Peperpot () (*) is situated on the right bank of the Suriname River in the Commewijne District (yellow).
The area to be obtained: 700 hectares as a green corridor.
Short report of the working visit 2011
Vijko Lukkien and Pipasi Jeurissen
Together with the participants of the annual (contributors') trip through Suriname and French Guiana (Trésor) we arrive at Pengel Airport Paramaribo on 5 February in the afternoon, when our regular driver of the van remarks: this is the first time you are not arriving in Suriname while it is sunny instead of raining. From the wIntry Netherlands we are arriving in mid-summer with temperatures of 30 to 32 degrees Celsius indeed.
With hindsight this turns out to have been a good omen. For the entire three weeks we spend in Suriname and French Guiana the weather remains fine with the occasional rain and mainly lots of sunshine!
Prior to this trip Dominiek Plouvier, director of the WWF Guianas, had invited us to make ourselves acquainted with a new nature protection scheme in Suriname, Peperpot. The aim is to share our experience and knowledge of the Trésor project and discuss the possibilities of future collaboration.
The next morning at 7 am straight after a breakfast with lots of fried eggs Pipasi and I were picked up by Michael Steeghs of the WWF Suriname to visit the Peperpot Nature Park, at some 30 minutes driving from Paramaribo.
There we were welcomed by Michel Sjak-Shie and Ilonka N. Sjak-Shie, project leader and interim manager of this new project.
Peperpot is an old coffee and cacao plantation, beautifully situated on the Suriname River. After the harvesting of coffee and cacao had ceased in the sixties for economical reasons nature has taken over this beautiful spot. Thus an area with one of the most dense bird populations in Suriname came into being. We are also surprised by the many monkeys we come across during our guided tour.
In Peperpot there is an abundance of bird species:
Only a very small part is now being protected and the intention is to extend this area with another 700 hectares.
Since the park is situated so close to Paramaribo the intention is to develop the school and educational programmes which turned out to be so successful in Trésor and which have contributed to the public support for nature conservation in French Guiana for Peperpot Nature Park as well.
As far as aims are concerned there are many similarities between Trésor and Peperpot to be found which may serve as a basis for further collaboration and thus realise the idea of nature conservation by which Trésor has already been standing some 15 years, elsewhere too.
We agreed on a return visit to the Netherlands this 31 March to further discuss the possibilities to collaborate.
Education especially aimed at the schoolgoing youth in Suriname is one of the main objectives of the Peperpot project.
Photo Stichting Peperpot Natuurpark
Meetings and discussions
We travel on to the French Guiana border where the next morning on Monday we were picked up in St. Laurent by Benoît Vilette (one of our wardens) and his father who is also visiting Trésor.
Late that afternoon Alexandra Mitsiou and Ariane Laport-Bisquit arrive from Paris. Both master students of Utrecht University will be doing fieldwork for the research into carbon storage in the forest in the Tresor Reserve and the adjacent Kaw area for four months. This is part of the Guiana Shield REDD program and a follow-up of last year's research (on the same subject) by Anna Duden and Ineke Roeling. Further background information and the results may be found elsewhere in this issue of Trésor Nieuws.
The next few days were mainly filled with numerous meetings and discussions with various parties en people who are all involved in our project.
I should like to comment on two highlights of these meetings.
Firstly on 8 February there was the signing of the collaboration agreement concerning the afore mentioned research into carbon storage and the carbon cycle. In the agreement, the 'Convention-Cadre' 2011-2014, as part of the REDD (Reduced Emission by (avoided) Deforestation en Degradation) program the French Forestry Commission (ONF), the French Institute CIRAD/ECOFOG for ecological research in tropical forests, WWF France, Utrecht University (including the Copernicus Institute) and the Foundation / Association Trésor commit themselves to execute this research together for four years. An excellent result of the already existing collaboration and a valuable contribution to research to obtain further insight into the role tropical forests play in the regulation of our global climate. And this field research is mainly being financed by our colleagues of the French World Wildlife Fund!
A second highlight occurs later on 21 February, the first assembly of the Advisory Committee (the Comité Consultatif de Gestion) of our Réserve Naturelle Régionale (RNR) Trésor chaired by the vice-president mrs. Hélène Sirder, of the Conseil Régional (the local government of French Guiana).
