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number 32, October 2010 (extract)


Camera traps in Trésor

Sébastien Barrioz and Jean-François Szpigel

Last year camera traps were used to research the occurrence of mammals in our reserve, especially the big ones, with emphasis on the presence of the jaguar. Besides the jaguar, several other interesting discoveries were made. This programme is being financed by French Guiana and Europe, on the initiative of WWF together with the Kwata organisation functioning as co-ordinator.

Lowland Tapir or South American Tapir
(Tapirus terrestris)

Ocelot or Leopardus (Felis pardalis)

Black Curassow (Crax alector)

Collared Peccary (Tayassu tajacu)

White-eared Opossum (Didelphis imperfecta)
Programme d'étude SPECIES 2009
This project is performed in cooperation with Sébastien Barrioz from Kwata, an organisation that aims to do supportive research for the benefit of preservation of nature in the Kaw area where the Trésor reserve is located. This implies that the Kaw area is selected as research area for the SPECIES programme (Suivi des Populations des Espèces Charismatiques d'Intérêt Ecologique et Scientifique). The camera traps project is part of this programme.

Method of research
In this follow-up research that mainly aimed at studying the Jaguar (Panthere onca), fifteen camera traps (cameras that automatically take a picture when an animal passes) were once again set up according to the same method as explained in the report of the first research, an account of which was placed in Trésor News 30.

It would have been a pity to leave out the other species that were photographed during this research, so we asked Kwata permission to re-view all the data they collected as well as the best photographs taken in the reserve. We thank them for their permission which enabled us to learn a bit more about life in the reserve and to show you some beautiful pictures of nature in this issue of Trésor News.

The results
During this research with camera traps twenty-nine animal species were identified, twenty of which were photographed in the Trésor Reserve. These results cannot yet be used to determine population density or to catalogue 'daily movement' of animals, but only to determine presence or absence of certain species. These last data presented a number of surprises.

The big news is that two species, not yet observed in the reserve, have now been snapped by the cameras: the Crab-eating Raccoon (Procyon cancrivorus) and the Opossum Didelphis imperfecta. It is important to note that the location of the traps (the river bank) most certainly influenced the recording of the Crab-eating Raccoon, although this species is more and more often seen deeper in the forest. As far as the Didelphis imperfecta is concerned, it is really surprising that all data about this species have only been collected in the Trésor Reserve (three observations for two individuals). In total there are 47 non-flying mammals known in our reserve.

There is a preference for the Trésor Reserve
Certain species are more often observed in the Trésor Reserve than in the Kaw area outside the reserve, e.g. the Tapir (Tapirus terrestris), but we need to remark that a trap set up in the swamp forest highly influenced the numbers found. The Tapir is more frequently found in the neighbourhood of water and we didn't set up a camera trap in a similar biotope outside our reserve.

Within the scope of this research it was most interesting to determine how the number of Jaguars in the reserve relates to the number in the entire research area. The average of the observations of Jaguars in the Trésor Reserve almost doubles the total of observations of all other traps in the Kaw area. The frequent presence of the Brown Four-eyed Opossum (Metachirus nudicaudatus) is also remarkable, as it is generally supposed that this species, which lives exclusively on the forest floor, is less frequently found than the Gray Four-eyed Opossum (Philander opossum), which lives particularly in trees.

Secret guests
This research with camera traps also enabled the determination of a number of species not determined before in a comparable research. It is interesting to note that a big gallinaceous bird, the Black Curassow (Crax alector), which wasn't found during the last IKA (Indices Kilométrique d'Abondance) research in 2009 into species that are frequently hunted, could be recorded with the camera traps. Also, the Green acouchy (Myoprocta acouchy), a small rodent related to the Brazilian agouti, seems to be well represented in our reserve, whereas little observations of this species were reported from the same 2009 IKA research.

