The Brazilian Amazon Forest Business Collaborative (Rainforest Business Collaborative) is set up from a secretariat – “Hub” – at the Amazonas State University in Manaus (UEA).
The Collaborative brings together relevant organizations in the Amazon that will participate in building business capabilities of different actors, along the value chains of bioeconomy, all based on the sustainable use of Amazon sociobiodiversity for local, national and global benefit.
The Rainforest Business Collaborative (associated with UEA) will facilitate engagements/replication of courses with other universities and learning centers in the Brazilian Amazon and Pan Amazon, as well as promote international collaborations.
A Global Perspective on Firefly Extinction Threats
Sara M Lewis, Choong Hay Wong, Avalon C. S. Owens, Candace Fallon, Sarina Jepsen, Anchana Thancharoen, Chiahsiung Wu, Raphael De Cock, Martin Novák, Tania López Palafox, Veronica Khoo, J. Michael J. Michael
Abstract – Insect declines and their drivers have attracted considerable recent attention. Fireflies and glowworms are iconic insects whose conspicuous bioluminescent courtship displays carry unique cultural significance, giving them economic value as ecotourist attractions. Despite evidence of declines, a comprehensive review of the conservation status and threats facing the approximately 2000 firefly species worldwide is lacking. We conducted a survey of experts from diverse geographic regions to identify the most prominent perceived threats to firefly population and species persistence. Habitat loss, light pollution, and pesticide use were regarded as the most serious threats, although rankings differed substantially across regions. Our survey results accompany a comprehensive review of current evidence concerning the impact of these stressors on firefly populations. We also discuss risk factors likely to increase the vulnerability of certain species to particular threats. Finally, we highlight the need to establish monitoring programs to track long-term population trends for at-risk firefly taxa
Economics of Sustainable Development and the Bioeconomy
David Zilberman, Ben Gordon, Gal Hochman, Justus Wesseler
Abstract – Sustainable development can be attained by policies that are derived by analyses that integrate biophysical considerations into economic models. We show that policies and incentives that correct market failure can attain sustainable development through enhancing conservation, recycling, the use of renewable resources, and development of the bioeconomy, which relies on biological processes and feedstock to produce renewable products. The design of sustainable development policies and analysis of the bioeconomy pose new challenges to applied economists, who are uniquely qualified to integrate economic analysis with biophysical considerations.
Opportunities and Trade-offs among BECCS and the Food, Water, Energy, Biodiversity, and Social Systems Nexus at Regional Scales
Paul C. Stoy, Selena Ahmed, Meghann Jarchow, Benjamin Rashford, David Swanson, Shannon Albeke, Gabriel Bromley, E. N. J. Brookshire, Mark D. Dixon, Julia Haggerty, Perry Miller, Brent Peyton, Alisa Royem, Lee Spangler, Crista Straub, Benjamin Poulter
Abstract – Carbon dioxide must be removed from the atmosphere to limit climate change to 2°C or less. The integrated assessment models used to develop climate policy acknowledge the need to implement net negative carbon emission strategies, including bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), to meet global climate imperatives. The implications of BECCS for the food, water, energy, biodiversity, and social systems (FWEBS) nexus at regional scales, however, remain unclear. Here, we present an interdisciplinary research framework to examine the trade-offs as well as the opportunities among BECCS scenarios and FWEBS on regional scales using the Upper Missouri River Basin (UMRB) as a case study. We describe the physical, biological, and social attributes of the UMRB, and we use grassland bird populations as an example of how biodiversity is influenced by energy transitions, including BECCS. We then outline a “conservation” BECCS strategy that incorporates societal values and emphasizes biodiversity conservation.
