Current Ecological Studies

We are currently working on a variety of short-term and long-term monitoring projects and research projects. We are always seeking interns and volunteers that would like to work on the following projects. Our projects are always evolving the more we know, keep visiting our site for new projects or contact us if you have any project ideas you would like to do at T.R.E.E.S.

Avian monitoring to determine seasonality of resident bird migrations in Belize. This is being accomplished through using point count surveys, mist netting and banding, bird recordings and playback, and observation of feeding birds and their plant associations. We are also currently working on long-term forest bird monitoring by setting up a permanent banding station at T.R.E.E.S

Herpetological monitoring to determine population densities, habitat specifications, and inter-species genetic relationships of a variety of species of frogs, turtles, and snakes of which little is known. These studies are being done using a combination of techniques including visual-acoustic surveys, mark-recapture with Elastomer Paint tagging, disease sampling, DNA analysis for population genetics, and habitat mapping. A long-term White-lipped Mud Turtle monitoring program has been set in place. Turtles are fitted with radio transmitters and are monitored through radio telemetry.

Small mammal monitoring to determine species presence, population densities, and habitat specifications. Since the inception of this study we have identified 3 species that were currently unknown in Belize and we expect with more effort this number will continue to increase. Methods used include trapping with Sherman and Tomahawk small mammal traps, pit fall traps with drift fences, remote camera traps, and ear tagging. We have also started bat mist-netting and have netted over 20 species on the property. Future bat monitoring programs are now set up.

Entomological inventorying to determine species presence, diversity, and abundance in the Maya Mountains. An impressive museum-quality collection of more than 1000 different species of insects is being housed at the T.R.E.E.S Hosting Center after a 1-week collection blitz.

Habitat characterization and habitat restoration to determine habitat specifications for a variety of different wildlife species and create or restore existing habitat to increase population sizes of target species. This is best illustrated by our recent wetland creation project which created breeding habitat for a multitude of amphibian species, including some IUCN Endangered species.

Design and implementation of permaculture and other organic agriculture techniques to establish food sustainability. We are currently in the planning stages of this project with the goal of becoming fully self-sustainable and integrating agriculture with natural resources in a way that is both environmentally friendly and economically viable. We hope to become a demonstration farm from which local farmers can learn environmentally friendly growing techniques that increase profitability, ultimately decreasing the spread of habitat destruction into the surrounding hills.

 

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