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Cassowaries and Rainforest Conservation in Papua New Guinea

Date(s) - Tue May 15, 2018
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Bellwood-Antis Public Library


Andrew Mack lived and studied in Papua New Guinea (PNG) most of 1987-2007.  PNG is home to the third largest rainforest in the world and home to the third largest species of bird — cassowaries. These secretive birds are specialist frugivores (fruit-eaters) living in the dark understory of the rainforest where they disperse the seeds of many tree species too large for other animals to eat.  Thus, they are important ecological keystone species.  Many of the trees in the forest started out germinating from the droppings of cassowaries, and these were the subject of Mack’s research: bird droppings.   But the birds are also important in the diets and cultures of the hundreds of distinct cultures found only in this small country.  His ecological research morphed into conservation work with landowners working to sustain their traditions and food security while moving to a better quality of life.

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