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Fabiola Rodríguez – March 30

Posted on Mar 21, 2016

Speaker Series Event – March 30, 2016 at 7:00pm with the Roger Tory Peterson Institute Ornithological Club

Title: The Ecology and Conservation Challenges of the Honduran Emerald in the Agalta Valley

Presenter: Fabiola Rodríguez, Masters in Biology student

Institution: Indiana University of Pennsylvania & Indiana University of Pennsylvania Research Institute


The Honduran Emerald (Amazilia luciae) is the only endemic bird to Honduras. This hummingbird species is included in the IUCN’s Red List as endangered and its population is considered to be in decline. Honduran Emeralds inhabit thorn forest found in arid inter-montane valleys. These inter-montane valleys have seen a change in land use for human development purposes including activities associated with agricultural production, cattle grazing, and road infrastructure projects. Such development is the basis for the Agalta Valley’s economy. As such, activities that improve existing or create new opportunities for economic growth will benefit regional communities and Honduras, in general. Any development project has economic and social value, but these need to advance carefully when they are in proximity or within fragile ecosystems. A scientific foundation should guide conservation and mitigation actions after development projects (i.e. road constructions).



A consultancy was commissioned to propose strategies for the conservation of the Honduran Emerald’s habitat in Agalta Valley after the construction of the Agricultural Corridor Project (ACP). The ACP phase in the department of Olancho traversed a section of Agalta Valley where dry forest patches are found. These remnants are home to this endemic bird as well as other endemic plant species. We studied the Honduran Emerald in the sector of the Agalta Valley within the ACP. Our research shows the areas with the highest probability of occurrence based on a species distribution map and our observational data highlight the importance of the dry forest ecosystem as it is used through-out the year for diverse ecological processes. Based on this experience, we recognize the dry forest remnants frailty and emphasize how the on-going habitat stress makes this species and its habitat a conservation priority. These findings are intended to provide our in-country partners with science-based insight regarding patterns of the species’ distribution and resource selection in the Agalta Valley.

We hope you will be able to attend! The free and public event will take place at RTPI – 311 Curtis St., Jamestown, NY 14701.