Overview: The National Protected Areas Service of Peru (SERNANP) aims to preserve the diversity and ecosystem services of the forests of the Andes-Amazon region through a network of protected areas (PAs). Understanding how climate change affects the structure and biodiversity of forests in individual PAs and across the full protected area network is an important component of this remit and a strategic objective of SERNANP. This objective can only be achieved by incorporating systems to measure the impact of climate change on these forests within the monitoring strategy of SERNANP. This project will enable SERNANP to report and use a set of indicators concerning the response of these ecosystems to climate change by developing an existing network of permanent forest plots across the region. We will use the RAINFOR (Red Amazónica de Inventarios Forestales) permanent plot network in the PAs of the Andes-Amazon region to understand the changes in forest structure and composition caused by changes in temperature, drought and flooding frequency, and integrate this information within the monitoring system of SERNANP. This baseline data will then be available to make adaptive management decisions about the conservation and resource extraction of specific taxa and help plan the design of new, complementary protected areas.
In Peru, the RAINFOR network incorporates 81 plots that are located in, or nearby, ten PAs of the Andes-Amazon region. Re-measured every 4-5 years and with data stretching back, in some cases, to the 1970s, these plots have been used to document patterns of forest biomass and biodiversity, assess trajectories of long-term change in carbon stocks and composition, and quantify the sensitivity of these forests to drought. These plots therefore provide unique baseline data on how Peruvian forests are being affected by extreme climatic events and longer-term climate change. This project will firstly identify indicators of change in forest structure and biodiversity with SERNANP and WCS that can be derived from the plot data and are useful to inform management. Secondly, with our partners IIAP (Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana), JBM (Jardín Botánico de Missouri), WFU (Wake Forest University), and SERNANP, we will ensure that 60 existing plots are recensused and install up to 12 new plots in priority locations, so that almost 100 permanent plots are available to monitor the state and trajectory of the structure and biodiversity of these forests. These data will be curated within the ForestPlots.net facility and accessible to all Peruvian partners. The ForestPlots.net database unites long-term plot records from across the tropics and ensures that standardized quality control and analytical routines are applied to all data. Thirdly, we will develop tools so that SERNANP, through their ‘Sistema informático de monitoreo ambiental’ (SMA), and other government institutions, can report on the effect of climate change on forest structure and diversity in the PAs of the Peruvian Andes Amazon region.
Overall, the project will: (1) upgrade the on-the-ground infrastructure and human capacity to monitor forests in Peruvian Andes-Amazon PAs; (2) train staff from all partners in methods of data collection, management and analysis of long-term plot data, and (3) develop reporting tools to supply information about trends in forest structure and composition to SERNANP and other government institutions.
Start date: November 2016
End date: October 2018
Funder: Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Funder details: www.moore.org