Costa Rica, avifauna, biodiversity, ecosystem
As deforestation and fragmentation pose a constant threat to rainforests and the biodiversity they harbor, conservation and preservation are of the utmost import. To evaluate the overall ecological well-being of an ecosystem and by extension its conservation priority, the degree of disturbance and fragmentation should be determined. One way of examining the disturbance status of an area is to examine the local avifauna using birds as bioindicators. The overall ecological state of the Costa Rican tropical cloud forest in which the Savegre Lodge is situated can be inferred by examining the avifauna cataloged through mist netting and observation during one week studies in March of 2003 and 2005. Because this area is a rainforest preserve which relies heavily on ecotourism, it is hypothesized that the biodiversity and health of the ecosystem have been preserved, as disturbance is kept to a minimum. Of the 116 species cataloged, 34 species were caught in the mist nets. Nine of the cataloged species are considered rare or uncommon and 13 are highly sensitive to human disturbance. The presence of a number of rare and/or highly disturbance-sensitive species at Savegre, in addition to the plethora of common species, suggests that this habitat has not been disturbed or significantly fragmented and points to the overall good health of the environment. The area around the Savegre Lodge stands as an example of a well managed preserve where biodiversity remains intact even in the presence of ecotourism.
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