VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
For the last three years I have been travelling and collaborating across Brazil to increase awareness of the role of invasive alien species. As my trip to the Pantanal comes to an end so too does this time working in Brazil.
There are a lot of birds in the Pantanal. When I say a lot, I mean there are more bird species at this farm (Pousada Aguapé) than the entirety of my home country New Zealand. Its over 40 degrees centigrade every day and all the sane mammals, including myself, are hiding from the heat.
My work in Brazil focuses on invasive species on islands, but to see a different side of conservation I have joined the Projeto Tamanduá 2017 course in the Pantanal. The Pantanal is the largest wetland in the world with the highest concentration of species in the Americas.
In Brazil WWF is partnering with TRIADE to undertake a trial rat eradication on Ilha do Meio, one of the small offshore islands of Fernando de Noronha. I visited the island this week so that the team undertaking the project could bring me up to speed on their progress so far.
Like all science, invasion biology depends on clear and strict definitions. The concept of a native invasive species therefore sounds implausible, but is exactly what I have found on Fernando de Noronha.
Monitoring of biodiversity is a challenge, but visiting Ducke reserve in the Amazon I am able to see one of the gold standards for long-term biodiversity research.
Touring through the Amazon I had the unique opportunity to spend a day visiting the small seasonally flooded islands of the Rio Negro. This dynamic landscape plays a huge role regulating local biodiversity.
The Amazon is not typically a place one thinks of as insular, but the Parque Nacional de Anavilhanas in Brazil has over 400 islands in the Rio Negro.
Rakiura / Stewart Island is the southern-most inhabited point of New Zealand. Here, islanders carve out an existence for themselves among the harsh but beautiful environment.
Last summer after visiting Great Mercury Island I had the brief opportunity to visit nearby Slipper Island off the coast of the Coromandel. With only a weekend on the island, I set out to perform a ‘bioblitz’ terrestrial fauna survey.
St Kilda is a remote island group in the North Atlantic off the coast of Scotland. Having made it to Scotland, and then the Outer Hebrides, it made sense to hop one more island to what was once the very edge of the world.
This month two major invasive species meetings are being held in Britain. First is the Island Invasives conference in Dundee, and later in the month the British Ecological Society symposium on the macroecology of alien species. Each conference will give a unique perspective on the science and management of invasive alien species around the world.
Invasive alien species are the major threat to islands by most metrics, and two open access papers published this week highlight this threat in different ways.
Tiny rock stacks around the world have critical value for conservation but are often neglected. Yesterday I visited a number of such small rock stacks in New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf to check on their status.