Ideas for further research
This research with camera traps performed by Kwata has, again, extended the list of species of mammals that can be found in our Trésor reserve. It also gave us ideas for research in the years to come. A research for example inside the reserve with cameras placed closer to each other might teach us something about the density of occurring species of mammals and whether the observed numbers are season related or not. We could also focus on researching certain biotopes such as Zwanipoel, to find out more about the area itself and perhaps demonstrate what the frequency and/or specific periodicity of appearance of certain mammals is, and the like. In any way, the acquisition of camera traps by the Association of Nature Reserve Trésor would be very interesting.


Research into species of small mammals in Trésor

Jean-François Szpigel

Micoureus demerarea

Marmosops sp. (Opossum)
Last June we re-investigated the occurrence of small mammals in the reserve. This research was directed by the specialist in this field, Mr François Catzeflis, director of scientific research of the CNRS and connected with the Institute of Evolutionary Sciences and with the University of Montpellier.

The reason for this research
Paris students from the Timarcha Society had already carried out previous research, but some identifications (cataloguing with the correct generic name) were not complete. Therefore, this research aimed at complementing the former inventory. Despite our efforts, the research yielded less than we had hoped for; nature knows very well how to guard her secrets!

How to catch small mammals in the rainforest
Research was carried out in the second half of June 2010 and a combination of common capture methods was applied.
  • Firstly, several types of big and small rat traps were placed. From 14 to 23 June two rows of traps were set up in 15 to 30 locations along the botanical trail,with an average distance of 15 metres in between them. Another two rows were in operation in the STOC field (the area in the reserve where earlier research through the ringing of birds took place). In each location there were two cages on the floor (one type Sherman of 23x9x8 cm and one type Bttm of 33x11x10 cm) and close by one cage type Bttm on a tree trunk, a branch or a liana, on a height between 0.5 and 1.5 metres. Besides these traps that were placed according to the standard procedure, there were another five Tomahawk traps (64x24x24 cm).
  • Secondly, a row of pitfalls was set out. This is a permanent set-up, with an enclosure of canvas of about 100 metres.
    Especially during the night, the animals are stopped by these rows of traps and then the canvas enclosure directs them to e.g. the trap hole, which is dug in the ground and where they then fall in. A total of eleven holes were set apart at a distance of approximately ten metres. Of course the captured animals were set free once they had been categorized and,in some cases, blood samples were taken for virological research.

Benoît Villette setting up a Tomahawk trap
François Catzeflis inspecting the pitfalls.

The results of the research
In the traps (rat traps, Sherman, Tomahawk) a total of five Opossums were captured: four Didelphis marsupialis (Southern opossum) and one Micoureus demerarae, as well as two Spiny-rats, Proechimus cuvieri. We have to remark that less animals than expected were captured during this research and we experienced the same in a similar kind of research in other places in French Guiana.
Lack of food during the time of research might be a reason. Attracted by ripe fruit for instance, many animals move into the forest, from one place to another, and temporarily remain in those places where food is available.

Proechimys cuvieri

Continuation of this research
Now that we have this new setup for research in the reserve, we are certainly going to carry out further additional research to learn more about the occurrence of small species of mammals. This can be done by us, the foresters, and we are planning to perform every three months week-long captures, for a period of three years starting in 2011. The traps will be borrowed from KWATA who, in return, may take blood samples of the captured animals for virological research. The row of pitfalls will then be re-activated and all captured animals will be registered (arthropods, amphibians and reptiles, and small non-flying mammals).


Discovery of new plants in Trésor

Olivier Tostain

This summer botanical research was conducted in the up to now least known biotopes of the reserve. This research is led by the Dutch botanist R. (Renske) Ek and is financed by DIREN (a regional organ of the French Ministry of Ecology and Permanent development).
A mixed team, consisting of both our foresters Ben and Jef, Olivier Tostain and assisted by Tanguy Deville (a skillful tree climber), Vincent Pelletier and Guillaume Léotard has gone into the fields several times in June, August and September to make a botanical inventory in the bank forests along the river the Orapu (the south and west border of the reserve) and on the isolated hills in the savanna area of Trésor.

