Support that Counts
This month saw the completion of two key 2013 grants that we received. They have contributed hugely to our success in protecting the endangered Nigerian rainforest that remains, and in our discovering more about the wildlife living within it! Prins Bernhard Natuurfonds, and Rufford Small Grants (along with additional grant funds throughout 2013) enabled 24/7 forest patrols of CERCOPAN’s core area and weekly 4-day patrols into extended community forest areas to prevent and police illegal activity. And in addition to guarding the area, our patrols take data on species distribution and activity. This work builds up a picture of wildlife ranges and population estimates. With the data gathered CERCOPAN was able to produce the first primate distribution map for the area, and this now allows us to coordinate our patrols to best protect these home ranges.
Furthermore, engagement and capacity building within local communities has enabled the villages themselves to protect and manage their resources in a more sustainable way. Activities supported in 2013 included the production of community Land Use Management Plans (LUMPs) facilitated by CERCOPAN. These LUMPs provide the baseline for the communities to monitor and manage their use of the land and forests.
CERCOPAN’s long-term phenology study is an on-going research project that was also supported by these grants. The study monitors the fruiting and flowering of a range of flora within CERCOPAN’s Core Area. This data is important for understanding the lifecycles of many relatively understudied flora species and how these might in turn affect the wildlife that is reliant upon them for food. Results already indicate that certain species do not fruit and flower every year, while individual trees within a species may be on a different fruiting cycle to each other. By studying these patterns we are gaining knowledge about food availability in the forest and forming ideas about the number of primates an area can support. Knowing times of high food availability will also help us decide on the best time of year to reintroduce our prepared primate release groups into the forest when they will learn how to forage for themselves.