|Date||12 Aug 2008|
Frogs are an important component of the rainforest ecosystem in the Solomon Islands. On some islands they are perhaps the most abundant of native vertebrates. Yet because of mass deforestation caused by unsustainable logging, they may also be extremely threatened.
The purpose of this follow up grant is to survey the forests of Guadalcanal, Isabel, and Malaita islands in central and eastern Solomon Islands. The focus of this study is to survey the corridors from lowland to montane forests, to understand the diversity of frog species along elevation gradients on these oceanic islands.
In a recent survey of Mt Rano, on Kolombangara Island (funded by RSG), we noticed that montane forests here were drying up and in some cases dying due to a number of factors, especially climate change. And in turn this could impact on the frog fauna even in undisturbed and seemingly remote and isolated rainforest areas.
To date, not enough work has been done on the frogs of montane ecosystems in the Solomon Islands, hence the necessity to enter and make collections in these isolated ecosystems. There is need to document species diversity, and to establish long term monitoring plots in order to understand or better know the degree of influence certain factors such as climate, disturbance, invasive species, etc may have on some species or on a community assemblage.
Guadalcanal, Isabel and Malaita are the main large islands of central and eastern Solomon Islands. There have not been any collections of frogs in the montane ecosystems here. Guadalcanal and in particular Mt Popomaneseu (2,330 m), is the crown of the tropical Pacific, excluding New Guinea. And there has not been any work on frogs done here. Montane ecosystems like the mountains on these islands are certain to contain endemic species previously unrecorded. For this reason, it is important that studies and research be undertaken to understand the diversity of frogs and other vertebrates in these remote sites, in order to implement and establish conservation and management plans.
Read about Patrick's previous project at http://www.ruffordsmallgrants.org/rsg/projects/patrick_pikacha
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