In the presence of almost 10 organisations for nature preservation French Guiana our chariman of the Association Trésor mr. Olivier Tostain and our keeper mrs. Hélène Guillen given two excellent presentations about the activities and work in 2010 and the plans for 2011, including the presentation of the 2011 budget. Many questions are being answered to the full satisfaction of the chairman and the participating organisations of the assembly. As a result there are no changes to the budget which means that the three salaries of our employees of the Association Trésor are now being paid by the French government based on permanent appointments.
In turn this means that your loyal support over the past years as a contributor now has also been recognized and capitalized by the local government!!
On Thursday 10 February together with our students (Alexandra and Ariane) and our wardens (Ben and Jef) we visit the reserve. It is a beautiful day. When we arrive we are being welcomed by two Macaws flying over rather low. We walk along the nature trail in the Reserve. Many Heliconias are in full bloom, various fruits are lying on the forest floor and once again we are being greatly impressed by the overwhelming beauty of this amazing piece of rain forest.
Two master students research carbon storage in the forest.
Alexandra Mitsiou from Greece (left) and Ariane Laporte-Bisquit from France are both master students biology at Utrecht University.
Supervised by Pita Verweij and Vijko Lukkien and as part of the REDD program they execute research into carbon storage in primary forests of the Kaw area and the Trésor Reserve for four months in 2011.
The Trésor team: Benoît Villette, Hélène Guillen and Jean-François Szpigel.
Action plan 2011
With the arrival of Hélène Guillen as a keeper at the end of 2010 the team of the reserve has been strengthened and reorganized. From now on Benoît and Jean-François, the two foresters, are present in the reserve more often and are able to devote themselves totally to surveillance and the activities concerning environmental education, while Hélène is dealing with coordination, administration, contacts with partners and finances. As a result of this new set-up an action plan has been drawn up for next year. The main activities are:
The CO2 project
In 2010 two students from Utrecht University have done some research in the Trésor reserve into CO2 storage in tropical forests. This work will be continued again by two students, Ariane en Alexandra. An agreement has been signed between all parties involved in the project. Together CIRAD, ONF, WWF, Utrecht University, the Trésor Foundation and the Association Trésor will supply financial and technical means to facilitate this work to be rounded-off well in the long run. The CO2 researches are of the utmost importance to design means to reduce global warming. This is a great opportunity for Trésor to act as a laboratory and play a pioneering part.
Signing the agreement. From left to right, seen in the face: Olivier Tostain, Pipasi Jeurissen, Lilian Blanc (ECOFOG), Stéphan Guitet (ONF), Vijko Lukkien. Seen on their backs Guillen, Ariane Laporte, Alexandra Mitsiou.
Trésor chairing the Conservatoire des Espaces Naturels de Guyane
The Conservatoire des Espaces Naturels de Guyane (CENG) has been founded to unite all managers of protected areas in French Guiana. GEPOG, Groupe d'Etude et de Protection des Oiseaux de Guyane and manager of the National Nature reserve Grand Connétable, has been chairing in 2010. In 2011 the Association will take over. Communication and the exchanging means are part of the activities of the CENG, a young organisation which is still in development.
Information signs along the trail
The signs along the trail giving information about the species to be seen are in very bad condition and will be replaced with the financial support of the Regional Committee of French Guiana, the 'Stichting van het Patrimonium' and the Foundation EDF Diversiterre. There will be signs describing their characteristics (fruit, seed, use, healing power?) of some 150 species. In addition to this information four larger information signs about the ecology of the tropical forest will be placed in the shelters at the entrance and halfway the botanical trail.
This year a second inventory of fish has been planned to complete the one done in 2009. We hope these new surveys will result in fascinating discoveries.
In Trésor a IKA-research will be conducted for the second time to be able to estimate the number of 'huntable' animals in the reserve.
Le suivi de l'abondance des Dendrobates le long du sentier botanique sera aussi complété cette année.
To conclude there is a plan to start some research into the seasonal nature of micro mammals. For three years every three months the team will set out traps for a week. Although the number of catches of these inconspicuous animals is low we hope to make some interesting catches. Relatively little is known about the small mammals (rodents and marsupial rats) of French Guiana and the results of this research will add to our knowledge about their forms and phenomena of life.