Olivier Tostain reports on this:
Our aim was to make an inventory of plants in the swamp forest and the rocky bank of the Orapu river and also on the two most important isolated hills, which rise from the savannas, halfway between the foot of the Montagne de Kaw and the Orapu river. It is assumed that those hills lie on a small, special geological undersoil, a sort of sandstone, created through time and erosion. We did not find any confirmation of this in the field (we should work on that in the future), but we made some interesting finds, even though there was very few flowering material in the undergrowth.

Paypayrola sp.

Hetereotaxis villosa
Along the river Orapu we found some rare plants, some of them are new for the reserve and also not really well-known in French-Guyana, even apart from the discovery of four bromelia-varieties, which had not been found earlier within the borders of the reserve, of which one is endemic for French-Guyana.

In the forest on the isolated hills was an open space, created by fallen trees. An orchid species, that was reported before from the Saûl area, in the middle of French-Guyana, took advantage of this. This discovery confirms that this plant is no hybride of questionable origin (as was assumed before by specialists); we are confinced that we are dealing with a new species of the orchid family Heterotaxis.

Because this new species also occurs in Saûl, it is likely widely spread in French-Guyana, but clearly rare. We also found another Heterotaxis, which had not been seen before in the reserve, H. villosa.

Yet another discovery confirms that Trésor accommodates great richness: on one of the isolated hills we were so fortunate to find a small population (less than ten specimens on a quarter hectare) of a small tree, with flowers which directly develop from butts on the stem and from older branches (this phenomenon is called Cauliflorie). This tree appeared to be (once again) a new species for science, a species of the plant family Paypayrola, a representative of the family of the Violaceae. This has been confirmed by the Violaceae-specialist, who lives in Venezuela. So there is a new Paypayrola in Trésor (herbarium number OT-4626)!
Botanical research in the Trésor reserve remains really necessary, for it is certain that in these biotopes there is still much to be discovered.


Michiel Standaert is a biology student
at Utrecht University who wrote a
thesis on this subject for Trésor and
also this summary for Trésor News.

REDD as resort?

Michiel Standaert   

The key role of tropical forests in climate policy
Tropical forests form an essential link in the worldwide carbon cycle. They cover only 7% of the earth's surface, but contain relatively much carbon and absorb net CO2. Cutting down tropical forests for the benefit of agriculture and the winning of wood causes large quantities of carbon to end up in the atmosphere. Estamations indicate that 12 to 20% of the worldwide carbon emission as a result of human activities is caused by the destruction and thinning of tropical forest.

Protection of tropical forests can secure the carbon storage and thereby cut back the emission of CO2 for a great part. Carbon storage can be seen as an ecological service: a service which is provided by an ecosystem and of importance to humankind. It is not unusual that those who make an ecological service necessary, also have to pay for the preservation of this service. That is: the polluting industrial countries will have to bear the costs for the preservation of tropical forests as carbon reservoir.

REDD is the concept for a set of policy measures which must make the protection of tropical forests possible. REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. The principal is as follows: the landowners of tropical forests, usually situated in developing countries, make an effort to conserve their forests. The income of agriculture or winning of wood that they miss out on by this, is compensated by the international community.

Extensive inventory of tropical forests worldwide is necessary to map where protection is a sore need. The forests with the largest carbon density will have to be secured first. In addition, the carbon density determines the volume of the compensation the landowner receives. The compensation is also depending on the risk that the forest concerned is cut down. So if the landowner chooses carbon storage above other functions, than the financial compensation through REDD has to be larger than the income which he could have had from agriculture or timber cut. REDD will have to compete with other possible forms of land use and constantly has to be tuned to the local market.

