Very little ecological research has been carried out in the Comoros and so there isa lack of information on which to base conservation interventions in the region. In ecological terms, the ECDD project prioritised the collection of information about thestate of forests and endemic biodiversity, and the evaluation of threats. This was carried out with a view to supporting conservation interventions in the Comoros.
The project set up permanent sampling sites across three islands where data has been collected twice a year (in dry and wet seasons) to monitor the cover and quality of the forest,the populations and distribution of butterflies, reptiles, birds and important mammal species. The monitoring programme aimed to produce an accuratepicture of the biodiversity habitats and habits across the islands in order to identifyareas of priority for conservation, and to monitor the impact of local conservation activities.
Available on request: Terrestrial biodiversity maps of the Comoros (maps showing the distribution of endemic birds, butterflies and reptiles in Anjouan, Mohéli and Grande Comore).
Detailed mapping of land cover is an essential tool for species distribution modelling and for monitoring changes in forest cover. In 2012, the ECDD project team completed the first high resolution land cover maps for the three Comoro islands, thanks to satellite images specially commissioned for this purpose. These maps identify areas of natural forest, agricultural land and villages and, together with the results of biodiversity monitoring, are used to model the distribution of endemic and threatened species in order to define the most important conservation areas. By providing an estimation of the extent and boundaries of the remaining forest cover, they can be used to monitor degradation and deforestation and will be made available to researchers and projects under shared authorisation.
Available on demand: forest maps of the Comoros (maps of land cover, natural forest and degraded forest for Anjouan, Mohéli and Grande Comore)
Research on priority species requiring conservation
In addition to ecological monitoring, the team also conducted detailed research into priority species that require conservation.
In 2008 and 2010, the project carried out research into the Anjouan Scops Owl, which is critically endangered, in order to create an up-to-date population assessment and distribution model for the species.
Research to evaluate the Livingstone Fruit Bat population was carried out for dry and wet seasons in 2011-12.