Bureaucratic obstruction of conservation science in the Guayana Highlands

Rull, Valentí; Vegas, Teresa; Nogué, Sandra and Montoya, Encarnacion (2008). Bureaucratic obstruction of conservation science in the Guayana Highlands. Conservation Biology, 22(3) pp. 508–509.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.00960.x

Abstract

Unfortunately, field research in the area [northern South America Guayana Highlands (GH)] has been stopped for nearly 20 years. Official permits to visit the tepui summits were suspended in 1989, until a detailed management plan could be made (Huber 1995a). Today most of the tepuis are in national parks and other protection areas, and there is also a special policy for their summits (Huber 1995a). There is an administrative process through which fieldwork permits can be obtained, but the process is so difficult that no scientific expedition has been carried out since closure of the area. Studies involving genetic analysis are not allowed. Thus, officials will not consider permit requests that do not explicitly state that no samples will be used for any type of genetic study. This prohibition makes it impossible to develop phylogenetic and phylogeographic surveys, which are crucial to understanding the origin and maintenance of GH biodiversity (Rull 2007).

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