The End of an Era

After over 6 years of intensive research and community development work in and around the Yachana Reserve, GVI Amazon is coming to a close. We have finished our final research project (look forward to our Road Effects paper, coming soon!) and are handing over the project to our partner, The Yachana Foundation. They will continue to maintain and monitor the reserve, using it as an hands-on science education center for students -- we're very excited to see what fabulous things this next generation of scientists find! For more detail on GVI Amazon's closure, and our accomplishments over the years, please read on...
GVI Amazon Closure Statement

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Saving a species, one chuncho seedling at a time

The first days of a new expedition: new volunteers, lots of carrying food, lots of training, lots of termites, lots of new experiences…

But as you’ll hear about that from our new volunteers, I want to take this opportunity to write instead about a special project I am working on – my “little plants”: the chunchos. Chuncho is a tree species of the same family as mahogany, Meliaceae. It’s a big and tall tree, one of the species that form the high canopy. Its wood is hard and light with a beautiful reddish colour. It is very valued, because it is used for canoes and other kind of constructions. Because of this, it has been the aim of destructive logging making this tree species scarce.

In our last field trip to Yasuní National Park we found one chuncho with hundreds of seeds around it (an extraordinary discovery!), so we picked a few dozens and we planted them in our base just before leaving to the break. When we came back base two weeks later, there was a nice surprise waiting for us: around twenty seedlings were growing and healthy. In these last days others have germinated and hopefully more will do the same soon. These seedlings are going to be planted around the Yachana Reserve trying to assure the future of this species in this area of the Amazon.

Jaime Villacampa Ortega -- GVI Amazon Scholar, April-June 2011