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 hide 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 likely endless blanket of eco-friendly. The impact of immen­ sity is identical while 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 provides an enormous monotony as one view of the coastline blends unnoticeably into one other. From either views, the overpowering response to the ocean of bushes that stretches from horizon to horizon is a feeling of the vastness of the rain woodland. In September 1985, I acquired a distinct impact of the rain wooded area. numerous scholars and that i journeyed in a self-propelled automobile alongside the single-track railroad that stretches nearly one thousand km from the Carajas iron ore mine within the rain woodland of Para nation, Brazil, all of the approach to Sao Luis at the coast (Fig. 1.1).

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In all plots, individuals with a diameter at breast height (dbh) of more than 1 cm and a height of more than 2 m were identified by local name, and dbh was measured. In addition, three 152-m2 subplots were used for trees with diameters of less than 1 cm and heights of 1 to 2 m. Both living and dead trees were measured. To calculate biomass as a function of stem dbh, height, and wood density, 126 trees were harvested and measured, and their dry-weight biomass was determined. Twenty-eight trees were from mature forest or 80-year-old forest.

The hut is surrounded by a bare earth area 20 m in diameter, and rarely are more than 10 people found living together. The Campa have no villages and population densities range from less than one to three per square kilometer. The mainstay of the Campa is the garden, or chacra, in which are grown almost all of their carbohydrate requirements and some protein as well. The principal crop, sweet manioc (Manihot escu[enta), makes up 75% of their diet and is also used for making the local beer, masato.

Clearing the undergrowth usually takes 3 weeks, whereas cutting the trees requires only a couple of days. The undergrowth must be killed, or it will suddenly emerge in vigorous growth that will shade the trees after they are cut and prevent this slash from drying out. Felled trees, that is, the slash, are allowed to dry out for several months before burning is attempted. After the burn, the crop species are planted in the soil, now enriched with ash. Although the plots appear extremely disorganized because of the tree stumps and unburned trunks, the gardens are in fact carefully designed to maximize production, minimize work, and protect the soil.

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