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Title: Structure, composition and dynamics of a central Amazonian forest landscape : a conservation perspective
Author: Haugaasen, Torbjorn
ISNI:       0000 0001 3546 3476
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2004
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Floodplain forests and landscape-level processes and dynamics have been largely neglected throughout the Amazon basin. Additionally, relatively little ecological and conservation research has been carried out in the Purus river basin since William Chandless' pioneering geographic exploration nearly 140 years ago. This thesis presents results from a large-scale natural forest mosaic including upland terra firme forest and floodplain forests (varzea and igap6) in the lower Purus region of central Brazilian Amazonia. Floristic composition and vertebrate assemblages across different forest types were investigated using floristic plots and line-transect censuses, respectively. The tree and vertebrate assemblages were consistently more species-poor in seasonally flooded forests compared to those of terra firme forests. A low similarity between tree assemblages at different plots was found, which reinforces the notion that closed-canopy Amazonian forest landscapes are not homogenous even at relatively small spatial scales. The impoverished mammal fauna in flooded forest environments both in terms of primates and other non-volant mammals appear to partly reflect the combined effects of forest structure and connectivity, habitat heterogeneity and floristic diversity. Phenological patterns of the tree assemblages in terra firme, v3.rzea and igap6 forest were examined by direct crown inspections of plant parts. Vegetative and reproductive phenophases were highly seasonal in all forests types. These patterns were strongly linked to environmental variables such as rainfall and the seasonal flood pulse. Vertebrate detection rates varied over time for all species both within and between each forest type, the latter suggesting that many species use flooded forests on a seasonal basis. The fluctuations in some species were significantly correlated with the abundance of fruits. The highly heterogeneous landscape consisting of terra firme, vmea and igap6 forest increased the regional ~-diversity and appeared to play an important role in the dynamics and year-round survival of many vertebrate species. This is of great conservation concern as a meagre 3.3% of flooded forests presently occur within strictly protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available