Deep inside the Brazilian Amazon, in areas still inaccessible to the outside world, the wildlife follows its natural cycle. Their remoteness guarantees a certain degree of isolation from human civilization, helping to conserve the biodiversity. Some protected areas under Brazil’s National System of Conservation Units (SNUC), including national parks, biological reserves and ecological stations, host such islands of untouched wilderness. But their remoteness hasn’t spared them from the impacts of climate change.
That’s the finding from a recent study led by Philip Stouffer, a professor at the School of Renewable Natural Resources at Louisiana State University (LSU). Along with Ph.D. students Vitek Jirinec and Cameron Rutt and a group of other researchers, Stouffer documented a reduction in the populations of some bird species in the interior of a well-preserved fragment of Amazon rainforest north of Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, over the past 35 years.
The research is part of the Amazon Biodiversity Center’s Projeto Dinâmica Biológica de Fragmentos Florestais (PDBFF), which began in 1979 with the participation of renowned biologist and environmentalist Thomas Lovejoy. The main goal was to evaluate the importance of maintaining a large protected forest reserve or several small ones of equal size. The work began in the then-newly created agricultural district of the Manaus Free Trade Zone Superintendence (Suframa), an area north of the city with a large swath of preserved forest. At the time, it was expected the area would become fragmented over the years.