Mating System and Effective Population Size of the Overexploited Neotropical Tree (Myroxylon peruiferum L.f.) and Their Impact on Seedling Production
Ellida de Aguiar Silvestre, Kaiser Dias Schwarcz, Carolina Grando, Jaqueline Bueno Campos, Patricia Sanae Sujii, Evandro Vagner Tambarussi, Camila Menezes Trindade Macrini, José Baldin Pinheiro, Pedro Henrique Santin Brancalion, Maria Imaculada Zucchi
Abstract – The reproductive system of a tree species has substantial impact on genetic diversity and structure within and among natural populations. Such information, should be considered when planning tree planting for forest restoration. Here, we describe the mating system and genetic diversity of an overexploited Neotropical tree, Myroxylon peruiferum L.f. (Fabaceae) sampled from a forest remnant (10 seed trees and 200 seeds) and assess whether the effective population size of nurserygrown seedlings (148 seedlings) is sufficient to prevent inbreeding depression in reintroduced populations. Genetic analyses were performed based on 8 microsatellite loci. M. peruiferum presented a mixed mating system with evidence of biparental inbreeding ( tˆ tˆ m s − = 0.118). We found low levels of genetic diversity for M. peruiferum species (allelic richness: 1.40 to 4.82; expected heterozygosity: 0.29 to 0.52). Based on Ne v ( ) within progeny, we suggest a sample size of 47 seed trees to achieve an effective population size of 100. The effective population sizes for the nursery-grown seedlings were much smaller (Ne = 27.54–34.86) than that recommended for short term (Ne ≥ 100) population conservation. Therefore, to obtain a reasonable genetic representation of native tree species and prevent problems associated with inbreeding depression, seedling production for restoration purposes may require a much larger sampling effort than is currently used, a problem that is further complicated by species with a mixed mating system. This study emphasizes the need to integrate species reproductive biology into seedling production programs and connect conservation genetics with ecological restoration.
Trade-offs Between Water Transport Capacity and Drought Resistance in Neotropical Canopy Liana and Tree Species
Mark E De Guzman, Louis S Santiago, Stefan A Schnitzer, Leonor Álvarez Cansino
Abstract – In tropical forest canopies, it is critical for upper shoots to efficiently provide water to leaves for physiological function while safely preventing loss of hydraulic conductivity due to cavitation during periods of soil water deficit or high evaporative demand. We compared hydraulic physiology of upper canopy trees and lianas in a seasonally dry tropical forest to test whether trade-offs between safety and efficiency of water transport shape differences in hydraulic function between these two major tropical woody growth forms. We found that lianas showed greater maximum stem-specific hydraulic conductivity than trees, but lost hydraulic conductivity at less negative water potentials than trees, resulting in a negative correlation and trade-off between safety and efficiency of water transport. Lianas also exhibited greater diurnal changes in leaf water potential than trees. The magnitude of diurnal water potential change was negatively correlated with sapwood capacitance, indicating that lianas are highly reliant on conducting capability to maintain leaf water status, whereas trees relied more on stored water in stems to maintain leaf water status. Leaf nitrogen concentration was related to maximum leafspecific hydraulic conductivity only for lianas suggesting that greater water transport capacity is more tied to leaf processes in lianas compared to trees. Our results are consistent with a trade-off between safety and efficiency of water transport and may have implications for increasing liana abundance in neotropical forests.
Looking Like the Land: Beauty and Aesthetics in Amazonian Quichua Philosophy and Practice
Tod D. Swanson, Jarrad Reddekop
Abstract – This article offers an account of Quichua thinking about beauty in the Ecuadorian Amazon: how it is grounded in a philosophical tradition that conceives the world and the self in “perspectivist” and relational terms, and how experiences of beauty play specific roles and attain a particular kind of sense within that context. In particular, we show how indigenous Quichua ideas about beauty inform a range of everyday practices and are intimately connected to distinct ideas about what it means to live a good or mature life. This maturity involves cultivating the self as a body shared with the land, taking on its styles, and responding empathetically to it. But it also means leaving space for others, respecting the boundaries of privacy that emerge through the differentiation of species and the formation of distinct aesthetic communities within particular territories.