Every last Saturday of the month visitors can join the forester on a guided tour in a walk along the botanical trail. During school holidays additional tours are being scheduled.
The guided tours along the botanical trail are a great success. Each month some 15 people participate.
Once again the team of the reserve will also be present at ecological events in French Guiana such as Fréquence Grenouille, the Week of Sustainable Development and the Nature festival.
Thanks to the financial contribution by the Remco Maas Geesteranus Nature Fund animal figures will be made to placed into the pedagogical tree in the carbet. This exhibition will be completed with a game about poison frogs.
Ineke Roeling (r.) and Anna Duden
Carbon measurements in Trésor and surroundings: the results
Anna Duden and Ineke Roeling
The nature reserve of the Trésor Foundation is extremely suitable for all kind of biological research. In 2010 we, Anna Duden and Ineke Reling, students in Ecology and Natural Resource Management, were allowed to do a three-month's research into carbon storage in the tropical forest in and around the Trésor reserve. You could read about our experiences in Trésor News 32 (October 2010) and now we would like to inform you of the results of our research, which was supervised by Vikko Lukkien (Biology Department) and Pita Verwey (Copernicus Institute).
Why carbon research?
Romain Taravella marks a tree
Ineke and Anna in action
We did not measure this tree
The beginning of a forest giant
Photos: Anna Duden, Ineke Roeling and Romain Taravella
It is estimated that 12 to 20% of the annual worldwide carbon emission is caused by logging and degradation of tropical forests. Repressing these can consequently yield an enormous decrease of the annual CO2 emission, which is also the idea behind REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation): forest owners and managers receive money from CO2 polluters (rich countries, big companies) to reduce or avoid damage to their forest and thus avoid CO2 emission. The money is a compensation for missed profits from logging or agriculture. Accurate carbon measurements are essential for rendering REDD successful: after all, the net amount of retained carbon determines the height of the amount of money received. It is also important to know whether the aims of worldwide and national emission reduction are achieved.
How do you measure carbon?
Scientific research has shown that 50% of the biomass of tropical trees consists of carbon. This research was aimed at determining the aboveground weight of the individual trees. The weight of a tree can simply be calculated with a mathematical formula, where you fill in the diameter of the tree (measured at 1.30 metres from the ground). The outcome is the weight of the tree. There are several mathematical formulas: the more precise ones do not only ask for the diameter, but also for the height of the tree and/or the species specific wood density.
Our research aimed at answering several questions: What is the influence of human action (presence of a road through the forest, commercial logging, nature conservation) on the supply of carbon storage in a forest? What is the effect of the different (accurate and inaccurate) mathematical formulas on the outcome of the research?
To be able to answer these question we measured four transects in the Trésor reserve and the nearby forest of ONF (the French State Forestry). One transect is a straight line of almost 200 meters. On either sides of that line are, alternately, ten small rectangles of 0.05 hectare each. Of all trees in the transects, live and dead, with a diameter of more than 2.5 centimetres, we measured diameter and height (more than 6000 trees in total). The diameter was measured with a tape measure around the trunk, the height with a special laser gun. One advantage of laying out transects is that the measured part of the forest is spread across a large area hereby including a more natural variation in the research.
The calculations show that several mathematical formulas do indeed give a (significantly) different weight of a tree. Out of the six formulas that we tested, there were only two that resulted in the same weight. We chose to do all the calculations with a formula that used both the DBH (diameter at breast height) and the height, as this formula is based on several parameters and therefore is more reliable. For many species the wood density was unknown.
There is a clear difference in structure between timbered and non-timbered forest: there are more - but shorter and thinner - trees in the timbered area, whereas there are less - but taller and thicker - trees in the non-timbered area. The fact that the timbered area in the forest has more but smaller trees is probably to compensate for the logging of 20 years ago: there is no significant difference in carbon storage between timbered and non-timbered forest. Significant differences might, however, be found in the future when more data of more transects become available.
