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September 18th, 2015

The completion of the Life+ Cap DOM programme!

After five years of work, the Life+ Cap DOM programme, supported by the European Commission and…
August 31st, 2015

[Video] The STOC in French Guiana

Since 2012, GEPOG has been running a STOC (point count) survey in French Guiana, along with the…
August 25th, 2015

[Video] SEOR: a look back over the five years of the programme

A few weeks before the end of the Life+ Cap DOM programme, François-Xavier Couzi, Director of…

Trou Poissons Savannas

Limited ecological knowledge and lack of management

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Territory : French Guiana
Area : 2,200 ha
Status : Unprotected, listed as a ZNIEFF, RAMSAR in the eastern side and an Important Bird Area (BirdLife International).
Owner : Mainly private state property, and to a lesser extent, local authorities and privates
Management authority : No management
Habitats : Six type of savannas, including dry savanna grasse inhabited by the Bearded tachuri and associated bird species
Uses : Agriculture, hunting, naturalist activities, annual religious procession

The site of Trou Poissons is part of the dry savannas of the ancient coastal plain, which are found mainly between Cayenne and Organabo. This site is part of an Important Bird Area (IBA). The global importance of this site is partially linked to the fact that it is host to a population of Bearded tachuris, a species restricted to a particular savanna’s habitat.

Dry savannas, French Guiana, J.P.Policard

This particular habitat is of considerable fauna and flora interest with characteristic savanna species, certain of which are important for the region. The songs of the grassland sparrow, the yellowish pipit, the black-faced tanager and the ruby-topaz hummingbird mingle over the wide open spaces of the Trou Poissons savannas. The Savanna hawk and the White-tailed hawk also frequent this undisturbed sector. The poaceae (grasses) and cyperaceae plant families are dominant and with luck, discreet hikers may observe armadillos, giant anteaters or pumas.

Depending on the season, lowland, savanna, marshy or raised are exposed to drought and fires or flooding. Fire promotes the spread of introduced invasive species such as Acacia mangium, a native of Australia used to revegetate abandoned mining sites.

Savanna soils are poor and poorly drained and the fauna and flora adapted to these difficult conditions are therefore very specific

Considered to be of high biodiversity value, savannas, with their easy accessibility, are increasingly subjected to agricultural and residential land-use pressure. This habitat is giving way to sand and gravel pits, land development projects or intensively-maintained pastureland (use of mechanized ploughing, fertilizers, pesticides).

Savannas are directly threatened by the pressure exerted by the human activities and population growth inherent to this territory. Population growth in French Guiana and the need to find land for livestock raising, biofuels or urbanization are making it urgent to recognize the biodiversity value of savannas and ensure their protection.

In a region mainly occupied by forest, savannas, which cover less than 2% of the territory along the ancient coastal plain, are highly localized ecosystem. Their degradation is due both to a lack of ecological knowledge, which leads to a lack of management, and to fertilizer and pesticide-dependent agricultural projects, which could cause irreversible pollution and environmental damage.

Keywords : French Guiana, French Guiana savannas, Bearded tachuri

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