Phylogenetic analysis of Attalea (Arecaceae): insights into the historical biogeography of a recently diversified Neotropical plant group
Cintia Freitas, Alan W. Meerow, Jean Christophe Pintaud, Andrew Henderson, Larry Noblick, Flavia R. C. Costa, Carlos E Barbosa, David Barrington
Abstract – The incorporation of molecular phylogenetic information is now standard for finding relationships between species (Roncal et al., 2010) and testing biogeographical hypotheses (Crisp, Trewick & Cook, 2011) to establish and ultimately to test hypotheses related to patterns of richness in tropical regions (e.g. Bjorholm, Svenning & Baker, 2006). However, in tropical regions, where biodiversity is highest, the lack of collections from remote areas (Hopkins, 2007) and the incomplete nature of the collections that have been made impede the correct delineation of phylogenetic relationships, the development of accurate biogeographical hypotheses and our understanding of the evolutionary history of species (Roncal et al., 2010; Crisp et al., 2011). Arecaceae are an ideal group for testing biogeographical hypotheses in tropical areas because palms are diverse and abundant, have a long evolutionary history in humid forests (Roncal et al., 2010; Baker & Couvreur, 2013a), are known to influence the distribution of other species (Terborgh, 1992) and are phylogenetically well resolved at the subfamilial level (Asmussen et al., 2006; Couvreur, Forest & Baker, 2011).
A failed Social Licence to Operate for the neoliberal modernization of Amazonian resource use: the underlying causes of the Bagua tragedy of Peru
Wil Jong, David Humphreys
Abstract – The concept of a social licence to operate (SLO) was originally developed for mining and has since been extended to other resource extraction operations, such as forestry. We develop and apply SLO theory as the conceptual framework to analyse neoliberal economic development in the Peruvian Amazon. The Peruvian administration of Alan García secured a legal licence to pursue this programme through legislative decrees, but the policies were not considered legitimate by Amazonian communities. As such the administration lacked a SLO from the communities affected by the policies. The failure to obtain a SLO led to civil protests culminating in violent confrontations between police and citizens causing 33 deaths. Theoretically, the study extends SLO analysis from projects proposed by companies and contested by communities to government policy decisions that may support actions by companies but which are contested by a range of social actors. The state, we argue, is not a neutral arbitrator in economic development and resource extraction but an active political agent. As such, it needs to legitimize its policies. In addition to the SLO literature, therefore, we also draw from legitimacy theory and argue that legitimacy requires both legal compliance and coherence with wider societal norms and standards.
When You Get What You Haven’t Paid for: Molecular Identification of “Douradinha” Fish Fillets Can Help End the Illegal Use of River Dolphins as Bait in Brazil
Haydée A. Cunha, Vera M. F. da Silva, Teresa E. C. Santos, Stella M. Moreira, Nivia A. S. do Carmo, Antonio M. Solé-Cava
Abstract – The fishery for Calophysus macropterus, an Amazonian necrophagous catfish, is highly detrimental to river dolphins and caimans, which are deliberately killed for use as bait. In the Brazilian Amazon, this fishery has increased over the last decade, in spite of the rejection of scavenger fishes by Brazilian consumers. It was suspected that C. macropterus fillets were being sold in Brazilian markets, disguised as a fictitious fish (the “douradinha”). We collected 62 fillets from “douradinha” and other suspiciously named fish from 4 fish-processing plants sold at 6 markets in Manaus, in the Brazilian Amazon, and sequenced the cytochrome b gene to identify fillets to species. Sixty percent of fillets labeled “douradinha” or with other deceptive names were actually C. macropterus. Six other fish species of low commercial value were also found. The presence of dolphin tissue in the stomach contents of C. macropterus was confirmed by mtDNA control region sequencing. Our results formed the scientific basis for a moratorium on the fishing and fraudulent selling of C. macropterus, issued by the Brazilian Ministries of the Environment and Fisheries. Exposure of this fraud via the mass media can help end the illegal use of dolphins as bait in Brazil.
Records of the bush dog (Speothos venaticus) in Central Amazonia, Brazil
Daniel Gomes da Rocha,* Emiliano Esterci Ramalho, Guilherme Costa Alvarenga, Diogo Maia Gräbin, and William Ernest Magnusson
Abstract – The bush dog (Speothos venaticus) is a small Neotropical canid. Although its distribution covers the entire Amazon basin, the occurrence of bush dogs in vast areas of the Amazon remains hypothetical. The records of bush dogs presented in this study reduce a large gap in the known distribution of the species in Central Amazonia and include the 1st documentation of the species from forest seasonally flooded by black water (Igapó).
Terrestrial isopods (Crustacea: Isopoda: Oniscidea) from Brazilian caves
Ivanklin Soares Campos-Filho, Paula Beatriz Araujo, Maria Elina Bichuette, Eleonora Trajano, Stefano Taiti
Abstract – To date, six species of terrestrial isopods were known from Brazilian caves, but only four could be classified as troglobites. This article deals with material of Oniscidea collected in many Brazilian karst caves in the states of Pará, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul, and São Paulo, and deposited in the collections of the Museu de Zoologia, Universidade de São Paulo, the Coleção de Carcinologia do Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, and the collection of the Natural History Museum, Section of Zoology ‘La Specola’, Florence. Three new genera have been recognized: Spelunconiscus gen. nov. and Xangoniscus gen. nov. (Styloniscidae), and Leonardoscia gen. nov. (Philosciidae). Twenty-two species have been identified, 11 of which in the families Styloniscidae, Philosciidae, Scleropactidae, Plathyartridae, Dubioniscidae, and Armadillidae are new to science: Leonardoscia hassalli sp. nov., Metaprosekia quadriocellata sp. nov., Metaprosekia caupe sp. nov., Amazoniscus leistikowi sp. nov., Novamundoniscus altamiraensis sp. nov., Trichorhina yiara sp. nov., Trichorhina curupira sp. nov., and Ctenorillo ferrarai sp. nov. from Pará; Xangoniscus aganju sp. nov. from Bahia; and Spelunconiscus castroi sp. nov. and Trichorhina anhanguera sp. nov. from Minas Gerais. Four new species in the families Styloniscidae (Spelunconiscus castroi sp. nov. and Xangoniscus aganju sp. nov.), Philosciidae (Leonardoscia hassalli sp. nov.), and Scleropactidae (Amazoniscus leistikowi sp. nov.) with highly troglomorphic traits can be considered as troglobitic, whereas all the remaining species are either troglophilic or accidentals. Brazilian caves are now under potential threat because of recent legislation, and the knowledge of the subterranean biodiversity of the country is thus of primary importance.
Persistent effects of a severe drought on Amazonian forest canopy
Sassan Saatchi, Salvi Asefi-Najafabady, Yadvinder Malhi, Luiz E. O. C Aragão, Liana O. Anderson, Ranga B. Myneni, Ramakrishna Nemani
Abstract – Recent Amazonian droughts have drawn attention to the vulnerability of tropical forests to climate perturbations. Satellite and in situ observations have shown an increase in fire occurrence during drought years and tree mortality following severe droughts, but to date there has been no assessment of long-term impacts of these droughts across landscapes in Amazonia. Here, we use satellite microwave observations of rainfall and canopy backscatter to show that more than 70 million hectares of forest in western Amazonia experienced a strong water deficit during the dry season of 2005 and a closely corresponding decline in canopy structure and moisture. Remarkably, and despite the gradual recovery in total rainfall in subsequent years, the decrease in canopy backscatter persisted until the next major drought, in 2010. The decline in backscatter is attributed to changes in structure and water content associated with the forest upper canopy. The persistence of low backscatter supports the slow recovery (>4 y) of forest canopy structure after the severe drought in 2005. The result suggests that the occurrence of droughts in Amazonia at 5–10 y frequency may lead to persistent alteration of the forest canopy.
Equity and forest certification — A case study in Brazil
Luís Fernando Guedes Pinto, Constance McDermott
Abstract – Forest Stewardship Council certification aims to use markets to promote socially and environmentally responsible forest management, with a core principle of social “equity”. Yet there is no comprehensive framework for defining and assessing “equity”, nor is there a methodology for determining differences in definitions among forest stakeholders. We’ve employed an analytical framework to a case study of the FSC in Brazil to assess if FSC equity goals are coherent and adherent to its policies, standards and impacts, what factors in FSC’s implementation are influencing that coherency, and whether FSC’s policies on equity match expectations of stakeholders affected by certification. We found that contextual market factors, local capacity, and procedural rules governing the certification process influence FSC’s implementation in an asymmetric way, favoring the certification of large industrial firms over community-based operations. Meanwhile FSC policies and standards prioritize procedural and contextual equity within the operations of individual certified firms. This contrasts with the expectations of local stakeholders focused on distributive outcomes. In general, FSC’s ability to reach both its own and local stakeholder goals for equity relies on the proactive agency of actors committed to overcoming the many barriers to local benefit that are both external and internal to certification itself.
