Navigation Links
Scientists identify Ecuador's Yasuni National Park as one of most biodiverse places on earth

AUSTIN, TexasA team of scientists has documented that Yasun National Park, in the core of the Ecuadorian Amazon, shatters world records for a wide array of plant and animal groups, from amphibians to trees to insects.

The authors also conclude that proposed oil development projects represent the greatest threat to Yasun and its biodiversity.

"This study demonstrates that Yasun is the most diverse area in South America, and possibly the world," said Dr. Peter English of The University of Texas at Austin. "Amphibians, birds, mammals and vascular plants all reach maximum diversity in Yasun."

The study is published in the open-access scientific journal PLoS ONE.

"We have so far documented 596 bird species occurring in Yasuni," said English, a bird specialist. "That's incredible diversity to find in just one corner of the Amazon rainforest and rivals any other spot on the planet."

Other specialists joined in to give the first complete picture of the extraordinary diversity found in Yasun National Park.

"The 150 amphibian species documented to date throughout Yasun is a world record for an area of this size," said Shawn McCracken of Texas State University. "There are more species of frogs and toads within Yasun than are native to the United States and Canada combined."

The scientists also confirmed that an average upland hectare (2.47 acres) in Yasun contains more tree species, 655, than are native to the continental United States and Canada combined. The number of tree species rises to more than 1,100 for an area of 25 hectares.

"In just one hectare in Yasun, there are more tree, shrub and liana (woody vines) species than anywhere else in the world," said Gorky Villa, an Ecuadorian botanist working with both the Smithsonian Institution and Finding Species.

Perhaps the most impressive statistic of all is that a single hectare of forest in Yasun is projected to contain 100,000 insect species. According to eminent entomologist Dr. Terry Erwin, that is the highest estimated diversity per unit area in the world for any plant or animal group.

"One of our most important findings about Yasun is that small areas of forest harbor extremely high numbers of animals and plants," said lead author Margot Bass, president of Finding Species, a non-profit with offices in Maryland and Quito, Ecuador. "Yasun is probably unmatched by any other park in the world for total numbers of species."

The extraordinary diversity of Yasun is best exemplified at the 1,600-acre Tiputini Biodiversity Station on the northern edge of the park.

"The Tiputini Biodiversity Station is home to 247 amphibian and reptile species, 550 bird species and around 200 mammal species," said Dr. Kelly Swing of the University of San Francisco in Quito, Ecuador.

"What makes Yasun especially important is its potential to sustain this extraordinary biodiversity in the long term," said Dr. Matt Finer of Save America's Forests. "For example, the Yasun region is predicted to maintain wet, rainforest conditions as climate change-induced drought intensifies in the eastern Amazon."

The paper concludes with a number of science-based policy recommendations. One key recommendation is a moratorium on new oil exploration or development projects within the park, particularly in the remote and relatively intactbut oil richnortheast corner that contains oil blocks 31 and ITT.

The Ecuadorian government is promoting a revolutionary plan, known as the Yasun-ITT Initiative, which would leave the park's largest oil reserves in the ITT block permanently under the ground. A lack of funding commitments, however, now threatens the proposal.

"The Yasun-ITT Initiative urgently needs international funders to step up and make it a success, or else more drilling in the core of Yasun may become a tragic reality," concluded Finer.


Contact: Peter English
University of Texas at Austin

Related biology news :

1. UK scientists working to help cut ID theft
2. Scientists show that mitochondrial DNA variants are linked to risk factors for type 2 diabetes
3. Comet probes reveal evidence of origin of life, scientists claim
4. Scientists link fragile X tremor/ataxia syndrome to binding protein in RNA
5. Male elephants get photo IDs from scientists
6. Scientists retrace evolution with first atomic structure of an ancient protein
7. Muscle mass: Scientists identify novel mode of transcriptional regulation during myogenesis
8. Carnegie Mellon scientists develop nanogels that enable controlled delivery of carbohydrate drugs
9. Clemson scientists shed light on molecules in living cells
10. Scientists tackle mystery mountain illness
11. T. rex quicker than Becks, say scientists
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Scientists identify Ecuador's Yasuni National Park as one of most biodiverse places on earth
(Date:6/20/2016)... DALLAS , June 20, 2016 ... criminal justice technology solutions for public safety, investigation, ... by the prisons involved, it has secured the ... Corrections (DOC) facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) ... (4) additional facilities to be installed by October, ...
(Date:6/7/2016)...  Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio Credit Union ... integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" solution into ... result in greater convenience for SACU members and ... existing document workflow and compliance requirements. ... Highlights: ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... 1, 2016 Favorable Government Initiatives ... and Criminal Identification to Boost Global Biometrics System Market ... TechSci Research report, " Global Biometrics Market By ... and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the global biometrics market ... on account of growing security concerns across various end ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 A person commits ... the crime scene to track the criminal down. ... U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has ... to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...   EpiBiome , a precision microbiome engineering company, ... financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The financing will ... its drug development efforts, as well as purchase additional ... has been an incredible strategic partner to us – ... would provide," said Dr. Aeron Tynes Hammack , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Calif. , June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, ... biological discoveries to the medical community, has closed its ... Matthew Nunez . "We have received ... with the capital we need to meet our current ... essentially provide us the runway to complete validation on ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, a division of ... and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The International Manufacturing Technology ... among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining dynamics and distribution, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: