Biodiversity in Belize
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Report of second half of the bat survey (March 2003)

Final REA Report -, July 2003 (pdf: 1,772 kb)

 

Rapid Ecological Assessment

Mayflower Bocawina National Park, Stann Creek District, Belize

Methodology used in the assessment

General

Based on satellite imagery, an attempt was made to assess the various vegetation types / ecosystems present within the park boundaries. Once established, the main ecosystems were visited and a species assessment made.

 

Vegetation/Ecosystems

In the most important ecosystems, standardized vegetation transects were established in order to assess species composition and vegetation structure. To facilitate the identification of the maximum number of species, multiple visits were made to the transects (wet season / dry season).

The methodology used for the vegetation transects has been adapted from the methodology used by the Forest Planning and Management Project in Belize (Shawe, 1997). This methodology involved the opening of a 200 meter long (and in this study, straight) line through the vegetation under study. Care will be taken not to remove any of the trees along the transect. The cut line only serves to facilitate access. The actual transect consists of a 4 m wide band along the cut line (2 m to the left, 2 m to the right). For practical purposes, the 200 m long transect is divided into 20 separate, 10 m long segments. In these segments, all trees with a diameter at breast height (dbh) of more than 10 cm are counted, dbh measured and where possible identified. Also per 10 m segment, notes will be taken on: soil type, slope, canopy height and canopy cover.

With the data thus obtained, several biodiversity indices were calculated for each transect: these indices included a) the number of species (N0 ), b) the number of abundant species (N1), c) the number of very abundant species (N2), d) the Shannon's diversity index (H') in which a higher figure indicates a higher diversity, e) the level of evenness (E5) which looks at the number of individuals per species and in which a high evenness (=1) indicates a high diversity and un-even communities receive a figure < 1. and finally f) the rarefraction at sample size of 50 trees which is the number of species had the sample size been 50. All these biodiversity data are useful when comparing different sites. In conjunction with these biodiversity indices, the dominant tree species (> 10% of total) were noted.

Also per transect a number of structural data were abstracted such as a) the average stem dbh, b) the number of multi-stemmed trees, c) the number of dead trees and d) the space per living tree in m2. These data also give some indication on the dynamics of the transect (large dbh and no dead trees: static; many multi-stemmed and dead trees: dynamic).

 

Birds

General walk-over surveys of the site and adjacent areas were conducted both during the daytime (from before daybreak) as well as after dusk. Identification was both by visual and vocal characteristics.

 

Amphibians and Reptiles

Amphibians were difficult to assess within the given timeframe of the REA. Typically, amphibians (and more specifically frogs and toads) are monitored at the breeding sites during times of mating activity that usually takes place in the months of June through September. Outside these months, reliable amphibian monitoring is not possible and dependent on opportunistic observations as is the case for reptiles.

 

Mammals

Mammals were assessed on an opportunistic basis by all of the teams. Interviews will be held with users of the area to assess the presence of the more conspicuous species. 

Bats received special attention. For this purpose, some "harp" traps and mist nets were set up in favorable locations. Additionally multiple acoustic monitoring on several unattended monitoring sites was carried out. This provided the most complete survey possible for all family of bats.

 

Literature

Shawe, K. 1997. Ecological Survey - Sampling Strategy and Method. Draft report to the Forest Planning and Management Project, Forest Department, Belmopan. 10 pp.

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