Maria Susana Hermes Calderon
Associate Researcher, University of San Carlos of Guatemala
Organization: Organization for Environmental Conservation and Communitarian Development (ORCONDECO)
Research: Participative ecological monitoring of endangered medium and large mammals in Laguna Lachua National Park, Guatemala
Abstract: Laguna Lachua National Park (LLNP) is a tropical RAMSAR wetland and a key biodiversity-rich region in Guatemala. It provides habitat to a large diversity of endangered mammals and benefits to indigenous communities that depend on forest/wild animals to survive. Since 2002, this project has carried out ecological baseline studies about the distribution/abundance of mammals in Lachua. Results obtained have been important to guide conservation/management decisions in LLNP and ecoregional planning/development processes. In 2009, a participative system was implemented to monitor the richness, occurrence and spatial distribution of medium/large-sized mammals in northern LLNP to give continuance to previous studies. As result, LLNP has become the first national protected area that has a participative monitoring system of endangered mammals. This proposal seeks to strengthen/broaden the monitoring system to the southern area of LLNP, the most important biogeographic corridor needed for the long-term survival of mammals and the park's ecological viability.