Amazon Forest Inventory Network

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Bolivia: NERC urgency grant

  • February - March 2011
Bolivia: NERC urgency grant

With funding from a NERC Urgency Grant to the University of Leeds a team of 9 people led by Alejandro Murakami (Museo de Historia Natural de Parque Noel Kempff, Bolivia)  and Yoko Ishida (INPA, Brazil) started a recensus to include about 10 permanent sample plots in Bolivia. With trip logistics having been organised by Ted Feldpausch (Leeds) and Chiqui Arrayo (Museo de Historia Natural de Parque Noel Kempff, Bolivia) recensus and leaf/ wood sampling were undertaken for permanent sample plots in seasonally dry forest (Chiquitano) and savanna, first for three plots at “Ottavio” (near San Ignacio de Velasco) and then a further three plots at Tucavaca (near San Jose de Chiquitos). Travelling down from the UK with 30 kg of field gear and joining the team for the first few days at Ottavio was Jon Lloyd (University of Leeds & James Cook University, Australia). Despite the area around Ottavio having been subject to a severe drought in 2010, there were few (if any) obvious indications that the forests and/or savannas of the region has suffered. Disappointment followed, however, when the team moved north to resample the transitional forest at the Acuario site (about 100 km south of Parque National Noel Kempff) which, after 1½ hard days travelled was found to have almost been completely destroyed by settlers expanding out from nearby settlements. Measurements were, however, made on what trees remained. In April the Bolivian team members will return to Noel Kempff to recensus forest and savanna plots. This was the first of two recensus campaigns planned under the NERC Urgency Grant. In March/April a team led by Beatriz Marimon, Ben Hur Marimon, Ricardo Umetsu (Univ. Estadual de Mato Grosso) and Yoko Ishida will resample the Nova Xavantina region of Mato Grosso, Brazil to coincide with previous RAINFOR/TROBIT census. In all sites in Bolivia and Mato Grosso team members are trained in plant trait/physiological measurements of trees to evaluate the potential role of physiological adaptations to drought. This "urgency" research will provide insight into how forest composition and structure may change due to physiological tree traits selected for by drought, an important first step to determine long-term impacts of potential increasing drought frequency in transitional Amazonian forest and savanna.