Powering Conservation: An Interview with Ethan Duvall on Using Our Batteries to Uncover the Impacts of Biodiversity Loss in the Western Amazonia

Paleblue rechargeable batteries

Deep within the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon, a vast and dense region brimming with biodiversity, Ethan Duvall embarked on an ambitious mission this summer. Over the span of three months, surrounded by the verdant foliage and echoing calls of creatures such as the South American tapir and spider monkeys, Duvall and his team trekked tirelessly, gathering a myriad of samples from plants, soil, water, and even wildlife feces. Their overarching mission? To unravel the intricate consequences of biodiversity loss in the western Amazonia, particularly in the traditional territories of the Kichwa and Waorani people. Beyond this, Duvall's research holds a concentrated lens on the pivotal role animals play in the nutrient cycling of these rainforests. Amidst the growing threats of overhunting and oil extraction, understanding these roles is of paramount importance, as they form the foundation for conservation and restoration initiatives in this pristine haven.

As any field researcher would attest, the tools used are as vital as the intent. Here, Paleblue's innovative rechargeable batteries proved instrumental in powering essential equipment, providing both sustainability and exceptional performance, synergizing seamlessly with the research's core ethos of conservation and environmental mindfulness.

- Tell us about your experience in the field and why you were there?
This summer, I spent almost 3 months at a remote field site in the Ecuadorian Amazon, the traditional territory of the Kichwa and Waorani people. My purpose was to collect data needed to understand the consequences of biodiversity loss in western Amazonia. We hiked over 5km a day and encountered an incredible amount of wildlife, including South American tapir, howler and spider monkeys, giant armadillo, and much more. We collected plant, soil, water, and fecal samples, and installed wildlife cameras across a wide extent, allowing us to quantify the impacts of animals on ecosystem processes.

- What is the overall goal/objective for your research and how will it benefit the communities and wildlife in that region?
I am specifically focused on the role of animals in rainforest nutrient cycling and how this is affected by overhunting and oil extraction - two pervasive threats to animals in the rainforest. To consider the effects of losing wildlife populations, we must first understand the roles that animals play in supporting and sustaining ecosystems. This information can ultimately be used to elucidate potentially overlooked consequences of human activities in this pristine area, and to support wildlife conservation and future restoration planning.

- How has Paleblue benefited your research and what successes did you see using the products?
Our research requires a large number of batteries to power wildlife cameras, GPS devices, headlamps, computers, analytical instruments, and much more. In the field, single-use batteries can become a huge source of waste, and don't provide the long-term output that we need. Paleblue provided us with rechargeable AA batteries that we were able to test and implement as a more reliable and sustainable solution to batter waste issues. We were thrilled by the high-performance of the batteries, which gave us a more consistent and long-lasting output than our regular rechargeable or single use batteries. Long-term, Paleblue batteries will cut our high battery costs and eliminate a huge source of battery waste, making us feel a lot better about the work we do.