Extreme seasonal changes in Amazon river levels threaten forest conservation by indigenous people

first_imgAnimals, Climate Change And Extreme Weather, Conservation, Dolphins, Fish, Fishing, Flooding, Impact Of Climate Change, Indigenous Communities, Indigenous Peoples, Mammals, Rivers, UCSC, Wildlife The Amazon has experienced intense floods and droughts for the past 10 years, a likely effect of climate change.Surveys taken of animals between 2009 and 2015 showed terrestrial mammal populations dropped by 95 percent during intense floods, whereas aquatic animals suffered dramatic declines during an extreme drought.Scientists fear these seasonal extremes will drive the Cocama people of Peru out of the forest, depriving it of its primary conservationists. Rivers in the Amazon are cycling between increasingly severe states of flood and drought, as predicted by climate change models, and the results are directly impacting local wildlife and the indigenous people who protect the forest, a new study shows.The study, published online recently in the journal Conservation Biology, looked at seven years of population data on mammals, birds, fish and reptiles from the river bottom to the forest canopy in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve of Peru, and examined which groups thrived and which suffered from ever more extreme wet and dry seasons. For many, it didn’t look good.“We watched the animal populations in the yearly analysis, and we were seeing them crash in front of our eyes!” said lead author Richard Bodmer, a conservation biologist from the University of Kent in the U.K. But the crashes seemed to follow a cyclic pattern.1. Populations of red-bellied piranhas (Pygocentrus nattereri) dramatically decreased in the Peruvian Amazon during the 2010 drought. Photo from Pixabay.1. Map showing the location of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve in Peru (background) and a view of the Samiria River (foreground). Map from Google Maps; photo by Mark Goble, Flickr.Populations of aquatic animals like red-bellied piranhas (Pygocentrus nattereri) and pink river dolphins (Inia geoffrensis), for example, dried up during the Amazon’s record-breaking drought in 2010 to just half of the population densities that scientists saw the year before. But in the five subsequent years between 2011 and 2015, when extreme floods raised water levels to twice their usual heights, those river populations bounced back.On the other hand, land-based mammal populations, whose numbers had stayed steady during the drought, sank by 95 percent during the five years of intense flooding. Mammals such as black agoutis (Dasyprocta fuliginosa) and white-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari) drowned in the historically high floods of 2012 and 2015, Bodmer said.These opposing population ebbs and flows could disrupt the entire rainforest ecosystem, “leading to the extinction of key plant and animal species,” Whaldener Endo, a conservation biologist with the National Research Centre for Carnivore Conservation in Brazil, said in an email. Endo was not part of the study.1. A home and crop field of indigenous river dwellers submerged by extreme floods in 2009 in the Juruá region of Brazil. Many people left their forest homes for urban areas. Photo courtesy of Whaldener Endo.For Bodmer, who trains and works with the indigenous Cocama people to establish community-based conservation programs, though, the consequences could be more immediate.If years of intense, uninterrupted flooding are followed by years of extreme drought, the study warned, no animal populations will recover — the numbers will just remain low. And that’s bad news for the indigenous people who depend on them.“The people look at the forests as a grocery shop,” Bodmer said. “They are conserving those intact forests because that’s their livelihood.”1. A group of Cocama children in the Pacaya-Samiria region of Peru. People like the Cocama make up an essential part of conservation efforts in the Amazon. Photo courtesy of Richard Bodmer and FundAmazonia.The indigenous communities are used to the seasonal cycles, so they alter their food sources according to when they’re easiest to catch: land-based bushmeat in the wet season, fish in the dry season. But if all their animal resources collapsed following persistent periods of intensifying flood and drought, it would leave them with little to sustain themselves.That’s a real problem, Endo concurred. In the Juruá region of Brazil where he works, people along the river farm for a living. When the floods rose to record levels, he said, fields were submerged, homes were flooded, and some residents left the forests for the cities. “They don’t have other options to move their communities to more suitable areas in the forest,” Endo said, since they already live at the highest elevations along the river.“That’s where the danger lies in this type of seasonal intensification,” Bodmer said. If the indigenous people can’t find the motives for conservation because there are fewer animals available for them to use, then “they might just give it up. And if they give it up, the Amazon won’t be conserved because they’re the ones who are doing it right now.”As he talked, Bodmer watched from his covered launch on the Samiria River as rare pink river dolphins leaped from the water.“We don’t know what this next year’s going to bring,” he said. “But the river is already quite high for this time of year in November.”2. A pink river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis) leaps from the Samiria River in northeastern Peru. These dolphins, along with scores of fish and crocodilians, suffered from an intense drought in 2010, but most recovered during extreme floods between 2011 and 2015. Photo courtesy of Richard Bodmer and FundAmazonia.Citation Jeremy Rehm (@jrehm_sci) is a graduate student in the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Other Mongabay stories by UCSC students can be found here. 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In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Bodmer, Richard et al. (2017). Major Shifts in Amazon Wildlife Populations from Recent Climatic Intensification. Conservation Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12993.last_img

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