Important research and site mapping is ongoing, and constant patrolling keeps illegal hunting and logging in check, says Keeper of the Wild Guilbert Olaya in his latest report from Cazaderos Reserve.
We continue to study the phenology of six tree species in the reserve. Doing these studies will help us understand how the climate is influencing the annual pattern and recurrence of annual phenomena of animal and plant life such as budding and flowering and the influence on bird migrations.
Once the data is processed, we will have a better understanding of the dynamics and diversity of the dry forest, which will provide vital information for our work and may well be used in a future publication.
Cattle in reserves present a real problem as they destroy much of the forest floor and damage lower branches. In agreement with neighbouring communities we decided to close some areas of the reserve in order to better control the movement of cattle and to make sure that animals belonging to people that are not reserve neighbours do not get into the reserve. Maintaining fences is one of our priority jobs.
As the reserve is relatively new we are still consolidating the area. Taking GPS points, and measuring and mapping areas inside and outside the reserve is very important, particularly when it comes to resolving boundary issues.
Over the past two years we have been lucky to have funding from San Diego Zoo for a project looking at the impact of cattle on forest dynamics. Although the research project has come to an end we are continuing to collect research data according to the project parameters.
In order to control illegal activities such as hunting or tree cutting inside the reserve, we are constantly patrolling. Sometimes we coordinate the patrols with representatives from the Ministry of Environment and from the Environmental Police.
Guilbert is World Land Trust’s (WLT) Keeper of the Wild in Cazaderos Reserve, which is owned and managed by Nature & Culture International, and his employment is funded by Chessington Conservation Fund. Guilbert does not speak English and we are grateful to Pedro Paladines of NCI for providing information in English about his recent activities.