2 weeks: 2 weeks terrestrial only – 30 June – 13 July 2024
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This two week expedition will be spent in the forests of the Wallacea region on Buton Island. The field teams will spend time at two different forest camps during the expedition allowing for data collection over a greater area.
North Buton Forest biodiversity experience
The Langkube Valley lies within the North Buton Nature Reserve (82,000 ha) and represents a vast area of unexplored, primary rainforest. The region supports an array of different habitats that remain largely unknown to science. Importantly, it is also a stronghold for the endangered Anoa, a CITES listed dwarf buffalo. After completing training in jungle survival skills (which can include a canopy access course for an additional cost) and learning about Wallacean wildlife and conservation, volunteers will assist a team of biologists documenting the valley’s rich biodiversity. Biologists will focus on mammalian, avian and herpetological assemblages together with forest structure and carbon surveys. Particular attention will be given to records of endangered Sulawesi endemics, such as the Anoa and the Maleo, both rarely sighted but critically important species for local conservation efforts. There exists a high likelihood that new species records for Buton Island will be made given that this expedition will be working in remote and previously unsurveyed forests. Survey techniques include the use of camera traps, distance and patch occupancy estimates for large mammal species, mist netting for bats, Pollard counts for butterflies, standard search transects for reptiles, spotlight surveys for amphibians, and point counts for birds. There is also the opportunity to complete a half day course which will train you into how access the tree canopy using ropes and ascenders (this is an optional course costing £190).
The Wallacea region comprises islands of the central part of the Indonesian archipelago that are separated by deep ocean trenches which prevented them from being joined to the main continental land masses during the lowered sea levels of the Ice Ages. As a result of subsequently long periods of isolation, a large number of unique species evolved. The forests of the Wallacea region are one of the least biologically studied areas in the world and one of the most likely places to discover vertebrate species new to science. Since 1995, the Opwall teams have been surveying the biodiversity of Buton Island in SE Sulawesi, so that more information is now available on the wildlife of this well studied area than anywhere else in the Wallacea region. The Opwall gathered data are being used to assess the impacts of potential carbon offset funding schemes in protecting the carbon and biodiversity of the forests and ensure that local communities have a financial benefit from this conservation programme.
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In the tropical rainforests of Indonesia is is generally warm during the day (around 25 degrees Celsius), and humid, with up to 80% humidity. At night the temperatures drop lower, but not usually lower than around 15 degrees Celsius. It rains very frequently, and very heavily at times, but for short periods.
Fitness level required
High for the forest sites. You will need to hike for long periods, over steep and muddy terrain, at times with your large rucksack.
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