Yungas 2001

Ross McLeod

The Cordillera de Mosetenes is the largest biologically unexplored area of the Bolivian Andes and one of the largest unexplored parts of the Andean range (pers. com. Hennessey, Co-ordinator of Bolivian IBA programme). The south-western part of Isiboro Securé National Park (ISNP) protects a significant portion of this area. No fieldwork has been carried out in this part of the park. Extrapolation from current knowledge of bird distributions predicts that ISNP will include three of Bolivia's five Endemic Bird Areas and thus hold over 50% of Bolivia's restricted range bird species (Stattersfield et al. 1998, Wege & Long 1995, pers. com. ISNP park director). Recent fieldwork in the adjacent Cordillera de Cocapata has resulted in the discovery of a new species of tyrant-flycatcher (Cnemotricus novo) and the description of several unique subspecies (Herzog et al. 1999). It is predicted that Cordillera de Mosetenes will hold this new restricted range species and undescribed bird species, including an observed but as yet undescribed flower-piercer Diglossa sp. (Herzog et al. 1999, Herzog pers. com.). Endemic areas for different taxa often overlap (Stattersfield et al. 1998). We therefore expect that Mosetenes will hold undescribed species from the other, lesser known, taxonomic groups that we will study. The results will be of major importance on local, national and international scales in terms of scientific knowledge and conservation. On a local level, the project will provide the first description of the ecology of the Andean section of ISNP, providing the necessary baseline data for conservation management. On a national scale the results will add to the understanding of Yungas ecology and allow Bolivian conservationists to decide whether to nominate Cordillera de Mosetenes as an IBA (Hennessey pers. com.). Our data will also allow an assessment to be made of the area's importance for the other taxonomic groups that we will study. On an international scale, the likely confirmation of the presence of 37 restricted range and six globally threatened bird species, and the probable discovery of new species in several taxa will confirm this area as a global conservation priority.

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