For raising the financial means for the REDD-compensations a task seems to be in store for the market. Emission standards for companies must be determined and if necessary be forced up. Certificates for CO2-storage by REDD are then sold on an international market. Through the purchase of certificates, companies can contribute to the conservation of tropical forests, and thereby compensate their own CO2-emission. The raising of money for a REDD-fund is one thing. At least as complex is the task to make sure that the raised financial means end up with the people who have to make a living out of it, and not linger in bureaucratical systems. The often limited institutional capacity of developing countries makes strict supervision on the supply of money necessary. So control and harmony within the international community are essential for the success of REDD.

Estamations of the actual costs of REDD vary, even though there is consensus that REDD is a relatively cheap CO2-reduction measure. But it still is a substantial investment in the short term. The advantages of REDD in the long term, also financially, are nevertheless so great, that investing now is worth the effort. The international negotiations on REDD are well under way. That concrete policy agreements are still a long time coming is not surprising, considering the complexity of the matter. The discussion round REDD is about more than climate alone. The discussion is also about the balance of power in the world, the division of poverty and wealth and justice. This, rounded up with the many technical and organisational obstacles, makes the realisation of a REDD-program an incredible challenge. A challenge which we must take up, because there is more at stake than a couple of trees.


Messages from the rain forest

New agreement with WWF

The chairman of the Association Trésor Olivier
Tostain and Laurent Kelle of the WWF sign before
raising their glasses to friendship.
In May 2010 Association Trésor has entered into a new agreement with the WWF to support three new main aims in the policies of the RNR Trésor.
The first basic idea concerns research related to climate changes and its consequences. The first contribution to this research has been executed by two master's students from Utrecht University, Ineke Roeling and Anna Duden, supported by the wardens (you will find a first report on this project elsewhere). The second aim concerns a project to contribute to the initiation of a constructive dialogue between the reserve, its users and the surrounding people. Human pressure and its impact on the reserve on the one hand and participation of those interested in the policies of the reserve on the other hand will be mapped out. In this case the aim is to develop means of communication together with and for the various parties involved with the RNR Trésor. Local government has been closely involved in this project. The third basic idea consists of publishing an informative brochure on A4 for the public at the same format used for all nature reserves in France.

New information program:

Jean-Jacques de Granville points out plants in the
The national nature reserve Mont-Grand-Matoury and the RNR Trésor have decided to jointly offer an extensive nature program. For this they have approached several experts to conduct guided walks in their reserves. Here the following topics will be available: palm trees and plants in the undergrowth with J-J. de Granville, ferns with mr. Boudrie, insects with J-P. Champenois, birds with S. Maillé. Shortly this program will be extended with two more topical walks. These will be offered by the Zoukounyanyan firm, which approaches the biodiversity of the forest from an entirely different perspective: their starting point are the animals in fairy tales from French Guiana. The entire operation has been executed with the support of the united Nature Reserves France, the French Ministry of Ecology and the Fondation EDF Diversiterre. After every walk summaries on paper will be handed out.


Three months of traineeship in Trésor

Ineke Roeling and Anna Duden

One of the aims of the Trésor Foundation is 'to stimulate and support scientific research into biodiversity and dynamic processes on the level of vegetation within the reserve'. Thus Trésor is the subject of many scientific researches by scientific institutions from various countries. We were honoured to be able to execute scientific research within and around the reserve in French Guiana too. We are Ineke Roeling and Anna Duden, master students Ecology & Natural Resource Management at Utrecht University. For the final research of our studies we did six months of research into the storage of carbon dioxide within and around Trésor. Of this period we spent three months in French Guiana. Here Ineke was concentrating on a reliable means to measure the storage of carbon dioxide: what size should a research area be to be able to collect accurate and cost effective data on carbon dioxide in a specific area? Anna focused on the effect of certain policy choices in the area concerning the storage of carbon dioxide. For example: in which degree may the storage of carbon dioxide in an area in which selective felling has taken place some 20 years ago be compared to the storage of carbon dioxide in an untouched area?