The impact of the road seemed to be less great than expected. Walking into the forest along a straight line you will find that after 30 metres the total amount of carbon is already comparable with the amount of carbon in undisturbed (protected) forest. On the other hand, the amount of carbon in big trees with a circumference of 70 cm or bigger, is not restored to the level of undisturbed forest until after 75 metres. We do not yet know the exact reason for this.
How to proceed?
Our research lasted only three months and was mainly aimed at carbon. During those three months we could only perform restricted measurements. Therefore, additional information is needed to underpin our findings. It is quite imaginable that logging and the presence of a road are in fact of great influence on other factors that are important for the forest, for example its bio diversity. That is why more research is necessary. This research was only the beginning of a long-term project and at this moment students Ariane LaPorte-Bisquit and Alexandra Mitsiou are already continuing the project.
Many organisations supported us during our research. Hereby we would like to thank them (once more): the employees of Association Trésor, the Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, WWF French Guiana, the ONF (State Forestry) and our institute for research ECOFOG.
We further thank the foundation of the Van Eeden Fund, the K.F.Hein Fund, the FONA foundation and the Miquel Fund for their financial support for this research. We thank all organisations for confiding in us and we hope that our results will contribute to further development of REDD initiatives.
Messages from the rainforest
First meeting of the management advisory committee
The first meeting of the management advisory committee, presided by Mrs Hélène Sirder, took place on last 21 February. Olivier Tostain, chairman of the Association Trésor, and Hélène Guillen, the conservator, presented to the reserve the 2008-2012 management plan and the planning for 2011.
From left to right: Matthieu Entraygues, Conservatoire du Littoral, Pascal Gombauld and Laurent Garnier, Regional Nature Park.
From left to right: Laurent Kelle, W.W.F; Léon Razafindrakoto, conservator of the Kaw reserve and Nyls de Pracontal, GEPOG.
From left to right: Hélène Guillen, conservator of the Trésor Reserve, Hélène Sirder, chairwoman of the management committee, Vijko Lukkien and Pipasi Jeurissen from the Trésor Foundation.
The contributor's trip 2011
This year 28 donateurs of Trésor Fondation visited French Guiana. It was a perfect trip, be it a bit rainy. Beaches of Awala Yalipamo, Iles du Salut, Kaw marshes, the trail of Rorota... and of course Trésor, a busy program!!
Sloths on the Rorota trail.
On the Kaw marsh.
A 'totem' at the educational trail of Trésor.
A prince in Trésor!!
On 10 March Trésor was honoured with a visit by Royal Highness prince consort Henrick, chairman of WWF-Denmark. The prince and some 20 donors of WWF-Denmark spent a week in French Guiana to be informed on the work of the local WWF. After having visited the Amana reserve and the Iles du Salut, they got acquainted with the tropical forest on the botanic trail of Trésor in the pouring rain and guided by the team of the reserve. The prince was thrilled with the Boa constrictor we had caught the day before and also with a giant female Cane toad (Rhinella Marina) we encountered on the trail.
The prince and the Cane toad
Sous la pluie, le prince et les donateurs ont découvert le sentier botanique et les trésors de la réserve.
From left to right: Hélène Guillen, conservator of the Trésor Reserve; Laurent Razafindrakoto, conservator of the Kaw reserve; Justin Anatole, mayor of Régina and chairman of AGEP: Jean François Szpigel, forester of Trésor; Laurent Kelle, managing director of WWF-French Guiana; Royal Highness the prince consort Henrick; Olivier Tostain, chairman of theAssociation Trésor; Benoît Villette, forester in Trésor; Romain Taravella, WWF-French Guiana; Luciane Aliker, RNF.
The exhibition in the carbet is finished!
The exhibition project, financed by the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, was finished at the beginning of this year. The eight boards are set up in the carbet. The totem poles along the trail have been reproduced on canvas and can now be transported to be used during lectures in class or with mobile exhibitions.
Information boards, animal pictures, exhibition of seeds and pedagogical tree belong to the equipment of the museum of the carbet, which is replenished every year.
The Black manakin in Trésor, unique for French-Guiana
Photo Olivier Tostain
Manakins form a group of small generally occuring bird species in the undergrowth of the rainforests of South America.
