Rainforest Canopy

Canopy ant

To create efficient nature conservation strategies, it is necessary to understand how biodiversity is distributed horizontally (between geographically distant sites), vertically (from the tip of the root to the top of the tree), and according to environmental factors (elevation, temperature, humidity, soil, etc.).

Our team specialises in the study of ants and termites, which account for one third of the animal biomass in a tropical rainforest. They play a number of roles in the ecosystem, mainly as predators of other insects (ants control the populations of insect herbivores) or in wood decomposition (termites help to recycle nutrients for plants).

Canopy balloon

Up to half of a forest’s biodiversity lives in the tree tops (canopy). The canopy is difficult to reach as tropical trees can easily grow up to 30 or 40 metres tall. So, we are developing methods for collecting animals in the canopy, either from ground level or from the tree tops, by using balloons.

We contribute to biodiversity exploration in regions that are still largely unexplored, by co-organising and collaborating in international expeditions under the IBISCA and Our Planet Reviewed programmes. For example, we participated in the first estimation of the number of insects and other arthropods in a tropical rainforest in Panama. In Papua New Guinea, we are participating in projects combining research, capacity building, sustainable development and nature conservation.

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