The Konashen Indigenous District of Southern Guyana houses the headwaters of the Essequibo River, Guyana’s principal water source, and drains the Kassikaityu, Kamoa, Sipu and Chodikar rivers. Southern Guyana is host to some of the most pristine expanses of evergreen forests in the northern part of South America.
Most of the forests found here are tall, evergreen hill-land and lower montane forests, with large expanses of flooded forest along major rivers. Thanks to the very low human population density of the area, most of these forests are still intact. The Smithsonian Institution has identified nearly 2,700 species of plants from this region, representing 239 distinct families, and there are certainly additional species still to be recorded.
Such incredible diversity of plants supports even more impressive diversity of animal life, recently documented by a biological survey organized by Conservation International. The clean, unpolluted waters of the Essequibo watershed support a remarkable diversity of fish and aquatic invertebrates, and are home to giant river otters, capybaras, and several species of caimans. On land, large mammals, such as jaguars, tapirs, bush dogs, giant anteaters, and saki monkeys are still common.
Over 400 species of birds have been reported from the region, and the reptile and amphibian faunas are similarly rich. The Konashen Community-Owned Conservation Area (COCA) forests are also home to countless species of insects, arachnids, and other invertebrates, many of which are still undiscovered and unnamed.
The forests of the Konashen COCA protect the southern watersheds of the headwaters of the Essequibo River, which forms part of the northern Amazon ecosystem.
||INSECTS AND OTHER INVERTEBRATES|
Despite their small size, insects and other invertebrates are the most important animals in the Konashen forests. Most other organisms would not be able to exist if not for the services provided by insects.
Fishes are the most diverse and species-rich group of vertebrate animals. The waters of Guyana are home to over 700 species of fishes.
Twenty-five species of amphibians were recorded during a recent biological survey of the area, however there are certainly more species present in the area.
Reptile species are highly beneficial for the forest ecosystem and surrounding areas since they control rodent and insect populations.
The Konashen COCA provides habitat for a remarkable diversity of bird species and these species presently appear to be under little threat.
The Konashen COCA provides a home to a range of mammal species including 21 species recently recorded in the area by scientists.