The ecological biogeography of Amazonia
Ana C. M. Malhado, Richard J. Ladle, Robert J. Whittaker, José Atanásio O. Neto, Yadvinder Malhi, Hans ter Steege
Abstract – The Amazon drainage basin (Amazonia) contains the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest in the world and is the most species-rich terrestrial ecosystem on Earth. In biogeographical terms, the Amazon rainforest is still somewhat of a mystery, beset by data shortfalls in many taxonomic groups, lacking systematic surveys and faced with the challenge of collecting and collating data over a vast area. Nevertheless, considerable progress has been made over the last 20 years, leading to new insights from diverse fields of study. One of the most exciting developments has been the creation of large international research networks which are collating and synthesizing information from widely scattered permanent botanical plots. Data from these networks and other studies are providing valuable new insights on contemporary biodiversity patterns and processes in Amazonia. Here we review the major findings of these networks and discuss the factors that correlate with and may explain the spatial distribution of Amazonian tree species and the factors that may underpin the emergent patterns of functional traits and diversity across the Amazon Basin.
New views on “old” carbon in the Amazon River: Insight from the source of organic carbon eroded from the Peruvian Andes
Kathryn E. Clark
Abstract – Mountain rivers play a key role in the delivery of particulate organic carbon (POC) to large river systems and the ocean. Due to the extent of its drainage area and runoff, the Amazon River is one of Earth’s most important biogeochemical systems. However, the source of POC eroded from the humid region of the Eastern Andes and the input of fossil POC from sedimentary rocks (POCfossil) remains poorly constrained. Here we collected suspended sediments from the Kosñipata River during flood events to better characterize Andean POC, measuring the nitrogen to organic carbon ratio (N/C), stable carbon isotopes (d13Corg) and radiocarbon (Δ14Corg). Δ14Corg values ranged from 711% to 15%, and significant linear trends between Δ14Corg, N/C and d13Corg suggested that this reflects the mixing of POCfossil with very young organic matter (Δ14Corg~50%) from the terrestrial biosphere (POCnon-fossil). Using N/C and Δ14Corg in an end-membermixing analysis, we quantify the fraction of POCfossil (to within 0.1) and find that it contributes a constant proportion of the suspended sediment mass (0.37 0.03%) and up to 80% of total POC. In contrast, the relative contribution of POCnon-fossil was variable, being most important during the rising limb and peak discharges of flood events. The newdata shed light on publishedmeasurements of “old” POC (low Δ14Corg) inAndean-fed tributaries of the Amazon River, with their Δ14Corg and d13Corg values consistent with variable addition of POCfossil. The findings suggest a greater persistence of Andean POC in the lowland Amazon than previously recognized.
Fine root dynamics along an elevational gradient in tropical Amazonian and Andean forests
Cecile A. J. Girardin
Abstract – The key role of tropical forest belowground carbon stocks and fluxes is well recognised as one of the main components of the terrestrial ecosystem carbon cycle. This study presents the first detailed investigation of spatial and temporal patterns of fine root stocks and fluxes in tropical forests along an elevational gradient, ranging from the Peruvian Andes (3020 m) to lowland Amazonia (194 m), with mean annual temperatures of 11.8 C to 26.4 C and annual rainfall values of 1900 to 1560 mm yr-1, respectively. Specifically, we analyse abiotic parameters controlling fine root dynamics, fine root growth characteristics, and seasonality of net primary productivity along the elevation gradient. Root and soil carbon stocks were measured by means of soil cores, and fine root productivity was recorded using rhizotron chambers and ingrowth cores. We find that mean annual fine root below ground net primary productivity in the montane forests (0–30 cm depth) ranged between 4.27 0.56 Mg C ha-1 yr-1 (1855 m) and 1.72 0.87 Mg C ha-1 yr-1 (3020 m). These values include a correction for finest roots (<0.6 mm diameter), which we suspect are under sampled, resulting in an underestimation of fine roots by up to 31% in current ingrowth core counting methods. We investigate the spatial and seasonal variation of fine root dynamics using soil depth profiles and an analysis of seasonal amplitude along the elevation gradient. We report a stronger seasonality of NPPFineRoot within the cloud immersion zone, most likely synchronised to seasonality of solar radiation. Finally, we provide the first insights into root growth characteristics along a tropical elevation transect: fine root area and fine root length increase significantly in the montane cloud forest. These insights into belowground carbon dynamics of tropical lowland and montane forests have significant implications for our understanding of the global tropical forest carbon cycle.
