Monitoring a Venezuelan Cloud Forest
Awarded by Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer with the Sustainability Award of the University of Tuebingen, Germany; 11/2011
Cloud forests are particularly vulnerable to disturbances such as anthropogenic encroachment, invasive species and climate change. Effective management therefore requires efficient early warning systems that detect changes in forest condition before it is too late to intervene. Until now monitoring schemes have been expensive, requiring high tech equipment and trained personnel, but using ecological indicators is a low cost alternative. A study into epiphytic ferns in Northern Venezuela suggests that, with low levels of effort, time and cost, these species can be monitored and used as indicators of disturbance.