Anna while measuring the diameter
of a tree in the middle of the plot.
The exact height at which the diameter has been measured is then marked
with orange paint, enabling future researchers to measure the growth
of the diameter.

Romain Taravella of the WWF French Guiana applies a unique
label to a tree which has been measured so it may be found
again for future researches. The orange paint indicates where exactly the diameter of this tree has been measured.

Ineke is measuring the height of a tree
with a 'hypso meter', a laser pistol
which determines the distance and
angle of the eye to the highest point
of the canopy and thus calculates the exact height of the tree.

First two weeks
On 14 May together with our supervisor Vijko Lukkien we arrived at Rochambeau airport. During the first two weeks Vijko accompanied us in French Guiana to introduce us and our research to almost all organisations involved. The discussions we had over this period were all very positive. The Association Trésor has supported us in all practical matters involving our stay. In the first weeks we met with the WWF. This has led to a contract for several years to collaborate on REDD, for which our project will be a pilot study. The ONF (French Forrestry Commission) turned out to be most willing to support us too. We were promised permission to execute part of our research in felling plots managed by the ONF. One plot has even been excluded from future felling altogether to safeguard our research over the coming years as well. ECOFOG, a renowned research organisation in Kourou, which has great expertise concerning the storage of carbon dioxide, has examined our field methods and based on their experience offered an adapted method: the transect method. During our meetings with the local partner organisations we particularly noticed great enthusiasm for nature conservation and a desire to become involved in our project. There was also a very positive reaction to collaboration with future students from Utrecht University.

Ineke with a lizard which we encountered during
our field work.

Anna with the smallest possum
caught during the research of
prof. François Catzeflis, who researched small mammals in
Trésor during our stay.

Ineke while cooking in the luxurious kitchen
of the carbet.

The research itself
After having acquired sufficient support of the relevant organisations in French Guiana for our research we could start with the hard labour: collecting field data. At the time together with wardens Jef Szpigel and Ben Villette we stayed at the Trésor carbet which has been equipped with cooking facilities and where we slept very comfortably in hammocks. An example of a day in the field: a quick 'shower' (cold water from a bucket),followed by a substantial Dutch breakfast (bread with peanut butter). During breakfast on the veranda in front of de carbet we sometimes saw macaws flying overhead. This was great to see. Next we would check our measuring equipment and then set out to the research area. This area was shaped like a transect; a line of almost 200 meters straight across the forest, with on both sides ten small plots of 0,05 ha. Within these plots we measured all trees with a diameter starting at 2,5 cm. During the field work everyone had his own task: the diameter was measured with a measuring tape, the height with a special laser pistol, the large trees were labelled with a unique number so they can be measured aging in future studies and finally of course everything was notated. We thus worked an entire day in the forest and for instance saw a Theraphosa leblondi (the world's biggest spider) passing by, or Tamarins (small black monkeys) jumping from tree to tree.

Altogether we laid out four transects and measured over 5,000 trees. We have now reached the next part of our research: processing the data and writing our research report. We have been back in The Netherlands now for three weeks. And during breakfast watching pigeons flying over instead of macaws we fondly remember the great time we spent among the natural beauty and adventure which Trésor offers.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Association Trésor and the Université des Antilles et de la Guyane for their hospitality and practical support during our stay. Also many thanks to the WWF French Guiana, which financial support and advice have enabled this project, the ONF, which cooperation and knowledge of the area concerned has been indispensable for the execution of collecting the field data and ECOFOG, which expertise has enhanced the quality of this research. Furthermore we thank the foundation of the Van Eeden-fonds, the K.F. Hein Fonds, Stichting FONA and the Miquel Fonds for their financial support of this research. Finally we would like to thank Ben and Jef personally, they have not just worked very hard with us to finalize our research well, but they have also supplied us with lots of sociability and gave us a marvellous stay in French Guiana.

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