Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Satellite Imaging Research Could Save The Lemur In Madagascar

Date:
March 13, 2008
Source:
Washington University in St Louis
Summary:
New satellite imaging research may help save the dwindling lemur population in the African nation of Madagascar. Using satellite imagery, GIS and ecological and demographic data from the field, researchers have studied the effects of deforestation on the ringtailed lemur population in Madagascar during the last forty years.

Lemur population in Madascar has declined sharply since the 1950s. Through education and conservation, a WUSTL expert hopes the trend will one day be reversed.
Credit: Image courtesy of Washington University in St Louis

New satellite imaging research may help save the dwindling lemur population in the African nation of Madagascar.

Using satellite imagery, GIS and ecological and demographic data from the field, Robert W. Sussman, Ph.D., professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has studied the effects of deforestation on the ringtailed lemur population in Madagascar during the last forty years.

He has determined that while causes of deforestation vary in different parts of the African island nation, the total lemur (lemur catta) population has dropped by more than half since the 1950s. Sussman discussed his long-term field research project in "Habitat Monitoring by GPS in Madagascar" during the "From Global to Local: Impact of Field Research in Biological Anthropology" session Sunday, Feb. 17, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston, Mass.

Sussman, who first began studying lemur populations in Madagascar in 1969, continues to conduct and coordinate long-term research of the demography, ecology and social organization of lemurs at the Beza Mahafaly Reserve and in southern Madagascar.

He is co-founder of the reserve, which began as part of a cooperative program in research, conservation, education and development between Washington University in St. Louis, Yale University and the University of Madagascar (currently University of Antananarivo), which also manages the reserve.

In the years since its development in 1978, hundreds of research papers have been written about the flora, fauna and people of Madagascar. Education programs on the local animals and conservation have been developed for the local people. Many non-Malagasy students have completed their doctoral field work in the area, and more than 100 local students have earned graduate degrees based on research done at and around the reserve.

Sussman now uses the reserve as a base for his GIS and satellite imagery studies of southwestern Madagascar — the entire range of the ringtailed lemurs. He is looking at the relationship between deforestation, land use by the human population, and the density and distribution of ringtailed lemurs.

While sifting through satellite data going back to 1950, Sussman and colleagues have determined a measure of "greenness" of the land over time. There is an 80 percent correlation between the level of greenness and the lemur population density, said Sussman. The lemurs congregate in the greener areas, but those areas are also the ones being deforested at the fastest rate.

While it is estimated that the lemur population in Madagascar has dropped to a total of approximately 750,000 from more than 1.5 million in the 1950s, Sussman hopes the trend will one day be reversed.

"Through education and conservation, we can make positive steps," he said. "We must work with the local people to help stop the damaging effects of deforestation, not only to the animal populations, but to the human population as well."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St Louis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Washington University in St Louis. "New Satellite Imaging Research Could Save The Lemur In Madagascar." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080310174132.htm>.
Washington University in St Louis. (2008, March 13). New Satellite Imaging Research Could Save The Lemur In Madagascar. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080310174132.htm
Washington University in St Louis. "New Satellite Imaging Research Could Save The Lemur In Madagascar." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080310174132.htm (accessed September 29, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins