In 2009 the camera trap network, accessible to the general public via the internet (www.sussex.ac.uk/Units/lifesci/rainforest/), generated a great deal of interest in the conservation and academic community. It is the first system, open to the public that provides up to date information on the status of larger mammals and, as such, is acting as a model system capable of replication in other reserves throughout Ecuador to provide information on the status of endangered mammals such as puma (Puma concolor), ocelots (Leopardus pardilus) and spectacled bears (Tremarctos ornatus). It resulted in the publication of an article in the renowned science magazine New Scientist in March (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20127015.500-rare-animals-to-feature-on-google-earth.html). This has resulted in a great deal of media interest in the region, further supporting the reserve.
In 2010 the Paramo Wolf (Pseudalopex culpaeus), a species normally seen only at higher altitudes,was captured on camera descending to lower altitudes and then returning to higher ground the next day.
As of 2010 there are nearly 10,000 camera trap records of 190 bird species. Around 50% of these species are endemic and support that the reserve has a very high conservation value. A higher species diversity was observed in primary forest versus secondary forest and silvopasture (disturbed habitats), but 80 of the 190 species observed spent time in all habitat types. The project seeks to identify bird species that can act as potential habitat quality indicator species. Possible species include the Andean Solitaire (Myadestes ralloides), Orange-bellied Euphonia (Euphonia xanthogaster), Plate-billed Mountain Toucan (Andigena laminirostris), Rufous-breasted Antthrush (Formicarius rufipectus), Sparkling Violetear (Colibri coruscans) and the Wattled Guan (Aburria aburri).
Preliminary analysis of the first year of data in a thesis entitled 'An Investigation into Developing Aerial Taxonomic Keys for Remote Identification of Canopy Trees in Aerial Photographs' by Martin Padbury at the University of Sussex demonstrated the potential for identification at the genus level using techniques of aerial image analysis. The thesis was based on fieldwork in 2008 which yielded 64 crowns (branches and leaves above stem) to work with, identified to species level.
Herpetofauna surveys have been underway since 2008 and so far 21 species of reptile have been identified as well as a number of amphibian species. The project continues to test out different survey methods.
A carbon assessment of the Cloud Forest determined there is an average above ground carbon stock of 143.63 (± 27.13) t C/ha (tons of carbon per hectare) and it is estimated that the reserve provides carbon sequestration of approximately 1600 tons C per annum.
Tolhurst, B.; M. Peck; J. N. Morales; T. Cane and, I. Recchio (2010) Extended distribution of recently described dipsadine colubrid snake: Atractus gigas. Herpetology Notes, 3: 73-75
Padbury, Martin (2009) An Investigation into Developing Aerial Taxonomic Keys for Remote Identification of Canopy Trees in Aerial Photographs. BSc thesis. University of Sussex, UK.
Brown, Matthew (2009) Testing the effectiveness of camera trapping as a surveying method for mammals in a cloud forest environment. BSc thesis. University of Sussex, UK.
Nicola Fry (2010) Monitoring Population Change of Bird Species within a Tropical Montane Cloud Forest, Ecuador. BSc thesis. University of Sussex, UK.
Nicholas Biddiscombe (2010) The Abundance and Diversity of Bromeliad-inhabiting Fauna in an Ecuadorian Cloud Forest, in Reference to the Theory of Island Biogeography. BSc thesis. University of Sussex, UK.
James Duffy (2010) More than just timber. Exploring the hydrological values of two tree species in a tropical montane cloud forest, Ecuador. BSc thesis. University of Sussex, UK.