Effects of Tropical Forest Alteration on Psittacid Community Dynamics and on Spatial and Temporal Habitat Use by Mealy Parrots (Amazona farinosa) in GuatemalaEPA Grant Number: U915223
Title: Effects of Tropical Forest Alteration on Psittacid Community Dynamics and on Spatial and Temporal Habitat Use by Mealy Parrots (Amazona farinosa) in Guatemala
Investigators: Bjork, Robin D.
Institution: Oregon State University
EPA Project Officer: Smith, Bernice
Project Period: January 1, 1997 through January 1, 2000
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1997) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Ecology and Ecosystems
The main objective of this research project is to document seasonal and annual patterns of habitat use by six species of parrots and abundance of their food (fruit) resources across a landscape of intact and human-altered habitats. The specific objectives of this research project are to: (1) identify key nesting and foraging sites and resources; (2) identify their status relative to threats and protection; and (3) apply the information to conservation and management strategies for the area. One species, the Mealy Parrot, was chosen as a focal species for more detailed study because it is believed to be closely associated with mature lowland forest, and being a large parrot, it likely has large spatial requirements. Hence, its long-term persistence in a landscape rapidly being altered by humans is threatened. The study is being conducted in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, one of the largest areas of intact forest in Central America. Deforestation and other threats to ecosystem integrity are rapidly increasing throughout the Reserve.
Data on landscape pattern, forest characteristics, parrot community composition and structure, and population biology of Mealy Parrots will be compared between intact and fragmented forest study sites in northern Guatemala over a 2-year period. Methods to estimate density of parrot species in closed-canopy forests will be developed using point counts from emergent trees. Habitat characteristics including composition, density, and fruiting phenology of overstory trees will provide an estimate of fruit/seed abundance to the overstory frugivore/granivore community. Radio telemetry will be used to determine home range, movement patterns, and diet of individual Mealy Parrots. These empirical data will be used in modeling efforts to predict persistence of the population in simulated future landscapes, and to contribute to regional forest conservation and management programs.