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Francisco Dallmeier: 1953—: Biologist

Headed The Camisea Project

The Camisea Project has exemplified the type of collaboration initiated under Dallmeier's direction, between the Peruvian government and a division of Shell Corporation called Shell Prospecting and Development (SPDP). The team embarked on the development of a major gas project in the Lower Urubamba River Valley of the southeastern Amazon, near the Camisea River. The Camisea Project was initiated in order to bring a major new source of energy to Peru, and with it, new industry and economic development. However, the gas and condensate reservoirs were near Manu National Park and another bioreserve in the Amazonian lowlands, where much of Peru's biodiversity is localized. Between 1996 and 1999 Dallmeier's group collaborated with a team of more than 100 individuals, including native guides and Peruvian and international research scientists, to collect information at well sites and at selected points along both rivers and along the proposed pipeline routes. The research teams identified 152 species of plants, as well as 198 bird species, 118 species of fish, 86 types of reptiles, and more than 100 species of small mammals, including bats and rodents. The SI/MAB found the region "to be in nearly pristine condition," without evidence of human activity. These findings led SPDP to relocate its gas plant in another area that had been previously deforested for farming, rather than deforesting a new region. They planned to use helicopters for transporting workers, equipment, and supplies, instead of building new roads that would fragment wildlife habitat and encourage invasive species, poachers, and development. Long-term monitoring would be used to determine how the project was affecting natural systems, and additional monitoring sites would be established along the proposed pipeline route to Lima.

Although the SI/MAB Camisea Project has become a model for other such undertakings in developing countries, its ultimate fate is as yet undetermined. By mid-1998 Shell had dropped out of the project, due to cost overruns and the lack of a Peruvian gas market. The project was taken over by a consortium of companies that have since come under increasing criticism from environmental groups in the United States, Peru, and elsewhere around the world.

Dallmeier is the author or editor of more than 70 scientific publications. Over the course of his career, he has conducted fieldwork in the tropical forests of 23 different countries and coordinated more than 60 research and training programs in developing countries. His ongoing projects include assessment and monitoring in several countries, as well as the SI-CRC Conservation Training Program in Biodiversity Assessment and Monitoring for Adaptive Management. In addition, Dallmeier has continued his work with the Smithsonian Environmental Leadership Course.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Ciara Biography - Wrote Out Goals to Elizabeth David (1913–1992) BiographyFrancisco Dallmeier: 1953—: Biologist Biography - Trained In Wildlife Biology, Joined The Smithsonian Institution, Initiated New Approaches To Biodiversity Conservation, Headed The Camisea Project