Long-term standardized ecological research in an Amazonian savanna: a laboratory under threat

An Acad Bras Cienc. 2021 Dec 8;93(suppl 4):e20210879. doi: 10.1590/0001-3765202120210879. eCollection 2021.

ABSTRACT

A few decades ago, researchers from the National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA) started a pilot study to integrate the ecological studies of several organisms using monitoring plots, which then became the embryo for the creation of the RAPELD (Rapid Assessments and Long-term Ecological Research) system used by the Program for Biodiversity Research (PPBio) and the Long-term ecological research site POPA (PELD Western Pará). They installed and maintained permanent plots in an Amazonian-savanna patch near to the village of Alter do Chão. Amazonian savannas constitute a threatened ecosystem comprising only 6% of the Amazon biome. Most of the studies focused on three main long-term ecological research questions, but the site was also of importance for other inquiries and for the training of young researchers, contributing 71 articles so far and 32 masters and doctorate theses. Here, we present the experimental design and results of standardized studies in the savannas and forest fragments near Alter do Chão that have been carried out over the years. We discuss the future prospects and local threats to the area (e.g. soy crops and land speculation), and highlight the need to incorporate Alter do Chão villagers in land-use planning in the region.

PMID:34909832 | DOI:10.1590/0001-3765202120210879

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