. Get out and shut car doors
AC describes camp -tents, stove. TP -you can see the cliffs on the plateau. Nicest forest in the park here. More humid and higher diversity of plants..¿.birds than anywhere else¿.! first came here two years ago. LSU started working here 3 years ago ¿.
We've also worked on top of the plateau...we'll go there in a couple of days. Diversity of habitats incredible.¿.tall evergreen forest here, up on top is pristine grassland.. largest example of that left on earth -half million hectares. Describing flowers that hummingbirds like, hang down in bunches like bananas...bright scarlet red with yellow tips.
34:20 -AC: what brought you here. *** TP: Up until 1986, this eastern half of dept. of Santa Cruz had not been explored by anyone. Knew there was tall rainforest. found 20-30 species were new to Bolivia. before¿.. endemic to this part of southwestern Amazonia. Document high diversity of plants and animals, we'd have a better chance of getting the govt to realize the biological importance. Our feeling is that they haven't included enough forest in the park that has already been established. Hope we can show through our work that we really have to include it. AC: why? TP: Home ranges of many of the large animals are wider than the park -large cats and peccaries.¿..Parks need to be large to maintain viable populations of large animals. Now in the process of documenting what occurs here. Have found 6 species of primates. The bird list is spectacular¿..nearly 650 species have been found in the park, which makes it one of the most important national parks in the world¿.¿.most important protected areas. Not that many people in the conservation organizations know about this region yet, and why we're interested in getting an extension for the park. We have to give them this information. Right now loggers are all through that area, and what we are hoping is that eventually when they take out the mahogany that they are allowed to take out, at some point the govt will decide not to continue to grant those concessions and will protect the whole region as a biological region rather than an extractive reserve.
** FX -walking through the forest -good Ted talks as
walks along describing what could see as walk along.
*** Difficult to believe there are so many
species¿.. tapirs, monkeys, birds¿...throughout most of
the day don't hear anything.
At dawn it's different¿...and at night there are more .sounds. One of the most frustrating things for me I have
to do all my work within an hour or two of first light.
Have to go out and really concentrate.¿.could be missing
a species if don't pay attention.
TP sees spider monkeys and describes .¿.tomorrow
will hear them¿.you could spend months here. spider
monkey one of favorite foods ¿..¿.
FX: good bugs
**** TP: one of the things we often talk about amongst ourselves is that there are still areas in South America some even the size of Pennsylvania that haven't been explored biologically at all. Different for biologists who have been in other areas where there are so many people. Here you can fly into an area -6 million acres, the size of northern Santa Cruz where no one has ever been. The problem of trying to get all this information in a very short period of time. We followed a logging route to begin to figure out what is here. will take us years to find out what's here, but have to begin with some info. to determine what protected areas should be. Bolivia is probably one of the least known countries in the world. There's so much room for exploration. Are perhaps 10 or 20 biologists here at one time. Compare that to us where 10s of thousands of conservation people working. Here we're in way over our heads. People want us to use methodology as use in us. Have problems working around the rainy season. Really is a big difference between what we are trying to do here and what people are doing in other parts of the world.
AC: some people question what you are doing?
TP: we would like to have more information upon which to base our decisions. Would love to have 20-40 years¿.¿but we don't have that much time. What we're
trying to do is get into some of these areas and figure out what plant systems are there¿.¿ecosystems¿.¿.compare tropics so we will be able to say to government in northeast Santa Cruz have a very diverse biologically rich forest which we think should be protected. Would like to have many more people working with us. Aren't that many people who have the knowledge¿.¿.to identify birds by sound or to find over a thousand species of plants in a few days in Alto Matidi. People are being trained now. We feel there is a real sense of urgency because every few weeks, conservation opportunities are lost, logging concessions are given out, people in the business community set aside agricultural area. then it's too late. If govt decides it will develop area for soya, lost, so basically what we're trying to do is find out where the most important areas are. People say can't just talk about biological diversity and ecosystems with lots of species. And we're not just doing that. We're visiting grasslands and dry forests. The last concentration of dry forest in the world is in eastern Bolivia¿.¿.¿.doing some of inventory work that some people in the group have been doing for 15 years.***** FX: Bugs as Ted is talking¿..
