Amazon Forest Inventory Network

Jungle Scene Jungle Scene Jungle Scene Jungle Scene Jungle Scene

Bolivia

  • May - June 2001
  • Noel Kempff National Park
Bolivia

A small group visited La Chonta Forest Reserve where the BOLFOR project has established a longterm experiment to investigate the impact of silvicultural treatments on the regenertion of timber species and on biodiversity. Within this experiment, BOLFOR researchers and collaborators are establishing a large area of control plots (so far, 2 x 24ha, trees>40cm dbh, with 8 ha inventoried at the level of trees>10cm dbh). The team applied the RAINFOR protocols for sampling soils and estimating diameter/height allometry, with the aim of eventually comparing different Amazonian forests to understand the climatic and soil factors controlling forest structure.

The team then moved on to Noel Kempff National Park, a very long drive in four-wheel drive to a remote and beautiful area. Bolivian botanists Luzmilla Arroyo, Alba Arbelaez and Marisol Garvizu and students from the Museo de Historia Natural in Santa Cruz, worked with researchers from Leeds (Oliver Phillips), Edinburgh (Yadvinder Malhi, Sandra Patino), the Max Planck Institut (Almuth Arneth, Jens Schmerler), and Brasilian soil scientists from Brasilia (Beto Quesada) and Manaus (Romilda Quintino de Paiva). This area is at the climatic edge of forest and savanna, and nine plots were recensused in different kinds of forest types, the team successfully overcoming considerable logistical 'challenges' - including aggressive bees and a steep climb up to the Huanchaca tabletop sandstone mountain.

The contrast with North Peru was marked - here in Bolivia there are many fewer species and smaller trees, presumably due to the climatic differences. But the similarities are interesting too - both areas feature a fantastic array of different vegetation types, all determined by local differences in soil depth and nutrients.