Cotton Tops the IUCN Red List

Project Team: Colombia Ecological Forecasting Team
Team Location: University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

This map displays the historical range of cotton-top tamarins in the northwest corner of Colombia and the 2014 land cover classification results. Image Credit: Colombia Ecological Forecasting Team.

This map displays the historical range of cotton-top tamarins in the northwest corner of Colombia and the 2014 land cover classification results. Image Credit: Colombia Ecological Forecasting Team.

Authors:
Caren Remillard, Project Lead (University of Georgia)
Hillary Essig (University of Georgia)
Peter Hawman (University of Georgia)
Nikos Kavoori (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Suravi Shrestha (Westminster College)
Zennure Ucar (University of Georgia)
Xiaohe Yu (State University of New York at Buffalo)

Mentors/Advisors:
Dr. Marguerite Madden (University of Georgia)
Dr. Thomas Jordan (University of Georgia)
Dr. Sergio Bernardes (University of Georgia)
Steve Padgett-Vasquez (University of Georgia)
Daniel Mesa (University of North Georgia)

Abstract:
The cotton-top tamarin (Saginus oedipus), a New World primate endemic to the forests of Northwest Colombia, is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with approximately 6,000 individuals remaining. Major threats to these tamarins include deforestation from the logging industry, agriculture, and urbanization. This project partnered with Proyecto Tití, a conservation program that makes the preservation of natural resources feasible for local communities in Colombia through education, field work, and community outreach. This project utilized Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM), Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) for the years 1991, 2002, and 2014, respectively, and integrated vegetation field transect data within the historic range. With this data, the following was produced: 1) a historical time series illustrating deforestation within the Proyecto Tití study area of tamarin habitat; 2) a current, broad-scale land use/land cover map covering the entire historic range of the cotton-top tamarin, attempting to distinguish suitable habitat; and 3) a connectivity map identifying forest patches suitable for tamarin habitat and forecasting areas in need of protection and restoration. Field data collected by Proyecto Tití was used to conduct an accuracy assessment and validate the forest type. The incorporation of NASA Earth observations and technology will allow Proyecto Tití’s efforts to go further by providing partners with visual tools and quantitative information regarding this critical animal habitat that can be used internally, and shared with the local community.

 

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