Most male species from this group are usually remarkably coloured with the most fantastic colour combinations and patterns, while the females with an inconspiciuous greenish-grey feather suit are literally hidden in the green of the forest.
During the mating season the males put their colours into action to seduce a female. This they do together with other males of the same species at a more or less fixed place ('leak') in the forest. Here they are busy distinguishing themselves from rivals by 'dancing' on the branches to show their colourful outfit to the females thereby using the sunbeams as spotlights.
In the Trésor reserve occur eight of the ten Manakin species which have been observed in French-Guiana(!), including the until now fairly unknown Black manakin (Xenopipo atronitens).
This species is found in the dense undergrowth of the Amazon area, especially at places which border on open savannas.
This unique combination of biotopes is also found in the Trésor reserve.
Earlier the expectation was expressed that the so far unobserved Black manakin in French-Guyana might occur in our reserve. Some years ago the bird-watcher Tanguy Deville mentioned the occurrence of a Black manakin in the savanna area of Trésor. However, this observation could not be confirmed. Until May 2009 no more observations were reported of this species.
This month under the supervision of Kévin Pineau (our former forester) a few nets were put out in the reserve at the border of forest and savanna to try and get a confirmation of the occurrence of this unique species in Trésor.
And indeed Kévin succeeded to catch, describe and ring an adult male of the Black manakin. With this catch in the Trésor reserve the Black manakin was registered and scientifically recorded for French-Guyana for the first time!!
In the weekend of 16-17 October 2010 a team was put together again to further research the occcurrence of the Black manakin and other bird species in the savanna area of Trésor.
Under the supervision of Kévin and together with Benoît Vilette (one of our current foresters) and two specialists (Thomas Luglia and Jean-Luc Sibille) of GEPOC (Groupe d'Etude et de Protection des Oiseaux de Guyane) ten nets were set in the area.
Dix filets ont été étendus autour de la zone où les manakins avaient été vus ou capturés.
The result was in many ways sensational. In total three adult males of the Black manakin were observed, of which two were caught. The third specimen was observed in a group of small palms (Bactris campestris) which are so characteristic for the savannas in Trésor.
With this it must be said that one of the two caught specimens was ringed on about exactly the same place by Kévin before in 2009.
With these observations and catches the Trésor reserve belongs to the only place in French-Guyana where the occurrence of the Black manakin has been confirmed until now.
Of the species very little is known, for instance we know nothing of its food and nesting behaviour and if this species migrates to other places in the course of the year.
The unique of the Trésor reserve in French-Guyana is certainly specially emphasized with the occurrence of the Black manakin.
Photo Eric Augusteijn
Vijko Lukkien: 'I am glad that I have made so many people enthousiastic for Trésor'
Interview by Eric Augusteijn
Vijko Lukkien was born in Groningen in 1949, spent his youth in Zoutkamp and spent a great deal of time with his family on the island Schiermonnikoog. He was a nature child, was outdoors a lot and listened mesmerized to the radio lectures of dr. Fop I. Brouwer on Sunday morning, called 'Wat leeft en groeit en ons altijd weer boeit' (what lives and grows and always interests us). Vijko already knew for sure at seven that he wanted to study biology. Biology or something with gardens.
When Vijko has something in his mind, that happens. After secondary school he went to study at the Horticultural college in Utrecht and when he finished that, he studied biology at the University of the same city. That university became his home. After his graduation he could start working there as a student-assistent in the Botanical gardens, a few years later he was director there. That lasted until 1998. After that he became a lecturer. Nowadays he teaches General botany and Biodiversity and soon he starts a new course in Nature management, Botanical diversity and Endurance. Besides this he is initiator and project leader of the Trésor project and coordinates and supports the research of masterstudents in the area.
Vijko lives with his wife Pipasi partly on Schiermonnikoog, where he obtained a house from the family-legacy and partly in Utrecht. For the interview he came especially to me on Schiermonnikoog. It isn't easy to have Vijko tell something about himself. After a few questions it is only about his big love (besides Pipasi): Trésor. And the story of Trésor is also the real story of Vijko Lukkien.
