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Esteban Willms
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Nigel Smith

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This 60 page Class Notes was uploaded by Esteban Willms on Saturday September 19, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to GEA 4465 at University of Florida taught by Nigel Smith in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see /class/207044/gea-4465-university-of-florida in Geography at University of Florida.


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Date Created: 09/19/15
Amazonia Gea 4465 Lecture Notes Part 2 Nigel Smith Professor Department of Geography University of Florida Vegetation Types Mature Forest The term virgin or pristine forest is not appropriate in the case of the Amazon because it is dif cult to assert with any degree of con dence that a given stretch of forest has never been altered by human activities Over a century ago a French explorer Paul Marcoy during his travels in the Amazon made this pertinent observation quotA freshly arrived European would have deceived himself with respect to these forests by mistaking the apparent luxuriousness of the vegetation for that of virgin forests they were however capoueras a Tupi word used in Brazil to designate forests which have grown up on land which has been formerly cleared and abandoned by cultivators It is a fact of which European botanists are perhaps not aware that a tropical forest which has once suffered by the hand of man never recovers its original splendour even where it is left to itself for a century Some will say that this indelible mark is the seal with which man as king of creation impresses his conquest others will be inclined to think that this miserable biped has like the fabled harpies the sad faculty of soiling and withering whatever he touchesquot Marcoy P 1873 A Journey across South America from the Paci c Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean Blackie and Son London Vol 4 p 480 Also the term climax forest is not used much anymore because it implies that a forest has reached the end of the line in terms of species composition and structure In reality forest ecosystems evolve in nonlinear fashion change is cyclical Tree falls and other disturbance constantly create patches of forest in various degrees of renewal Mature forest is found in upland forests and on oodplains Although the area of oodplain forests is small compared to upland forests they are nevertheless important because oodplain forests provide shelter and food for many species of sh important for subsistence and commerce Floodplain forests also vary according to water type The Amazon basin covers some 7 million sq km and perhaps 70 is covered by forest The forests of Amazonia embrace over 2500 species of tall trees compared to less than a dozen in most temperate zone forests A 25 ha plot of rainforest at Yasuni in the Ecuadorian Amazon contains 1100 tree species more than in the US and Canada combined Kraft et al 2008 Functional traits reveal nicebased community assembly in an Amazonian forest Science 24 October In Brazil forest is known as mata or oresta In Spanishspeaking parts of the Amazon Basin forest is referred to as basque monte or selva Second Growth Second growth occurs when the forest is destroyed either naturally or by human activities and plant succession begins the restoration process Natural disturbance events include tree falls landslides and ood damage The main human activity involved in second growth formation is farming particularly slashandbum agriculture also known as swidden In the Brazilian Amazon early second growth is called juquira Second growth of medium height is known as capoeira whereas old second growth is capoeirao In Peru second growth is referred to as purma The composition of second growth varies widely according to such factors as soil type and history of disturbance of the area The poorer the soil the longer it will take for the forest to return In many cases it takes at least 50 years for second growth to reach the stage of a tall mature forest One of the most common colonizers of disturbed sites is a sunloving tree called cecropia Cecropia spp known as imbauba in Brazil and cetico in Peru Many species of cecropia harbor ants in their hollow intemodes like bamboo which protect the leaves from predators Two points warrant emphasis o In some areas mature forest may not return because sources of seed have been eliminated by deforestation such as in parts of the Bragantina zone east of Belem 0 Second growth contains some useful species for locals particularly medicinal plants and fruits Spontaneous papaya Caricapapaya occurs in second growth on fertile soils for example and papaya was domesticated in second growth communities of western Amazonia long ago Cultural Forests Cultural forests arise in the Amazon by 0 Deliberate planting of plants in forest to enrich it with economic species 0 Spontaneous germination of seeds tossed around campsite along trails and in refuse heaps around villages o Slashandbum farming that provides opportunities for trees and other plants that need sunlight for germination to become established Many if not most of the forests in Amazonia have been in uenced by human activities Although at any one time appreciable forest remained standing in precontact times it was not virgin At various times virtually all of the forest was likely cleared farmed and then allowed to revert back to forest perhaps as a managed fallow for a decade or more Repeated cycles of clearing and burning forest would have shifted the composition of the vegetation to species that tolerate frequent disturbance Indicator species of humaninduced disturbance andor enrichment planting include Acai palm Euterpe oleracea is planted along the banks of the lower Amazon for its edible fruits and