Perija Tapaculo (Scytalopus perijanus): Revise global status?

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1 Response to Perija Tapaculo (Scytalopus perijanus): Revise global status?

  1. Chris Sharpe says:

    In the IUCN Red Data book of terrestrial ecosystems (Rodríguez et al. 2010), the northern forests of the Serranía de Perijá (upper ríos El Palmar, Lajas, Guasare & Apón), which include sites in the río Lajas watershed at which I recorded this species before it was described, are classified as CR (Hernández-Montilla & Portillo-Quintero 2010). My last visit to Perijá was 15 years ago, but at that time new roads were being carved out along the E flank of the sierra, and large-scale commercial and subsistence farmers, from Colombia as well as locals, were pushing into previously uninhabited basins and felling forest at an alarming rate. Local politicos were sourcing bulldozers to enable roads to be driven into distant pristine watersheds towards the heart of the range. There is no reason to suppose that this conversion of forests has ceased, and although lack of fuel may have slowed it in recent years (I speculate), dollarization of the economy is now producing an agricultural boom in the Venezuelan Andes, with associated deforestation. So the lower slopes on the Venezuelan side are fast disappearing. The Global Forest Watch data seem anomalous, and markedly at odds with existing satellite studies and ground data (on checking, I see that this applies to data for the Mérida Andes as well). Nevertheless, given that this species is found up to the páramos, the higher elevations are—for the moment—not under immediate threat. What this means in terms of drying out of those cloud forests in the longer term is a matter of concern. Perhaps the situation on the Colombian side of Perijá is better? The rationale presented for assessing this species as NT rather than VU is reasonable, but highlights the urgent need for further information on this, and other Perijá endemics.

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