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    Published: March 9, 2011

    Rapid Inventories

    Corine Vriesendorp, MacArthur Senior Conservation Ecologist and Director of the Andes-Amazon Program, Keller Science Action Center

    In an era when Google Earth can show us exactly where we are, it seems amazing that vast areas remain unexplored.  Yet, since 1999, our rapid inventories have brought together hundreds of partners to survey the Earth’s least known wilderness.  We have discovered more than 150 species new to science and increased the known ranges for more than 1,000 species. And, the ultimate result of these inventories is spectacular: 32 million acres of protected wilderness in the Amazon headwaters, Cuba, and China. 

    News on the latest conservation landscape

    Our process

    How do we mount a rapid inventory?

    Our impact

    We focus on conservation outcomes--working with governments to get new areas on the map.

    Our reports

    We put science in the hands of decision-makers, conservation organizations, and local people.

    Our team

    In our latest inventory in northern Peru we brought together local residents with museum scientists from around the world.

    Our training

    We are building a corps of rapid inventory scientists in Peru and Bolivia.


    Corine Vriesendorp
    MacArthur Senior Conservation Ecologist and Director of the Andes-Amazon Program

    As Director of the Andes-Amazon program, Dr. Corine Vriesendorp leads the Museum's work on conservation and quality of life of local people. She has been an integral part of the rapid inventory team since 2003, a program that has led to the discovery of more than 150 species new to science, and helped governments protect more than 9.4 million hectares of forest in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador.  An avid field biologist and plant ecologist, Dr. Vriesendorp participates in the inventories as a member of the botany team. Her interests and research bridge the continuum from basic to applied science. She began her career studying mahogany in Bolivia, researching the impact of logging practices on mahogany populations, and creating recommendations for better management practices.

    She went on to research seedling dynamics of a tropical forest community in Costa Rica, to understand birth and death processes in high-diversity forests and their implications for the conservation and management of these forests. Her seedling work is ongoing—she and her team have marked more than 40,000 seedlings since 1999.

    Dr. Vriesendorp is most fascinated by the connections among organisms, and although she has published peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and technical reports about plants, she also has written short natural history notes about mammals and amphibians.

    She received her B.A. from Princeton University, and her Phd from Michigan State University. Her dissertation was on the maintenance of plant diversity in a Costa Rican rainforest