Conservation Ecology of Woodpeckers in the Alexander Skutch Biological Corridor, Costa Rica

Author(s): Chris Saker
Published: 2009
Type: M.E.S. Papers/Theses

Presently, human activity on this planet has put much of the world's biodiversity in peril. A variety of approaches, drawing from the fields of Conservation Biology and Environmental Education were used to address this problem through a project carried out in the Alexander Skutch Corridor (ASBC), in Southwestern Costa Rica.
Woodpeckers have been shown to be effective indicator species on both a landscape and regional scale, but have never been studied in this regard in Central America. Identifying indicator species can be helpful in determining conservation priorities and conducting effective environmental assessments. Plans were made to study a community of woodpeckers and their habitat preferences in the ASBC. Seven species of woodpeckers were investigated through conducting silent point counts combined with the use of vocalization playback recordings, which were used to improve the detection of woodpeckers. Results showed significant relationships between three of the species and several habitat types.
Environmental education initiatives were successfully incorporated into this project utilizing a multi-modal approach, which sought to frame these education initiatives in a biodiversity conservation context. Production of documentary videos, showcasing conservation science being conducted in Costa Rica, proved an effective means of educating a broader audience about the conservation ecology of woodpeckers.