Spatial and temporal patterns of the recent warming of the Amazon forest
Juan C. Jiménez-Muñoz, José A. Sobrino, Cristian Mattar and Yadvinder Malhi
Abstract – In recent years, several studies have addressed the response of Amazonian forests to drought by analyzing anomalies in vegetation indices retrieved from satellite sensors. Attention was paid to Amazonia because of two major droughts in 2005 and 2010, which were considered amongst the most severe in a century. These drought events have been associated with increased tree mortality and a temporary shutdown of the Amazon carbon sink. The mortality has been attributed to water stress anomalies, though an additional effect might have resulted from thermal anomalies. Variations in surface temperature are believed to be closely related to drought events, but very few studies have analyzed this variable over the Amazonian region. Here we examine Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) land surface temperature (LST) products from the period 2000–2012 in Amazonia. We detected anomalous warming during the dry season (July to September) in the drought years 2005 and 2010, as well as in the years 2009, 2011, and 2012 and to a lesser extent in 2008, which implies anomalous warming in 5 of the last 7 years. Recent analysis also shows warming in 2012 from June to August. Land and sea temperature records were also examined using reanalysis data from 1979 to present. Our results show good agreement between MODIS LST and reanalysis data from 2000 to present and a clear link between warming over the Amazonian region and anomalies in sea surface temperature in both the Atlantic and Pacific regions.
Large-scale heterogeneity of Amazonian phenology revealed from 26-year long AVHRR/NDVI time-series
Fabrício B Silva, Yosio e Shimabukuro, Luiz E O C Aragão, Liana O Anderson, Gabriel Pereira, Franciele Cardozo and Egídio Arai
Abstract – Depiction of phenological cycles in tropical forests is critical for an understanding of seasonal patterns in carbon and water fluxes as well as the responses of vegetation to climate variations. However, the detection of clear spatially explicit phenological patterns across Amazonia has proven difficult using data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). In this work, we propose an alternative approach based on a 26-year time-series of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) to identify regions with homogeneous phenological cycles in Amazonia. Specifically, we aim to use a pattern recognition technique, based on temporal signal processing concepts, to map Amazonian phenoregions and to compare the identified patterns with field-derived information. Our automated method recognized 26 phenoregions with unique intra-annual seasonality. This result highlights the fact that known vegetation types in Amazonia are not only structurally different but also phenologically distinct. Flushing of new leaves observed in the field is, in most cases, associated to a continuous increase in NDVI. The peak in leaf production is normally observed from the beginning to the middle of the wet season in 66% of the field sites analyzed. The phenoregion map presented in this work gives a new perspective on the dynamics of Amazonian canopies. It is clear that the phenology across Amazonia is more variable than previously detected using remote sensing data. An understanding of the implications of this spatial heterogeneity on the seasonality of Amazonian forest processes is a crucial step towards accurately quantifying the role of tropical forests within global biogeochemical cycles.
Leakage effects in natural resource supply chains: a case study from the Peruvian commercial charcoal market
Aoife Bennett-Curry, Yadvinder Malhi and Mary Mentona
Abstract – Wood charcoal is generally viewed as a rudimentary form of energy. It is often understood in terms of its role of providing rural poor populations with basic energy needs, and/or the contribution its production makes to local forest degradation. More recently, the potentially much larger impact of urban demands on natural resources is attracting attention. Rural/urban supply chains are becoming an important research focus as nations try to start aligning with international environmental agreements by providing more honest environmental data regarding deforestation and associated emissions. This paper presents results from quantitative and qualitative research investigating the commercial charcoal supply chain servicing the metropolitan area of Lima, the capital of Peru. Long-term conservation initiatives protecting the species algarrobo (Prosopis spp.) were found to have caused a leakage effect in which the species shihuahuaco (Dipteryx spp.) from the Amazon region of Ucayali is compensating for the reduced production of algarrobo charcoal. Charcoal production in the urban area of Pucallpa, Ucayali is estimated to be more than eighty times the official figures, the vast majority of which goes to service the thousands of chicken brasseries in Lima. Commercial Amazonian charcoal is produced predominantly from sawmill by-product, and thus not found to be a direct threat to the rainforest. However, reduced availability of the by-product of the preferred species shihuahuaco to charcoal producers raises concern that this species is being heavily overexploited in the region.