True some people are so focused on rainforests in Amazonia, tend to forget other areas
Ambi: walking thru forest
AC: what was the first thing you told John O'Neill about this place..1rP:This is one of the southernmost rainforests in the new world tropics. I was surprised by the diversity. This is a tongue of humid forest. Bird diversity high. We found a number of species that were only known in southwestern Brazil¿...parrots, tooth-billed wren¿.¿.(talks about more birds that were discovered -probably 40 new species to the country.) Every trip has produced new birds¿...will be interesting the new mammals that are found.
TP talks about how felt when went back to the states. Areas that I thought were huge when I was a kid are just little patches of land....compares both. realize are places in the world where still have time to use the land more rationally¿.¿.better ways to use the forest and resources we have.
talk about Lancaster, Pa, where Ted grew up ¿..Louisiana¿...weather and heat.¿.and snakes, bushmasters, fer de lances. One of the main things have to worry about here is when a tree falls or being bitten by a venomous insect..¿.need to concentrate on frogs more.
One of the main problems -logistics -if larger number of people -how fly around, supplies, fuel etc.
***** FX -good walking **** -cicada hum
Interview with Al Gentry
Talks about plants, what animals can see..¿.
AC: what is it that you're doing here.¿.¿.3 bags of leaves, dumped them out at your feet, folding them into
AG: high tech modern biology.¿..describes in the tropics, match a specimen against another specimen to see if it's the same¿..¿no books (except his that's being written reo pant identification.) huge number of species and don't have names. hard to write a field guide. doing field inventory now.
AC: pressing leaves into a pile of newspapers -doesn't look very scientific.
AG: some people say that rapid assessment is not very scientific¿..¿.but because we've spent lots of time in the field can go to an area and tell what's there. As I collect them, I memorize them¿.. is a voucher that this species existed at this point of time. On border of Brazil and Bolivia, totally unknown -no collections of any kind reo plants have been made. Largest blanks on the distribution maps of bio-geography. Big surprise that this far south so diverse¿..¿.¿.** What we're doing is very simple. Part we are doing now is drudgery. Are branches not just leaves. Collecting them is very exciting. climbing trees, when up in the canopy -good. Usually do 4 2x50 meter parcels in a forest, climbed 15-20 trees. Trees 40 meters tall. Physically demanding. I use a safety belt when up high so have hands free. Describes climbing system. Used to use a tree climbing bicycle.
AC: what have you learned today?
AG: what I'm trying to get is a number of species will be in tenth hectare done in this same way. Already know that it's a very diverse forest reo how many species are repeating itself¿...when flew over, ornithologist thought were many birds = high diversity of plants. Robin not so sure. Here the diversity has stayed high way down south. That's what will document.
AC: Exciting news in botany world?
No, cuz no one even knows it's here. But will be big news in conservation world. important to have some data that conservationists can use. one of the last large area reo mahogany¿.¿.(more reo plants)
AG: ¿.the idea is when go to a place and try to do something about it immediately¿.¿./.make knowledge immediately available for conservation. ***** Exciting to work with these people cuz they know so much..¿.Ted Parker....etc. part of the profession that love is to go out into the forest and see what's there..¿..been on three trips with the full group.
AC: Are you uncomfortable over the debate.¿..
AG: not too much. I do more of the formal in-depth inventories than anybody else. Also, I know that the kind of data and replicability of knowledge is striking. other goals to get plants into herbarium -to identify things. Persuaded CI and MacArthur Fund to collect specimens......... ,
AC: People talk about medicinal properties of plants¿..
AG: I use that as a justification¿..but I use this cuz I'm fascinated by it. Good to know involved in perhaps saving the world. Lot of schemes now -leaving forest in place¿..how much value can get out of the forest ¿..A lot of value comes from fruits. Most medicinal plants would involve taking out that species. Most of species are in the tropics.... l/4 of all the pharmaceuticals from plants in tropical rainforests¿..cure of eye ailments.
AC: Transect 1/10th of a hectare -1/8th of an acre. How much of what is there do you get?
AG: in a temperate zone, get everything. down here, it's a small percentage. In a dry forest, around 50 ¿.ENDS