Fundamental to Conservation
Although humans have studied the natural world for thousands of years, we still only understand a small part of it. We have probably not even discovered a quarter of all species, but at the current rate of habitat loss many species will disappear before we even know they exist.
To ensure that we can use the best possible practices to conserve Panama's ecosystems, ADOPTA supports research throughout the country. In our private nature reserve in Cerro Chucantí, for example, researchers have described more than a dozen species new to science and other species of special concern such as the Colombian black spider monkey, Ateles fusciceps rufiventris.The knowledge of these species has helped us improve our strategies for managing the reserve and to prioritize restoration needs.
When we think of research, we often think of academics using specialized information and equipment to answer equally specialized questions. Yet today, more and more data is being contributed by members of the general public through citizen science. Online databases such as eBird and iNaturalist have become more common and easy to use, so more researchers are using data from citizen science in their projects.
Although ADOPTA contains many researchers in our core team, we primarily depend on volunteers: students, kids, tourists, and others. However, we believe that everyone can contribute to science, not only academics. Whether via events such as the Big Day in birdwatching or simply by adding observations to databases like those mentioned above, we encourage every person to adopt their forest and help out!
Why Should You Research in Panama?
Tropical areas are only a small part of the planet, but they contain the majority of terrestrial biodiversity. This is especially true for Panama, whose status as "The Bridge of the Americas" allows for an unique mixture of North and South American species. This large biodiversity is perhaps best represented in birds: Panama has more species of birds than the United States and Canada combined despite being a fraction of the size.
Because of its narrow geography and multiple mountain ranges, Panama has many parks and other sites to be studied that represent a large variety of habitats and ecosystems, most of which are easy to access. Also, Pana has hosted the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute since the creation of the Panama Canal and, because of this, also has a long history of research to build on.