Effects of fire regimes on herbaceous biomass and nutrient dynamics in the Brazilian savanna
Immaculada Oliveras, Sergio T. Meirelles, Valter L. Hirakuri, Cenira R. Freitas, Heloisa S. Miranda and Vânia R. Pivello
Abstract – This study explores the long-term effects of fire treatments on biomass and nutrient pools in an open savanna from Central Brazil. Treatments included early, middle and late dry season burns every 2 years, a middle dry season burn every 4 years, and protection from fire on five 4-ha plots. We quantified aboveground biomass of graminoids and forbs/sub-shurbs, and their nutrient concentrations and stocks in both dry and wet seasons, and below-ground biomass down to 30-cm depth. We found strong differences between wet and dry season, with biomass and nutrient concentrations being highest in the wet season, across all fire treatments. Fire treatments had significant effects on plant nutrient stocks and root distribution, although total biomass was not affected. Concentrations of the most volatile nutrients (N, S, K and P) were higher in the herbaceous aboveground biomass of the quadrennial and the unburnt plots, suggesting that increases in fire frequency would reduce the amount of nutrients in aboveground biomass and increase the concentration of fine roots at the soil surface. Results highlight the role of fire in maintaining community dynamics in the Brazilian savanna. Overall, the quadrennial burn appears to be the optimal fire regime in open Cerrado vegetation.
Hyperdominance in the Amazonian Tree Flora
Hans ter Steege, Daniel Sabatier, Nigel C A Pitman, Chris Baraloto
Abstract – The vast extent of the Amazon Basin has historically restricted the study of its tree communities to the local and regional scales. Here, we provide empirical data on the commonness, rarity, and richness of lowland tree species across the entire Amazon Basin and Guiana Shield (Amazonia), collected in 1170 tree plots in all major forest types. Extrapolations suggest that Amazonia harbors roughly 16,000 tree species, of which just 227 (1.4%) account for half of all trees. Most of these are habitat specialists and only dominant in one or two regions of the basin. We discuss some implications of the finding that a small group of species—less diverse than the North American tree flora—accounts for half of the world’s most diverse tree community.
Deforestation and climate feedbacks threaten the ecological integrity of south–southeastern Amazonia
Michael T. Coe, Marcos Heil Costa, Toby Richard Marthews, David Galbraith
Abstract – A mosaic of protected areas, including indigenous lands, sustainable-use production forests and reserves and strictly protected forests is the cornerstone of conservation in the Amazon, with almost 50 per cent of the region now protected. However, recent research indicates that isolation from direct deforestation or degradation may not be sufficient to maintain the ecological integrity of Amazon forests over the next several decades. Large-scale changes in fire and drought regimes occurring as a result of deforestation and greenhouse gas increases may result in forest degradation, regardless of protected status. How severe or widespread these feedbacks will be is uncertain, but the arc of deforestation in south–southeastern Amazonia appears to be particularly vulnerable owing to high current deforestation rates and ecological sensitivity to climate change. Maintaining forest ecosystem integrity may require significant strengthening of forest conservation on private property, which can in part be accomplished by leveraging existing policy mechanisms.
