+44 (0)207 697 8598

The value and vulnerability of avifauna in Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve: forming recommendations to ensure planned tourism development is environmentally-sound

Supervisors: Jennifer Chapman (Belize), Frances Humber / Charlotte Gough (UK), Kate England
Location: desk (data already collected) and/or field/desk (Belize)
Duration: 3 months

Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve (BCNPMR) is one of the seven protected areas that form the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System UNESCO World  Heritage Site.
It is a nesting site for a number of bird species of international conservation concern. There are also extensive tourism development plans for within and adjacent to BCNPMR, including building construction within potential nesting and foraging grounds for bird species of international concern.

Private and governmental plans to develop BCNPMR as an ecotourism and birding destination include construction of facilities and infrastructure to facilitate birding, such as watchtowers, boardwalks and trails, as well as eco-lodge development and promotion of tours including night visits. However, there is currently no management strategy for these  activities, nor any systematic monitoring and feedback mechanisms in place to ensure the maintained integrity of important nesting and/or migratory stopover areas.

This primary aim of this study is to develop best-practice guidelines for coastal development and tourism activities within and adjacent to Bacalar Chico National Park, which will ensure sustainable development with minimal impacts on important bird species.

Relevant existing data:
Bird population point-count pilot surveys (January 2011 – December 2012); (From January 2013) Permanent transects with stop-point counts covering a range of habitats in BCNPMR, including areas adjacent to known nesting colony areas and foraging grounds used by migrant waders

Additional data needs (optional):
Non-intrusive exploratory surveys to locate further nesting and foraging grounds. Conduct a census of nesting colonies (method to be developed by researcher) to provide a baseline for  long-term monitoring.

Independent research projects (2013-2014) - Madagascar

Independent research projects (2013-2014) - Belize