Wednesday, November 14, 2007

4. Forest Journey - September 2006

Written: December 2006 (translated from Spanish original)

I began a very interesting journey in September. Our goal was to find at least 100 copal trees in a primary forest. I was very enthusiastic to find them. I was accompanied in this search by Italo Meléndez, Melanio Meléndez and Mayer Vásquez. They were woodsmen of Jenaro Herrera with a lot of experience in investigation who knew the forest of this area very well.

Photo: Owl butterfuly (Caigo spp.) at Jenaro Herrera. © Angel Raygada Rengifo/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

We found many insects on our paths (mosquitos, wasps, stingless bees, assassin bugs, giant cicadas, large dragonflies etc.) birds (partridges, nightjars, owls, hummingbirds, etc), red and black scorpions, very large nocturnal and diurnal butterflies, grasshoppers, walking sticks up to 16 cm long, frogs, and spiders. The gigantic wasp is a spider hunter, one of the largest kinds in the Pompilidae family. We also saw various types of monkeys (capuchin, marmosets, and titis), flowers, mushrooms of many colors, and beautiful landscapes.

Photo: Angel with a chinche bug. © Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

After four days, we had found 102 copal trees, almost all of which had beautiful resin lumps. Next we approached the most difficult part of the study: collecting botanical samples from all of these trees. The trees we found that were more than 20 meters tall with diameters larger than 40 cm were very difficult to collect from. We’ve now identified these trees and are moving on to the next phase of the investigation that is the harvest of copal resin lumps.

Photo: Swamp forest at Jenaro Herrera. © Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

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