Illustrating a Better Future for Cotton-top Tamarins

Earthzine2015 Spring VPS, Analyzing Air Quality and Habitat Health, DEVELOP Virtual Poster Session

Category: Analyzing Air Quality and Habitat Health

Project Team: Colombia Ecological Forecasting III

Team Location: University of Georgia – Athens, Georgia

Identifying suitable areas for conservation and reforestation efforts based on the results from the Cotton-top Tamarin Suitability Forest Model. Image Credit: Colombia Ecological Forecasting III Team


Caren Remillard

Mohamed Amin

Hillary Essig

Peter Hawman

Tunan Hu


Dr. Marguerite Madden (University of Georgia Center for Geospatial Research)

Dr. Thomas Jordan (University of Georgia Center for Geospatial Research)

Dr. Nathan Nibbelink (University of Georgia)

Daniel Mesa (University of North Georgia)

Steve Padgett-Vasquez (University of Georgia)

Past/Other Contributors:

Erick Braun

Ning Chen

Nikos Kavoori

Suravi Shrestha

Zennure Ucar

Xiaohe Yu


The Cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus 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). Approximately 6,000 individuals remain. The majority of the forest within the tamarin’s range has been cleared for agriculture or ranching. The NASA DEVELOP Columbia Ecological Forecasting team at the University of Georgia partnered with Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Proyecto TitÌ_ — a conservation program that makes the preservation of natural resources feasible for local communities in Colombia through education, fieldwork, and community outreach — to address the plight of the Cotton-top tamarin. This project utilized data collected by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) onboard Landsat 8 to examine suitable tamarin habitat and identify practical areas for the implement of reforestation and conservation efforts. The team developed a multi-input model called the Cotton-top Tamarin Suitable Forest Model (CTSFM). The CTSFM integrated landscape metric calculations, slope, field data, and proximity to selected features with a land use/cover classification map constructed during the previous term. The results will assist Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Proyecto TitÌ_ in purchasing and protecting land with the most potential for forest connectivity. This will ultimately provide a more continuous habitat for the Cotton-top tamarins and sympatric species.

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