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School of Geography

EGC Projects

Long-term forest dynamics in Peruvian Amazonia

PI: Katy Roucoux (University of Leeds)

Co-I: Tim BakerIan Lawson (University of Leeds)

Overview: The central aim of this project is to investigate the potential of a set of Peruvian peat sequences, to produce pollen records of the local vegetation history over the past 3000 years. Our aim will be achieved through the following objectives:

1) Characterise the peats using sedimentological approaches (loss on ignition, magnetic susceptibility, accumulation rate, organic composition) to understand the nature and timing of peat accumulation at these sites and to enable correlation with the existing dated sequences.

2) Produce pollen and charcoal records spanning the last 1000 years at approximately 50-year resolution, and the preceding period since peat initiation (varies between sites c. 1200-3000 cal yr BP) at 100 to 250-year resolution.

3) Set up one 0.5 ha permanent vegetation and carbon monitoring plot in the immediate vicinity of each of the three coring sites.

4) Establish the relationship between pollen rain and vegetation by analysing surface samples from the coring sites and comparing the assemblages with floristic inventory data obtained at the same sites.

This project seeks to establish (1) the current composition and ecology of the vegetation at these sites today; (2) the potential of these peat sequences to provide good pollen records; (3) the history of the forest communities; (4) the relationship between the modern pollen rain and the surrounding vegetation to assist in interpreting the pollen. This study will form the foundation for future work in this region where there may be considerable potential for integrated neo- and palaeoecology to address questions of long-term ecology.

Start Date: 01 July 2010

End Date: 31 January 2012

Funder: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Small Grants

Grant Reference: NE/H011773/1

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