Vijko: 'In the period when I was director of the Gardens -in 1992- the idea for Trésor arose. I was working in an European network of botanical gardens under the flag of Botanic Gardens Conservation International in Londen, on the question: "How can knowledge centre like the gardens be deployed worldwide for the protection of endangered plant species?" Within this framework I took part in a large congress in Rio de Janeiro, a year after the large conference there on biodiversity.'
'At that time I made a journey to the Pantanal, the nature area on the other side of Brazil, and there the thought arose that we should do more for the conservation of the tropical rainforest. Back in the Netherlands I asked the Board of Governors from the University whether they wanted to host a number of "American breakfasts" in the tropical greenhouse with a number of company managers and motivate these managers to make an attempt, together with the Herbarium and the Botanical Gardens of the University, to stop the loss of ecosystems and thereby plant- and animal species, especially in tropical South-America, the area where the Utrecht Herbarium is specialised in.
Inspired by a project I had seen on Réunion, where a French botanical garden had started a satellite garden, where endangered plant species were cultivated to be placed back in nature and thereby restore affected forests, it kept running through my mind to start something similar in South-America. Through the American breakfasts I came into contact with Frans de Ruiter, at that time the director of NV Energy production company UNA, who knew how to win over companies to take a chance with these kind of projects. Then Aart de Lang, communication employee of Biohorma bv, from the dr Vogel products, contacted me: Biohorma uses plants but wants to do something in return and lend support to the conservation of plants.'
'From Hans Pfeiffer, who was chairman of the Foundation Friends of the Botanical Gardens of the University of Utrecht at that time, I heard about a certain Joep Moonen, owner of ecocentre Emerald Jungle in French-Guyana, who had been walking around for two years now with the plan to buy a large terrain in the Kaw area of the RK church there to manage it as a nature area.
With that the basis ingredients were complete and for one of the breakfasts I invited Joep Moonen to illustrate his project.
Frans de Ruiter really knew how to mobilize money from company life by placing a hundred thousand guilders at our disposal and then spread the word. Biohorma came across with yearly a hundred thousand guilders for five years and the Board of Governors from the University acted as guarantor for the loan for the rest of the amount, in total 1,6 million guilders.
The deal was closed, the Trésor Foundation was founded and in my youthful enthousiasm I had the Board of Governors phone Ed Nijpels (a former Dutch minister) with the question whether he would want to become the first chairman, what he indeed became.'
The first contributors
'The first thing we did, was apply for the status of Réserve Naturelle Volontaire for the area and exemption from land tax in France. We succeeded without problems.
Frans de Ruiter arranged that I was invited for giving a lecture at the opening of the Diemen Centrale, where he offered ten square metre Trésor to all guests, among whom prince Willem Alexander. That was the start of our contributors group which has been growing ever since and has supported us for years in a matchless way.
Until now I have been exempted from other university tasks by the board of Governors for the work on Trésor for one day in the week and therefore I could still hold the project leadership and the secretary of the board. In French-Guyana we founded the Association Trésor to have an organisation on site. Joep Moonen became our first keeper, later followed by Olivier Tostain and now Hélène Guillen. All the work there started on a voluntary basis, but since the adjudgement, recently, of the status of Réserve Naturelle Régionale, the local French government, the Conseil Régional, also became a partner in the project and now we have three paid employees, who are paid by the French government.'
I did not do it alone
'Maybe it seems that I did it all alone and as if it is all about me, but I want to emphasize that all of that would not have been possible when I hadn't been supported for practically every day the last eight years by Pipasi, who gave up her job to work as a volunteer on Trésor. Without that combination it would not have gone the same way with Trésor as it is now. I consider myself fortunate that I have made many people enthousiastic, the many contributors, the translators, the webmaster, the board of the biology society. I mainly have a coordinating role, prepare meetings, accompany the contributors' journey and make work visits in French-Guyana. Those last two activities we link, which is a considerable money-saver. That is characteristic for Trésor, each euro goes to Trésor and that is possible not only because the University pays me, but also bears the costs for printing and sending off Trésor News. That isn't a small contribution for a University which had to reduce expenses for years now.'
You have been working on the project for more than 15 years now, will you always continue with Trésor?
Vijko: 'Such a question I really find very tricky. Trésor is like a child to me; you never let go completely, only the relation itself is obviously liable to change, certainly when my pension is on the horizon in some years time.