WCS Brazil

WCS Brazil

Because of its size and diversity of environments, Brazil is probably the most biologically diverse country in the world, with millions of species, natural wonders, and unique landscapes.  The 6 major biomes of Brazil are incredibly distinct, and include the Pantanal, the world’s largest freshwater wetland; the Amazon, the world´s largest river basin, largest tropical forest and most pristine wild place on the planet; the Cerrado, a unique type of savanna; the semi-arid Caatinga where Spix’s macaws once abounded; the endangered Atlantic Forest,home to the largest New World monkey, the endemic muriqui; and the Pampas,highly productive grasslands that have been almost entirely converted to human use.  These biomes shelter some of the world´s most iconic species, such as jaguars,peccaries, the world´s largest freshwater turtle, the giant air-breathing fish pirarucu, caimans, anacondas, macaws, the striking uakari monkey (photo below), sloths, giant river otters, and giant anteaters.The list goes on and on (see the Wikipedia site Wildlife of Brazil for a nice description).  This richness of wildlife and landscapes is an important basis for human livelihoods and a rich socio-cultural diversity that has developed in these Biomes over millennia and depends on healthy ecosystems.

All around the world, societies are trying to find ways improve the peoples’ livelihoods and quality of life,and many people including conservationists are trying to find ways to accomplish this development sustainability- without causing irreversible harm to ecosystems or extinction of species. Unfortunately, we have few success stories and progress is not happening fast enough to stem predatory use of natural resources.  Brazil is not an exception.  Its amazing biodiversity is in peril, with large tracts of land being deforested, species being harvested or collected at unsustainable rates, and large infrastructure projects threaten to disrupt our valuable aquatic ecosystems.  WCS-Brasil´s mission, like that of WCS around the globe, is simply to “Save Wildlife and Wild Places” by addressing these challenges of sustainable development and conservation with strong science and effective actions. 

WCS has a long history of saving wildlife in Brazil (nearly 40 years) and across the world (over 100 years!).  Currently, WCS Brazil focuses its efforts on conserving two major biomes that are unique for their complex mosaic of forests, wetlands, waters, and of course, wildlife: the Pantanal and the Amazon, through the Amazon Waters initiative.

We also focus on conserving some key species, including jaguars, peccaries, migratory fish and freshwater turtles.  To achieve success in conserving these landscapes and species, we do what is most needed in particular context, from developing sustainable ranching programs and researching peccary movements in the Pantanal to developing fisheries and turtles management  systems and estimating jaguar populations in the Amazon. 

WCS-Brasil exists to ensure that the people of Brazil and the world don´t lose any of the country’s natural treasures, and that these treasures continue to benefit our future generations by contributing to local livelihoods and cultures, producing key ecosystem services like clean water, and inspiring our imagination.

Publications

Projeto Caatinga Potiguar - Cartograma
A Caatinga é extremamente rica em espécies vegetais e animais, sendo que esta biodiversidade tem sido utilizada pela população humana há milhares de anos. Se por um lado cerca de 50% da área da Caatinga já foi desmatada, nos 50% restante ainda existem inúmeras oportunidades de conservação da biodiversidade. O Projeto Caatinga Potiguar, uma cooperação entre a WCS-Brasil, UFRN e IDEMA, visa gerar subsídios ecológicos e sociais para a criação de novas Unidades de Conservação na Caatinga Potiguar. Objetivo Central Promover o estabelecimento de novas Unidades de Conservação na Caatinga potiguar. Objetivos Específicos 1) Selecionar as principais Áreas Prioritárias para criação de novas Unidades de Conservação na Caatinga potiguar. 2) Aumentar o nível de conhecimento sobre a biodiversidade das Áreas Prioritárias através de levantamentos de campo. 3) Compreender como os atores sociais utilizam os recursos providos pela biodiversidade potiguar e como eles responderiam às ações de conservação através de mapeamentos participativos e análises socioecológicas. 4) Promover a divulgação da importância da biodiversidade da Caatinga potiguar e da urgência das ações de conservação para a sua manutenção para gerações futuras. 5) Estabelecer parcerias e estimular a criação de mecanismos inovadores que promovam o estabelecimento de ações de conservação da biodiversidade nas Áreas Prioritárias.
Revista Ciência Pantanal Vol.2
Uma publicação da WCS Brasil, sob coordenação editorial de Carlos Durigan e Alexine Keuroghlian, com edição executiva da jornalista ambiental Liana John. Este é o segundo volume da revista, com tiragem de 3 mil exemplares de distribuição gratuita. A publicação pretende atuar como canal de divulgação do conhecimento científico utilizando uma linguagem acessível à sociedade em geral. Os artigos publicados tem como tema principal a bacia do Alto Paraguai (BAP), com foco no Pantanal; e apresentam resultados de estudos científicos e projetos que ocorrem na Região com objetivo de informar a sociedade, para que essa possa valorizar, respeitar e viver em harmonia com a natureza e, sobretudo, motivar produtores rurais a desenvolver suas atividades em bases sustentáveis.
O que precisamos saber para o Sucesso de um bom Monitoramento. Dicas baseadas nos Padrões Abertos de Conservação.
Para aumentar tanto a quantidade de recursos disponíveis para conservação como a eficiência com que estes recursos são vastos, discutimos neste artigo o que projetos que visam a conservação e o manejo dos recursos naturais deveriam trabalhar para melhorar seus processos de manejo adaptativo, incluindo como planejar suas estratégias, monitorar os efeitos das mesmas e avaliar as relações de custo-efetividade dessas estratégias. Usando como base a abordagem de manejo adaptativo conhecida por Padrões Abertos para a Prática de Conservação, nós sugerimos alguns componentes-chave e ferramentas de planejamento estratégico e monitoramento de projetos, em particular ferramentas de diagramação (modelos conceituais e cadeia de resultados) e a utilidade de medidas prévias e áreas de comparação (p. ex. controles) para o monitoramento da efetividade de estratégias. Para demonstrar a utilidade do manejo adaptativo, nós discutimos dois exemplos atuais de projetos publicados que tenham completado pelo menos um ciclo de manejo adaptativo (planejar, monitorar, avaliar e adaptar). To increase both the amount of conservation resources available and the efficiency with which those resources are spent, we make the case that projects of conservation and natural resources management should work on improving their adaptive processes. This includes how projects plan their strategies, track the effects of those strategies, and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of actions. By using an adaptive management process denominated the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation as a foundation, we suggest some key components and tools for strategic planning and project monitoring, such as diagramming tools (conceptual models and results chain). We also suggest the use of preliminary measures prior to planning and a design employing comparison areas (i.e., control sites) for assessments of strategy effectiveness. To demonstrate the utility of adaptive management, we briefly summarize two previously published examples of actual projects that have completed at least one adaptive management cycle (planning, monitoring, evaluation, and adaptation processes).
Diet Overlap and Foraging Activity between Feral Pigs and Native Peccaries in the Pantanal
Inter-specific competition is considered one of the main selective pressures affecting species distribution and coexistence. Different species vary in the way they forage in order to minimize encounters with their competitors and with their predators. However, it is still poorly known whether and how native species change their foraging behavior in the presence of exotic species, particularly in South America. Here we compare diet overlap of fruits and foraging activity period of two sympatric native ungulates (the white-lipped peccary,Tayassu pecari, and the collared peccary, Pecari tajacu) with the invasive feral pig (Sus scrofa) in the Brazilian Pantanal. We found high diet overlap between white-lipped peccaries and feral pigs, but low overlap between collared peccaries and feral pigs. Furthermore, we found that feral pigs may influence the foraging period of both native peccaries, but in different ways. In the absence of feral pigs, collared peccary activity peaks in the early evening,possibly allowing them to avoid white-lipped peccary activity peaks, which occur in the morning. In the presence of feral pigs, collared peccaries forage mostly in early morning, while white-lipped peccaries forage throughout the day. Our results indicate that collared peccaries may avoid foraging at the same time as white-lipped peccaries. However, they forage during the same periods as feral pigs, with whom they have lower diet overlap. Our study highlights how an exotic species may alter interactions between native species by interfering in their foraging periods.

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