Palms constitute a conspicuous and beautiful component of nearly all tropical American forests. Palms are also both ecologically and economically very important. Some palm species are extremely abundant, and produce large quantities of fruits being the prime food resource for populations of mammals, birds and fishes, themselves providing proteins to hunting and fishing humans. Palms also produce numerous items directly exploited by human beings including poles for construction, fibers for handicraft, thatch, edible fruits, medicine, hunting gears, etc.
Palms are diverse and abundant in the
western Amazon basin, particularly in the forests along the foot hills of the
people extract products from palms in different forest formations. But in
work will take place in the Amazon lowlands of the
transects will be installed within habitats and across the interface of
adjacent habitats, e.g. from topographically lower to higher areas inundated
during longer and shorter periods, respectively. Transects will be 50 x 500
meter divided into 100 subplots being 5 x 5 meters, and in each subplot all
palm individuals including seedlings will be registered. Some palms have
several trunks rising from the same base, and in these cases the individual
trunks will be counted separately. Besides variables that may influence the
palm community we will recorded in each subplot abiotic
, , moisture, soil samples) and biotic
factors (canopy openness, gap condition, forest type, organic mater, human
To analyze the distribution patterns of palm communities and the factors controlling them we will use Non-metric Multidimensional scaling (NMS), Indicator Species Analysis, simple and partial Mantel Tests and multiple regressions on resemblance matrices. To compare the palm communities in the different transect, we will calculate similarity matrices using the Sřrensen coefficient for presence-absence data, and the mathematically similar Steinhaus coefficient for abundance data.
We expect that this research will result in a description of the floristic and the diversity patterns of palm communities, viz. what species compose the individual palm community in the area, their relative abundance the different species, and the relationships with the environmental factors that define the communities. We hope this will provide useful background information for the management of palm communities, and for the conservation of economically important species.
Participant Adriana A. Sanjines Asturizaga; supervisors Finn Borchsenius, Mónica Moraes & Henrik Balslev