A rapid biological assessment (RAP) of plants, birds, large and small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, water quality, dung beetles, aquatic beetles, katydids and ants of one of the last pristine rainforests on Earth
Three sites along the Kutari and Sipaliwini Rivers near the village of Kwamalasumutu in the Sipaliwini District of far South-western Suriname (northern South America). View a map of the survey area »
The 2010 Kwamala team consisted of the following, each of whom had their own motivation for joining the RAP survey, and different expectations of how the experience and data would benefit them:
- 16 international and Surinamese scientists: Collect data for scientific research and specimens for their museum/university collection, opportunity to explore remote field site
- 7 students and recent graduates from Anton de Kom University of Suriname and Advanced Teachers Training Institute: Obtain field experience and learn from expert scientists
- 3 representatives from the Government of Suriname's Nature Conservation Division: Obtain field experience and learn from expert scientists
- 6 forest rangers from Amazon Conservation Team: Learn new field techniques from expert scientists, assist team with their local knowledge
- 18 Trio field assistants from Kwamalasumutu: Employment, assist team with their local knowledge, learn new techniques for long-term monitoring of biodiversity
- Community of Kwamalasumutu: Obtain an evaluation of their natural resources and recommendations for sustainable use of freshwater, wildlife, fisheries and other forest products, Obtain information and products to promote ecotourism to their village
- Conservation International – Suriname staff: Obtain data to guide creation of nature reserve, help develop ecotourism in the area, and raise awareness of the importance of biological resources in southwestern Suriname
See participants and donors »
August 18 – September 7, 2010
The community of Kwamalasumutu is the political and cultural center for the Trio people of Suriname. Following establishment of the village in the mid-1970s, the population reached a maximum of over 2,000 people before slowly decreasing to its present size of approximately 800.
Residents of Kwamalasumutu subsist primarily on fish, bushmeat, and a limited variety of food crops, especially cassava. Sources of income are few, and many supplies must be flown in from the coast. In 2000, a cave with extensive petroglyphs was discovered near the village, prompting the inception of the 18,000-hectare Werehpai/Iwaana Saamu Sanctuary.
Conservation International – Suriname has since been working with the community of Kwamalasumutu and several donor agencies to establish and maintain the sanctuary, which would serve as both an ecotourism site and game reserve.
The purpose of this RAP survey was to establish a baseline of information for local ecotourism and future monitoring efforts, focusing on Werehpai and the surrounding region. We also sought to gather information on plant and animal species important to the Trio people, and provide recommendations for sustainable harvest and management practices. The overall goal was to bring together the knowledge and expertise of local people with scientific knowledge to study and plan for monitoring of biological and cultural resources of the Kwamalasumutu region.