Nutrient limitation in rainforests and cloud forests along a 3,000-m elevation gradient in the Peruvian Andes
Joshua B. Fisher, Yadvinder Malhi, Israel Cuba Torres, Daniel B. Metcalfe, Martine J. Van de Weg, Patrick Meir, Javier E. Silva-Espejo, Walter Huaraca Huasco
Abstract – We report results from a large-scale nutrient fertilization experiment along a ‘‘megadiverse’’ (154 unique species were included in the study) 3,000-m elevation transect in the Peruvian Andes and adjacent lowland Amazonia. Our objectives were to test if nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) limitation shift along this elevation gradient, and to determine how an alleviation of nutrient limitation would manifest in ecosystem changes. Tree height decreased with increasing elevation, but leaf area index (LAI) and diameter at breast height (DBH) did not vary with elevation. Leaf N:P decreased with increasing elevation (from 24 at 200 m to 11 at 3,000 m), suggesting increased N limitation and decreased P limitation with increasing elevation. After 4 years of fertilization (N, P, N ? P), plots at the lowland site (200 m) fertilized with N ? P showed greater relative growth rates in DBH than did the control plots; no significant differences were evident at the 1,000 m site, and plots fertilized with N at the highest elevation sites (1,500, 3,000 m) showed greater relative growth rates in DBH than did the control plots, again suggesting increased N constraint with elevation. Across elevations in general N fertilization led to an increase in microbial respiration, while P and N ? P addition led to an increase in root respiration and corresponding decrease in hyphal respiration. There was no significant canopy response (LAI, leaf nutrients) to fertilization, suggesting that photosynthetic capacity was not N or P limited in these ecosystems. In sum, our study significantly advances ecological understanding of nutrient cycling and ecosystem response in a region where our collective knowledge and data are sparse: we demonstrate N limitation in high elevation tropical montane forests, N and P co-limitation in lowland Amazonia, and a nutrient limitation response manifested not in canopy changes, but rather in stem and belowground changes.
Onthe Indirect Effect of Biofuel
David Zilberman, Geoff Barrows, Gal Hochman, And Deepak Rajagopal
Abstract – Biofuel policies were partially motivated by concerns about climate change. Therefore, qualifications for the benefit of these policies were based on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) of particular biofuels. For example, entitlement for subsidies and mandates associated with the U.S. Energy Independence and SecurityAct of 2007 requires remaining below upper bounds of GHGE per gallon. The computation of the GHGE of biofuel are based on lifecycle analysis (LCA), which takes into account emissions production and use, shipping, and refining. Searchinger et al. (2008) introduced the indirect land use change (ILUC) of biofuel production, which is the extra GHGE resulting from the expansion of acreage of a feedstock such as corn to accommodate the increase in price associated with the introduction of biofuel. Governments have considered including ILUC in computing GHGE of various biofuels to determine compliance with policies like the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) or Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).Thus, inclusion of the ILUC in the computation GHGE of a fuel will make it more difficult to qualify for the RFS.This paper identifies some of the challenges associated with the application of LCA, and in particular, the use of ILUC as part of the estimated GHGE of biofuel. Economists have found that LCA has multiple flaws (Khanna and Crago 2012) in current biofuel polices and many have reservations about the use of LCA as a major regulatory tool. But accepting that LCA is used for regulation, our challenge is to use economic analysis to evaluate the use of ILUC in computing the GHGE of biofuel in the policy process. In the next section we develop an economic foundation for the computation of ILUC and derive a related indirect effect—the indirect food consumption effect (IFCE) of biofuels. This is followed by the discussion of other indirect effects. The third segment investigates the reliability of ILUC estimates and their use in the regulatory process, which is followed by a conclusion.
Botany meets archaeology: people and plants in the past
Abstract – This paper explores the close links between botany and archaeology, using case studies from the ancient Mediterranean. It explains the kinds of palaeobotanical remains that archaeologists can recover and the methods used to analyse them. The importance of iconographic and textual evidence is also underlined. Examples of key research areas that focus on ancient plants are discussed: diet and palaeoeconomy; medicines, poisons, and psychotropics; perfumes, cosmetics, and dyes; and prestige.
The Medicines Trade in the Portuguese Atlantic World: Acquisition and Dissemination of Healing Knowledge from Brazil
Abstract – Portuguese colonial exploration and settlement in Brazil during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries included a significant, though to date largely underappreciated, dimension of medical inquiry, the impact of which resonated throughout the Atlantic scientific world and beyond. This paper examines the roleandinfluence within Portugal’s maritime dominions of medical techniques, remediesandspecific drugs originating in colonial Brazil. It focuses attentiononthe earliest collaborative interaction between indigenous healers and Portuguese missionaries—mainly Jesuits—on the Brazilian colonial frontier, who then passed that knowledge on to European physicians, surgeons and pharmacists working in colonial South American medical facilities. In such institutions, indigenous techniques were most often employed to the edification of Portuguese colonial agents (missionaries, colonial administrative officials, maritime commanders and state-licensed medical practitioners), who would then become the conduits disseminating those techniques to Europe or other colonial locations.