The authors also conclude that proposed oil development projects represent the greatest threat to Yasuní and its biodiversity.
"This study demonstrates that Yasuní is the most diverse area in South America, and possibly the world," said Dr. Peter English of The University of Texas at Austin. "Amphibians, birds, mammals and vascular plants all reach maximum diversity in Yasuní."
The study is published in the open-access scientific journal PLoS ONE.
"We have so far documented 596 bird species occurring in Yasuni," said English, a bird specialist. "That's incredible diversity to find in just one corner of the Amazon rainforest and rivals any other spot on the planet."
Other specialists joined in to give the first complete picture of the extraordinary diversity found in Yasuní National Park.
"The 150 amphibian species documented to date throughout Yasuní is a world record for an area of this size," said Shawn McCracken of Texas State University. "There are more species of frogs and toads within Yasuní than are native to the United States and Canada combined."
The scientists also confirmed that an average upland hectare (2.47 acres) in Yasuní contains more tree species, 655, than are native to the continental United States and Canada combined. The number of tree species rises to more than 1,100 for an area of 25 hectares."In just one hectare in Yasuní, there are more tree, shrub and liana (woody vines) species than anywhere else in the world," said Gorky Villa, an Ecuadorian botanist working with both the Smithsonian Institution and Finding Species.
"One of our most important findings about Yasuní is that small areas of forest harbor extremely high numbers of animals and plants," said lead author Margot Bass, president of Finding Species, a non-profit with offices in Maryland and Quito, Ecuador. "Yasuní is probably unmatched by any other park in the world for total numbers of species."
The extraordinary diversity of Yasuní is best exemplified at the 1,600-acre Tiputini Biodiversity Station on the northern edge of the park.
"The Tiputini Biodiversity Station is home to 247 amphibian and reptile species, 550 bird species and around 200 mammal species," said Dr. Kelly Swing of the University of San Francisco in Quito, Ecuador.
"What makes Yasuní especially important is its potential to sustain this extraordinary biodiversity in the long term," said Dr. Matt Finer of Save America's Forests. "For example, the Yasuní region is predicted to maintain wet, rainforest conditions as climate change-induced drought intensifies in the eastern Amazon."
The paper concludes with a number of science-based policy recommendations. One key recommendation is a moratorium on new oil exploration or development projects within the park, particularly in the remote and relatively intact—but oil rich—northeast corner that contains oil blocks 31 and ITT.
The Ecuadorian government is promoting a revolutionary plan, known as the Yasuní-ITT Initiative, which would leave the park's largest oil reserves in the ITT block permanently under the ground. A lack of funding commitments, however, now threatens the proposal.
"The Yasuní-ITT Initiative urgently needs international funders to step up and make it a success, or else more drilling in the core of Yasuní may become a tragic reality," concluded Finer.
Additional contact: Matt Finer, Save America's Forests, 202-544-9219, email@example.com
Peter English | EurekAlert!
Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering