Amazonian Rain Forests: Ecosystem Disturbance and Recovery by Carl F. Jordan (auth.), Carl F. Jordan (eds.)

By Carl F. Jordan (auth.), Carl F. Jordan (eds.)

DEVELOPMENT AND DISTURBANCE IN AMAZON FORESTS Contrasting Impressions 6 2 The rain forests of the Amazon Basin disguise nearly 5.8 x 10 km (Salati and Vose 1984). Flying over even simply a part of this basin, one gazes hour after hour upon this doubtless endless blanket of eco-friendly. The effect of immen­ sity is the same whilst seen from the Amazon River itself, or from its tributar­ ies. From a hammock at the shaded deck of a riverboat, the immensity of the woodland offers a major monotony as one view of the coastline blends unnoticeably into one other. From either views, the overpowering response to the ocean of timber that stretches from horizon to horizon is a feeling of the vastness of the rain woodland. In September 1985, I obtained a unique impact of the rain woodland. a number of scholars and that i journeyed in a self-propelled vehicle alongside the single-track railroad that stretches virtually one thousand km from the Carajas iron ore mine within the rain wooded area of Para country, Brazil, all of the strategy to Sao Luis at the coast (Fig. 1.1).

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2. Changes in biomass stocks as mature forest is cleared for swidden and then allowed to revert to secondary forest. The value for primary forest is approximate. It was predicted based on allometric relationships derived from trees that were mostly smaller than those in the plot where the primary forest community was surveyed. 3. burning. I:. Co § t"' iil o ~ ::r ::I ~. o e:< n ~ ~ ::r I;i ::to CIl ~ G. A. J. Scott 42 6212 2400 ~ o o ................ ~. '-". ······ii==3b=g e-. '" --------. 4. Potassium stocks in the vegetation (above 0, y axis) and soil (below 0, y axis) in three communities: (1) the primary forest (bar at left of graph); (2) cultivated chacra or swidden, followed by fire-free secondary succession (solid dots); (3) firedominated succession (open circles) with a fern community (chac-chac), Imperata grassland, and old grassland.

By the second year following abandonment productivity was about equal to that of the undisturbed control forest (Fig. 4). The much greater competitive ability of the successional vegetation in the abandoned conuco suggests that the native vegetation can acquire nutrients, particularly phosphorus, that are relatively unavailable to crop plants. The literature on adaptations of native plants that enable them to be better competitors than crop plants has been reviewed by Jordan (1985a). The following list is a summary of these adaptations: 1.

Soil was removed from the pits in 10-cm layers, and the roots were separated from the soil by hand, cleaned, weighed, and dried to constant weight. Root biomass 3. Recovery Following Shifting Cultivation 27 was correlated with site basal area, and root biomass at sites without pits was estimated by these correlations. Nutrient Stocks At each of the 23 study sites, three 32-m transects were run and soils on each transect were sampled at I-m intervals. Samples from a 0-15 cm depth were taken every meter, and from a 15-30 cm depth every 2 m.

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