The Foundation for Rainforest Research (Veragua Foundation) is pleased to announce the most recent studies on mammals and plants at the Veragua Rainforest in Costa Rica.
Mammologist Diego Salas has been documenting the value of the Veragua Rainforest private reserve as a refuge for the conservation of a diverse community of mammals. Data that has been gathered during the long-term monitoring project is useful for detecting the effects of human impact and climate change, and to make informed management decisions. In the Central Caribbean region of Costa Rica, where Veragua Rainforest is located, mammal diversity has not previously been investigated.
So far, 81 mammal species have been registered in the Veragua Rainforest, including 44 kinds of bats, which represent a little less than 50% of the known bat species in Costa Rica; wild cats like ocelots, cougars and margays (on the IUCN Red List); two monkey species; the endangered water opossum and the rare semiaquatic rodent, Goldman’s water mouse; along with mammals threatened by hunting, such as Central American agoutis, red brocket deer, collared peccaries, and Central American spider monkeys. Mammals play key roles in ecosystems by grazing, predation, and seed dispersal, and are threatened worldwide by habitat loss and hunting.
Researchers at the Veragua Rainforest also have been monitoring the plants eaten by mammals and plant phenology – when trees and plants bloom and bear fruit. They have documented how flower and fruit production can be affected by climate change, and in turn, their possible effects on plant-consuming mammals.
Monitoring plant phenology is important for understanding relationships between climate change, environmental conditions, and vegetation health, and how all that affects humans and animals.