Is This the World’s Most Diverse National Park?

Rice rat

Madidi National Park in Bolivia goes from lowland to mountaintop, from 600 feet to almost 20,000 feet above sea level.It covers more than 7,000 square miles of wildly different habitats. It is, says Rob Wallace, an ecologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Bolivia, “a place where the Amazon meets the Andes.”

Credit...Omar Torrico/Wildlife Conservation Society

It has cloud forests, lowland jungle, rivers, streams, wetlands.It even has glaciers.

“Madidi was put together on the hypothesis that it could be the world’s most biologically diverse protected area,” Dr. Wallace said. And, he said, it is —for mammals, birds, plants and butterflies.

In June 2015, a team of scientists, almost all Bolivian, set out on a three-year survey of life in the park, concentrating on 15 sites. The on-the-ground search, supported by the conservation society, was complemented by a less adventurous investigation — of the scientific literature. The goal of the project, Identidad Madidi, was to identify as many species that lived in the park as they could.

Theresults are in: The total number of species documented for Madidi is now 8,524. The team in the field found about 4,000 species, 1,362 of them never before recorded in Madidi. They estimate, based on other information of how species are distributed, that there are probably 11,395 living in the park, even though some of those have not yet been spotted. That includes all creatures with backbones, all plants and butterflies. Tackling all the insect species was a step too far.

Among the finds were 124 species and eight subspecies believed to be new to science, like the spiny rat, whiptail lizard and orchid below.

They documented13 new species of butterfly. The Corinna Daggerwing was known before.

Of course, the conclusion of the survey raises a question: Why does it matter which park is most diverse?

[Like the Science Times page on Facebook.| Sign up for the Science Times newsletter.]

Bolivia is not headed for a World Cup-style confrontation with other protected areas, like Manu National Park in Peru, which has been considered the most diverse up to now, or Yasuni National Park in Ecuador, which is still ahead of Madidi in amphibians and reptiles like theBolivian coral snake, which is highly venomous.

Fish, including the completely harmless pupfish below, are still being counted.

In fact, the conservation society provides support to both those parks and many others. But national pride can be a motivator for conservation and Dr. Wallace said that the survey was initiated largely because “people in Bolivia did not know how special Madidi really was.”

The survey made scientific sense because having a baseline record of diversity in any protected area is important for understanding what happens as climate and development around the area change. For researchers interested in how species interact with one another and their environment, the first step is knowing about the species themselves, like the Madidi titi monkey, discovered in the park in 2000 by Dr. Wallace and Humberto Gómez, and deemed a new species in 2004. The river otter is more well-known.

Species counts are never definitive, however. How many people are counting, what areas they choose to sample, time of year, changes in environment over time — all can affect the final totals. Manu National Park, or Yasuni National Park, or another protected area could conduct new counts and totals could change.

The point, of course, is to protect as many species as possible, in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador or anywhere on the planet. But a little national pride in one’s own preservation efforts can only help protected animals and plants to flourish.

In Other News

fake money

Keywords clouds text link

 máy sấy   thịt bò mỹ  thành lập doanh nghiệp
Visunhomegương trang trí  nội thất  cửa kính cường lực   lắp camera Song Phát thiết kế nhà 

Our PBN System:  thiết kế nhà xưởng thiết kế nội thất thiết kế nhà tem chống giả ban nhạ  ốp lưngGiường ngủ triệu gia  Ku bet ku casino buy fake money máy sấy buồn sấy lạnh

mặt nạ  mặt nạ ngủ  Mặt nạ môi mặt nạ bùn mặt nạ kem mặt nạ bột mặt nạ tẩy tế bào chết  mặt nạ đất sét mặt nạ giấy mặt nạ dưỡng mặt nạ đắp mặt  mặt nạ trị mụn
mặt nạ tế bào gốc mặt nạ trị nám tem chống giả  công ty tổ chức sự kiện tổ chức sự kiện
Ku bet ku casino
Sâm tươi hàn quốc trần thạch cao trần thạch cao đẹp

suất ăn công nghiệpcung cấp suất ăn công nghiệp

© 2020 US News. All Rights Reserved.