for heartofpalm Dense groves are often formed near homes called agaizais Mauritia palm Mauritia exuosa known as miriti at the mouth of the Amazon and buriti elsewhere in the Brazilian Amazon aguaje in Peru and moriche in Venezuela sometimes forms dense stands called buritizal or miritizal in Brazil and aguajal in the Peruvian Amazon some of these stands may be anthropogenic at least in part Cacao T heobroma cacao is native to western Amazonia where it occurs in upland forests as well as along the oodplain of white water rivers such as the Purus Large concentrations of cacao occur along certain portions of the Amazon and in the lower Tocantins and they have either been introduced there or deliberately planted by aboriginal groups Tucuma palm Astrocaryum vulgare has vitamin Arich fruits and are also good sources of carbohydrates Hunters and gatherers probably encouraged tucuma palm in many parts of eastern Amazonia Twine is fashioned from the fronds of tucuma palm to make hammocks and in some areas hats Mucaja palm Acrocomia aculeata is an indicator species for anthrosols anthropogenic black earth Concentrations of mucaja palm have therefore arisen because of human disturbance and possibly artif1cial enrichment because the oil fruits are eaten Babacu palm Attalea speciosa which is fire tolerant and has been favored by repeated slashandburn farming cycles particularly in eastern Amazonia Babacu fruits contain a thin fleshy pulp mesocarp to encourage dispersal agents to carry away the fruit but the nuts are protected by a hard wooden case endocarp People break open the endocarp using an axe and mallet to obtain the nuts which are grated and squeezed to obtain the oil for cooking Babacu is the world s number one source of vegetable oil extracted from a wild palm Babacu oil is also exported for cosmetic purposes it is used in some hand lotions The nuts are also used to bait shrimp traps along the lower Amazon Babacu fronds are used to cover houses In Mato Grosso people cut down babacu to obtain the heartofpalm which is eaten like a raw vegetable Forest disturbance may also have favored concentrations of some timber species Along the lower Rio Preto in the estuary of the Amazon for example f1res during an exceptionally dry year in the early 1900s may be partly responsible for the high density of virola Virola surinamensis In upland areas one of the most valuable timber speciesimahogany Swietem39a macrophylla requires complete clearing in order to reproduce Areas with relatively high densities of mahogany may have been cleared in the past by indigenous groups Various species of native bamboo Guadua spp called taboka in Brazil and chingano in Peru occur in widely scattered locations in Amazonia both on uplands and on the Amazon oodplain In certain locations the bamboo is dense enough to form a vast thicket called a tabokal Bamboo forests cover some 180000 sq km in the Amazon larger than England Miniature forests of bamboo are particularly common in Acre and are thought to result from previous cycles of forest disturbance by indigenous groups The native bamboos are useful for various construction purposes Savannasgrassland Pockets of savannawoodland in Amazonia are further testament to landscapes that have been shaped by human agency Even the oristic composition of the immense natural savannas in the region such as in Roraima on Marajo Island and southern Amapa State at the mouth of the Amazon and the Llanos de Moxos in the Bolivian Amazon have been repeatedly set ablaze thereby altering the appearance of the grasslands Savannas cover some 150000 sq km During Pleistocene dry periods when ice sheets covered the colder regions of the world corridors of savannawoodland most likely penetrated Amazonia Indigenous people kept some of the savanna islands open by setting periodic res and the forest has been advancing on the savannas ever since the aboriginal population crashed In some areas the savannas are still red today to improve grazing for cattle Still the forest is now encroaching on many of these savannas due to a drop in rural population Although savannas do not contain as much biodiversity as forest they nevertheless harbor useful plants Wild cashew Anacardium occidentale occurs in many of the savannas in Amazonia and people have harvested the fruits for a long time In describing the scrub grassland in the vicinity of Santarem in 1851 Henry Walter Bates one of the great naturalists of the nineteenth century noted The caju cashew is very abundant indeed some parts of the district might be called orchards of this tree it ripens in January and the poorer classes of Santarem then resort to the campos and gather immense quantities to make a drink or wine as it is called which is considered a remedy in certain cutaneous disorders The kernels are roasted and eaten Bates H W 1863 The Naturalist on the RiverAmazons John Murray London Vol 2 p 22 The wild cashews are really feral cashew ie naturalized domesticated plants Cashew is native to the sand dunes of northeastern Brazil and was introduced to Amazonia long ago It then escapedithe fruits are absconded by a number of mammals and birdsi and the nut discarded because it is covered by a skin with a caustic chemical that burns skin and the mouth A patch of savanna on an upland bluff overlooking the Amazon at a place called Paracari across the river from Santarem was visited by an American explorer Herbert Smith over a century ago and this is how he describes his experience there Wandering over the sandy campos we almost forget that we are in the Amazonas valley Here the trees are scattered thickly over the surface or gathered in little clumps with bushes about their roots They are low and spreading and crooked roughbarked for the most part and blackened by the yearly fires of herdsmen the landscape always reminds me of an old neglected orchard where the trees