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International Researchers Discover 60 New Species in Suriname Forest

Update Date: Oct 04, 2013 01:18 PM EDT
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A team of 16 biologists from around the world discovered 60 new species including six frogs and 11 fish in Brazil and cataloged 1,378 plants, ants, fish, insects, birds, mammals and amphibians.

The researchers made the discovery during a three-week expedition in pristine forest of southeast Suriname near the border with Brazil, Trond Larsen with the nonprofit research and advocacy organization Conservation International told The Associated Press in a phone interview. The upper Palumeu River watershed is among the world's most remote and unexplored rainforests, the Arlington, Virginia-based group said.

"Suriname is one of the last places where an opportunity still exists to conserve massive tracts of untouched forest and pristine rivers where biodiversity is thriving. Ensuring the preservation of these ecosystems is not only vital for the Surinamese people, but may help the world to meet its growing demand for food and water as well as reducing the impacts of climate change," Larsen said.

In total, the research team collected data on 1,378 species of plants, birds, mammals, insects, fish and amphibians. The scientists did not work alone, but received supported by 30 indigenous men who helped them navigate the rough terrain.

The researchers found that the richness of freshwater in the mountainous rainforests in Suriname play an essential role in the ecosystems. "Suriname is one of the last places where an opportunity still exists to conserve massive tracts of untouched forest and pristine rivers where biodiversity is thriving," added Larsen.

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