Trip To Jau National Park

Mario Cohn-Haft - December 1996

    The Jau trip went from 5-18 Nov. and, much like last year’s trip, involved as many days en route as actually in the woods. The Jau National Park is the largest park in Brazil, protecting an area of virgin rainforest the size of some European countries. The Rio Jau flows into the Rio Negro about halfway between Manaus and Barcelos. Our field party was made up of researchers from several different disciplines. Sergio, Curtis, and I (with a mateiro) were the bird crew. Other participants were Carlos, who’s doing a master’s on the sustainability of vine extraction for use in brooms and baskets, and a mammal crew composed of Jim from Berkeley, Lele (curator of mammals in Manaus and ex-advisee of Jim’s), and several of Jim’s current students. These others all worked in different parts of the park, although we shared a few days on the boat at the beginning and end of the trip.

The mammal crew had been in the park for several weeks earlier, before all rushing back to Manaus with malaria. One guy (Yuri, Berkeley student from Minas Gerais) had two different types of malaria at the same time and had to be treated twice before they both got diagnosed and cured. Also, they’d all got botflies as well, so we were braced for a number of potential annoyances.

The objective of this trip for the bird crew was to check out a huge “campina” in a remote part of the park. Campina is a type of low, shrubby vegetation that can be found growing on isolated pockets of pure white sand soil amid areas of otherwise unbroken rainforest. This particular campina had been visited briefly before, long enough to find and even collect a few typical campina birds, but not to really do it up thoroughly. Since that earlier trip, the trail out to the campina had been improved (which is to say, rediscovered in the regrowth) and a simple camp partially constructed at the nearest stream, about 15 min from the campina. Satellite images and aerial photographs revealed that the open area of the campina was about 2 km across and that there was extensive "campinarana" (low woods) around it.

Back to Field Journals Menu Mario Cohn-Haft's BIOgraphy Trip To Jau National Park     1    2    3    4    5