Wind Disturbance and Amazon Forest Ecology
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Ecophysiology of Tropical Trees
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Wind Disturbance and Amazon Forest Ecology
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This 10 x 10 km IKONOS image of one of our Central Amazon sites shows the ZF-2 road and two transect plots (gray lines -- 20 x 2500 m).  A recent blowdown with high red reflectance is visible just right of the bottom of this image. 

Field worked in a new blowdown created by strong storms in 2005

Contact Information

Jeff Chambers
Tulane University
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
400 Lindy Boggs
New Orleans, LA  70118
Ph:   504-862-8291
Fax:: 504-862-8706

In the Central Amazon near the city of Manaus there are about 100 hectares of permanent forest inventory plots such as the ZF-2 transect plots (gray bars in image).  In these plots, all trees larger than 10 cm base diameter (DBH) are tagged, measured, and identified to species.  During subsequent inventories, recruitment, growth of surviving trees, and mortality are documented.   Analyses of these data allow estimates of important forest characteristics such as growth and mortality rates, and whether or not there is a change in forest structure and dynamics over time.  These plots also serve as important focal points for many other ecological and biodiversity studies.  Allometric models based on locally harvested trees allow estimates of the biomass and carbon content of trees as a function of DBH (Chambers et al. 2001c).  A Master's degree student who works with our group at INPA recently published her thesis project studying seasonal changes in month tree growth rates using dendrometer bands (image right) installed on trees in the ZF-2 transect plots (da Silva et al. 2001).  Follow this link for a spreadsheet containing these allometric equations.

One limitation of these forest inventory plots is measuring the full range of tree mortality events across the landscape.   Even large 50 hectare plots only sample a small fraction of disturbance events impacting the landscape.  New remote sensing methods enable sampling across large disturbance gradients across the landscape, helping to ensure that the spatial dimension of the ecological processes is appropriate sampled (Chambers et al. 2007).  My lab is currently leading a number of projects in the Amazon to better understand how mortality events such as blowdowns at regional scales influence for tree species community composition and landscape carbon balance.

INPA students locating new blowdown from remote sensing derived GPS points