Yanachaga Chimillén National Park (10.01.2012 to 12.31.2012)
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From November 11–17, Rodolfo Vásquez (site manager) and Rocío Rojas (MBG researcher in Peru) participated as instructors in the "Workshop Introduction to Tropical Ecology and Botany" organized by the northeastern regional office of the National Service of Protected Natural Areas (SERNANP). Twenty-five park rangers from 10 Protected Natural Areas in the northeastern region of Peru participated in the workshop, which was held at the Tabaconas Namballe National Sanctuary. From November 25–30, Rodolfo Vásquez and three MBG researchers in Peru, Rocío Rojas, Luis Valenzuela, and Isabel Villalba, participated as instructors in a second workshop with the same title organized by the east-central regional office of SERNANP. Twenty-six people—20 park rangers from four Protected Areas in the east-central region of Peru and six people from regional universities and the government of the Ucayali region—participated in the workshop, which was held at the Macuya Biological Station of the Universidad Nacional del Ucayali. Both workshops discussed the following topics: morphology of vascular plants, collection of vascular plants, identification of the principal families of vascular plants in each region, inventory and monitoring of vascular plants by installing permanent tree plots and transects for woody vascular plants, common ecosystems in each region, and inventory and monitoring of large wildlife using camera traps. The aim of the workshops was, first, to discuss the importance of measuring long-term trends in biodiversity through standardized methods of data collection so that the data can effectively guide conservation action; and, second, to familiarize participants with, and reinforce their knowledge of, field-based methodologies for inventory and monitoring of flora and fauna.
Unusual Events at the TEAM Site:
No unusual events during this period
No new species during this period
During this period, we completed the review and identification of botanical specimens from plot VG-YAN-03. We are currently working on revising the scientific names in TROPICOS.
Terrestrial Vertebrate Protocol:
On October 2 we entered the Paujil Biological Station of Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park, and the following day we moved to the second array of camera traps, which is located approximately 3.5 hours from the Paujil station. From October 4–16 we removed the camera traps from the second array, and on October 18 we returned to our office in Oxapampa. A team of five people carried out the collection of the cameras—two groups each consisting of two people, and one person who served as courier, taking supplies to the camps and bringing cameras back to the Paujil station.
To collect the cameras in the second array, the team used three base camps. From the first camp, called "Boca del Pescado," they had access to the following camera traps: CT-YAN-2-01, CT-YAN-2-02 , CT-YAN-2-03, CT-YAN-2-04, CT-YAN-2-05, CT-YAN-2-15, CT-YAN-2-16, CT-YAN-2-17, CT -YAN-2-22, CT-YAN-2-23, CT-YAN-2-24, CT-YAN-2-27, CT-YAN-2-28. From the second, called "David," they had access to the following traps: CT-YAN-2-06, CT-YAN-2-07, CT-YAN-2-08, CT-YAN-2- 09, CT-YAN-2-10, CT-YAN-2-11, CT-YAN-2-12, CT-YAN-2-13, CT-YAN-2-14. The third camp, called "Avelino," provided access to the following: CT-YAN-2-18, CT-YAN-2-19, CT-YAN-2-20, CT-YAN-2-21, CT-YAN-2 -25, CT-YAN-2-26, CT-YAN-2-29, CT-YAN-2-30. The camps are spaced in a straight line 3.5 to 8 km apart, with travel time of 4–7 hours between them.
This last part of the wildlife monitoring activities took place largely within the established parameters with one exception: an unexpected increase in the flow of one of the tributaries of the Iscozacín River isolated the groups for a couple of days, although there were no major difficulties.
All images of both arrays were processed in DeskTEAM during the second week of November. The information was recorded on two DVDs, which were sent to the TEAM office in Washington to be uploaded to the portal so that the information would be available on the portal on December 1.
We generally visit the meteorological station between the 14th and the 20th of each month. However, owing to the navigation conditions on the Iscozacín River, it is not always possible to reach the station on schedule. Each time we visit the station, we cut the grass growing inside and outside the structure and remove the debris of dead vegetation and any wasp nests. We also examine the connections, the condition of the cables, the charge of the battery, and the operation of the solar panel.
During October and November we downloaded the data without problems and uploaded them to the TEAM portal as soon as was possible. In December we had difficulties in downloading the data that we will explain below.
No problems during this period
Terrestrial Vertebrate Protocol:
Because three of the camera traps were affected by the hurricane of September 30, 2011, it was necessary to move them and generate new camera points in accordance with the protocol. The new points were designated with decimals, as follows: CT-YAN-2-16.1, YAN-2-CT-17.1, and CT-YAN-2-23.1. The generation of decimal points modified, in part, the DeskTEAM routine that we followed in 2011, and it therefore took some time to transfer the images from the memory cards to DeskTEAM. This issue was finally resolved with the help of portal administrators.
In December, Rodolfo Vásquez had to wait several days for the rains to abate before he could reach the weather station. When he finally reached the station on December 22, he was surprised to see that the fan sensor was not working—an indication that the cables and the battery should be checked. He found that the battery was dead, and without electricity the data for December could not be downloaded. He thought it best to remove the battery and bring it back to Oxapampa. When a replacement battery arrives, he will bring it back to the weather station as soon as possible.
Owing to the weather, the MBG team could not visit the meteorological station on schedule. In November and December they waited 2 to 3 days for the flow of the Iscozacín River to diminish so that they could navigate upstream. When they reached the Park’s Paujil field station, they also had to wait for the flow of one of the river’s tributaries, the “Venado” creek, to subside. This tributary is fast-flowing, and usually we cross it with the aid of ropes when it is 1.2 to 2 m high. This season, the tributary reached a height of 4 m, and it was impossible to cross.
Because Oxapampa is a small town, it is difficult to obtain a battery there with the necessary specifications for the meteorological station, and we therefore had to order one from Lima. While weather conditions are not strictly speaking logistical problems, the long periods of rain created two critical places in the access to the TEAM site. The first is a hazardous section of about 400 m along a trail on the edge of a cliff about 70 m high that becomes more slippery in the rainy season. In 2010 and 2011 we prepared this section by cutting steps in the rock and by installing ropes to help with balance. The other critical point is the "Venado" creek. During the summer we cross this creek by jumping across the rocks, but in the rainy season it can reach a height of more than 4 m, with very strong current. We usually cross it with ropes and can do so until it reaches a level of 2 m, but when it is higher it is impossible to cross.
It is necessary to reconstruct the trail on the 400 m section over the precipice and to place a lifeline over the “Venado” creek.