New research on mammals’ use of Iwokrama forest roads shows promising results

Camera trap image of a jaguar on a forest road in the Iwokrama forestry area

See full statement from the Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development:

As we celebrate International Science Day 2023 under theme of ‘Building Trust in Science’, Iwokrama is delighted to share exciting new results from long-term research in monitoring in the Iwokrama Forest.

This recently published study within the Iwokrama sustainable forestry operation area has shown positive results regarding how mammals use logging roads.  The study entitled: “Use of logging roads by terrestrial mammals in a responsibly managed neotropical rainforest in Guyana” was led by Guyanese PhD student Arianne Harris who is part of the University of Guyana (UG) School of Graduate Studies and Research.

This study aimed to assess how logging road use in an internationally certified, low-harvest RIL forest influences terrestrial mammal occupancy. The reason for looking at this aspect is because poor road development and management can lead to increased vulnerability of terrestrial mammals.

Key takeaways from this study: 

  1. Mammal occupancy in the logged forest and control sites (unlogged forests) were similar.
  2. Detections of mammals in logged sites were higher along secondary and feeder roads compared to skid trails and the control sites (natural trails).

The results indicate that ‘proper road management geared towards the monitoring and guarded access of logging roads, can have a positive effect on terrestrial mammal occurrence within responsibly managed rainforests.’

This research was conducted in partnership with University of Guyana under the Iwokrama Science programme with data supplied from Operation Wallacea expeditions through Dr Matt Hallet with the funding support from the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.  Noteworthy is that three rangers associated with Iwokrama are recognised as co-authors on this publication.

Ms Harris’ PhD was funded by Exxon Mobil Foundation, she has submitted her thesis to UG for review and assessment. She is currently an Instructor within the Biology Department at said university.

Iwokrama has been conducting sustainable forestry operations using Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) techniques (RIL) since 2007.  These activities are executed within its Sustainable Use Area and are internationally certified for the use of best practice methods.