The Amazon remains one of the places in the world where biological expeditions to gather basic data make total sense. Many gaps in the knowledge of species distribution persist, combined with a high discovery rate of new species of birds and mammals. Overall, for many zoological groups areas of high species richness usually coincide with more heavily sampled areas. In the case of the Amazon, the cumulative sampling effort has not been sufficient to reveal the actual patterns of richness and composition for most animal and plant groups. Some of the large Amazonian rivers have not yet been sampled even superficially.
On a large scale, the efficiency of conservation strategies of Amazonian biodiversity depends upon the knowledge, even if basic, of the geographic distribution and species richness of the greatest possible number of organism groups. Once the data on species distribution are systematically stored in data banks, it becomes possible to assess the representativeness of the spatial distribution of protected areas on an Amazonian scale and then make adjustments to protect the greatest possible number of taxa, including both widely ranging species and endemic ones with restricted ranges.
This project aims to gather or refine biological and socio-environmental information, so as to identify areas with high conservation relevance in pristine regions of the Brazilian Amazon. Partnerships and knowledge exchange with riverside populations are fundamental components in the project, which also aims to bring Amazonian populations up to date and raise their awareness of the nature conservation issue, drawing them in as research collaborators.
Specific objectives (biological)
- Refinement of knowledge on biogeographic patterns.
- Discovery and description of new taxa.
- Understanding of the relationships between species and environmental factors.
Specific objectives (socio-environmental)
- To take to the riverside dwellers the “stories” told by science, relating them to their own perceptions about the environment and the organisms that sustain them.
- To obtain material generated by traditional populations for public divulging (photos, drawings and other artistic expressions), giving them due credit.
- To promote among riverside populations the importance of immediate conservation actions in the Amazon, raising their awareness to transform them into multiplying agents and allies in Amazon conservation.