|Ecology, Reproductive Biology and Conservation of Alder Amazon (Amazona tucumana) in the Montane Forest of Argentina|
|Location: Santa Barbara Mountain Range, Jujuy Province, Argentina|
|Species: Amazona tucumana|
|Abstract: Basic biological information is lacking for many Neotropical parrot species. Such information is a prerequisite to identify threats, effectively monitor population trends, and evaluate required conservation and management actions. This is particularly true for Alder Amazon (Amazona tucumana), for which its ecology and reproductive biology are unknown. The Alder Amazon is an endemic parrot of the Montane forests of Argentina and Bolivia. Its population numbers have declined dramatically in the 20th century due to habitat loss and pet trade; as a result, this species is considered rare and endangered. In order to develop conservation and management strategies for the recovery of the Alder Amazon it is essential to understand how habitat alterations affect its population numbers. In order to do so, we need sound information on productivity, nest success, and breeding and foraging habitat requirements. The Alder Amazon can serve as a flagship species to promote conservation of the Montane forest biodiversity.|
Project Update: May 2006
250 ha was intensively searched for Alder Amazon nests in the Santa Bárbara mountain range (hereafter, Santa Bárbara) during the 2005-2006 breeding season. Santa Bárbara has been identified as an important breeding site for the species and was where the largest populations numbers were previously identified. However, this site has been subject to intense and unsustainable forest harvesting. During the 2005-2006 breeding season, 18 Alder Amazon nests were able to be identified, whereas in the 2004-2005 breeding season only 10 nests were found. Of the cavities occupied by Alder Amazon during 2004-2005 for breeding, 5 were re-occupied in 2005-2006 (i.e., 50% of the cavities were reused). Nests were able to be characterized at cavity, tree, and stand level and data analysis is currently in progress. Each nest was monitored and information was obtained on productivity and survival of nests. Surveys are still in progress, as the project gathers data on the feeding ecology of the species. The results will serve to make comparisons with control sites (e.g., El Rey National Park) to determine the effect that forest practices have on the species and the habitat and delineate management guidelines to assure their long-term conservation. The project's success has been reached through the involvement of the following:
The Alder Amazon project seeks to gather long-term information on the species population dynamics. With the support of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Scott Neotropical Fund, the project has gained knowledge on the species' productivity, survival and mortality patterns. This information is a prerequisite to understand why the species has not been able to recover from past pet trade collection and habitat loss. The project's results are helping to encourage provincial government to broaden Las Lancitas Provincial Park since the park does not currently include breeding habitat essential for the species. The project is promoting that land owners maintain important breeding habitat as conservation land. This private endeavor added to the government effort would assure that Santa Bárbara's forests be conserved. Focusing on the Alder Amazon provides the opportunity to protect large extensions of land, since the species depends on large forest tracts, and assures the conservation of many other species. Finally, results can promote new regulations for forest harvesting and cattle grazing that keep an eye toward biodiversity.
Project Update: October 2006
During the 2005-2006 Alder Amazon breeding season, 250 ha of mountain forest was intensively searched for Alder Amazon nests in the Santa Bárbara mountain range. The Santa Bárbara mountain range has been identified as an important breeding site for the species. However, the site has been subject to intense and unsustainable forest harvesting. Eighteen Alder Amazon nests were able to be identified during the 2005-2006 breeding season, and 10 nests during the 2004-2005 breeding season, for a total of 28 nests. Of the cavities occupied in the last breeding season, 5 were re-occupied during the current breeding season. Of the 21 occupied nests, 15 successfully produced fledglings, 5 failed during incubation, and 1 failed during chick development.
Seven nests were found in cavities of Alnus acuminata tree species, six in Podocarpus parlatorei, two in Ilex argentina, two in Junglans australis, and one in a snag (i.e., dead standing tree). Tree diameter, height, and width were measured. Data on cavity entrance height and width and internal cavity depth, width, and height was taken.
Project success has been reached through the involvement of: