Yasuni (01.01.2016 to 03.31.2016)

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January - March
Unusual Events at the TEAM Site: 

In Yasuni, typically there is no calendar month with precipitation >100mm. However, this year, with El Niño Southern Oscillation, January was an exceptional dry month with precipitation near 7 mm. Due to this stress we expect high tree mortality in the coming 1-2 years.  The Tiputini River was at an extremely low level, and the forest seemed emptied from its wildlife. February brought more rain (aprox. 150mm), and with it the forest came back with its usual life. 

Protocol Activities: 

Fauna:  The camera trap array in the area of Timpoca is completed. Cameras were installed between January 31st and February 11th, and retrieved between March 12th – 17th.  Data of the first array have been processed in DeskTEAM.  The second array in Guiyero is currently functioning in the field; cameras were placed between  March 18th – 23rd. We plan to retrieve cameras from the second array on May 4th-13th.

Flora: The 2016 census of the six 1-ha plots set up in the Ecuadorian Yasuni National Park was carried out between late January and mid February. This year the field work was rather smooth because we had an unusual drought during most of the census days. The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) present in the Pacific Ocean provoked a rain deficit and drought in the eastern Andean slopes and piedmont where the plots are located.

Clima: Climatic data for the first quarter are uploaded to the TEAM Portal. We have not missed data since September 12th 2014 and hope the climatic station continues functioning properly. 

Protocol Problems: 

Fauna: We have two camera traps stolen by Waorani during the first array. We organized multiple meetings with the communities and hope they will give us the cameras back. Additionally, one camera trap failed after the second day of its installation on the field.  Simultaneously with the second array, we have re-installed three cameras at the survey points with missing information. However, we have changed slightly the locations of the cameras at the two points where those were stolen to reduce the risk of missing more equipment. 

Flora: During the census work we found that ~40% of trees and lianas had wrong geographical coordinates in four of our six plot. These errors were corrected in the field. We also detected some identification mistakes but still we need to clean an update the taxonomy in all the plots. Such revision will demand a fieldwork campaign in itself.