have been left unpruned for years and bushes and weeds have sprung up about their roots Smith HH 1879 Brazil The Amazons and the Coast p 266 And a description of the savannas in the vicinity of Santarem in 1849 by Richard Spruce an English botanist quotThe vegetation of the upland campos reminded me of an English pleasureground It consisted of scattered low trees rarely exceeding 30 feet in height and here and there beds of gaily owering shrubs with intervening grassy patches and lawns Among the trees then in ower the Caju or Cashewnut Anacardium occidentale L was exceedingly abundant Richard Spruce 1980 Notes of a Botanist on the Amazon andAna39es p 66 Floodplain Meadows Floodplain meadows are found along white water rivers They are extremely limited or absent on the oodplains of clear or black water rivers because of the paucity of nutrients Floodplain meadows contain a number of plants directly useful to people in the past wild rice was harvested from oodplain meadows But oodplain meadows are especially important for wildlife such as ducks and serve as nurseries for many species of sh Manatees and capybara also graze on the aquatic plants At high water a oating mat of vegetation is formed including many aquatic grasses that grew long stems from roots in the lake bottom or the stems break off and freestanding grass mats form with roots obtaining nutrients directly from the water Some of the weeds that now plague canals and lakes in Florida and other states in the South arose here particularly water hyacinth During the dry season the meadows are now grazed Campinas Campinas are patches of low stunted vegetation on extremely sandy soils podzols The podzols are thought to be beaches from ancient rivers The vegetation is stunted because the soils are virtually devoid of nutrients and moisture stress is pronounced especially in the dry season Black waters originate in podzols which are more common in the Rio Negro watershed In the Peruvian Amazon podzols with stunted vegetation are called varillales and are found in various locations such as near Iquitos Campinas cover about 34000 sq km Campinarana is transitional between campina and mature forest It is taller than campina but not as high nor as rich in species as mature forest Campinarana means like campina rana like Campinaranas cover about 30000 sq km Mangrove The estuarine area of the Amazon has mangrove woods lining tidal creeks Red mangrove Rhizophora mangle is well represented here Mangroves are important as feeding grounds for sh and other aquatic life at high tide They also harbor crabs which are gathered locally for consumption and for sale in cities PowerPoint Vegetation types Climate Much of the Amazon Basin has a distinct dry season in spite of the label Amazon rainforest Two main ecological pulses drive the economy and ecology of the Amazon 0 The rainy season on uplands and o The high water season on the oodplains However some parts of the Amazon Basin have a short dry season with high annual rainfall particularly in the Andean foothills of Bolivia Peru Ecuador and Colombia Seasonal rainfall Farming and Extraction The wet and dry seasonsicalled invemo winter and verdo summer respectively in Brazilidetermine the agricultural calendar on the uplands In oodplains the rising and falling of the river level in response to the rainy and dry seasons sets the rhythm for farming activities For the central and southern portions of the Amazon Basin the rainy season starts in NovemberDecember and ends in MayJune Clearing for new elds therefore begins in June and after the slash has dried for several months it is burned in September October and early November Few farmers hold out until late November to burn because they might get caught with an early onset of the rainy season The alternating wet and dry seasons are a result of movements of the Intertropical Convergence Zone ITCZ During the summer hemisphere summer increased heating of the continental land mass generates greater convection and rainfall In the northern part of the Amazon Basin the wet and dry seasons occur at different times than those areas along and south of the Equator This means that the ood crests of northern and southern tributaries are out of sync thereby ameliorating the ood cycle along the Amazon Along the middle Amazon the waters generally start rising in late December and crest in late June about a month after the rains begin and end respectively The annual uctuation of the river along the Amazon decreases downstream Annual uctuation of the Amazon Requena Ucayali River 25 meters Mouth of the Jurua 1520 meters Mouth of the Negro 10 12 meters Mouth of the Tapajos 7 meters Mouth of the Xingu 4 meters On the Amazon oodplain farmers generally start planting in staggered fashion as the waters recede in July and harvest their crops November through February as the river level rises Extractive activities also follow seasonal rhythms Rubber for example is tapped during the dry season Brazil nuts on the other hand are collected in the rainy season Even some mining activities follow seasonal rhythms Diamond panning along the Tocantins and tributaries of the Rio Branco for example is conducted at low water Seasonality and river transportation Before the advent of steamships along the Amazon in 1853 upstream river transportation was con ned to the dry season for two main reasons 1 Strong easterly breezes are more common thereby propelling sailing ships upstream 2 The current of the Amazon slackens as water levels fall Today transportation in the region is dominated by dieselpowered boats road traffic and airplanes which are less affected by the seasonality of rainfall and winds Sources of moisture for rainfall Approximately half the rain that falls in the Amazon is recycled from the forest via evapotranspiration Implications Deforestation is likely to reduce rainfall The link between deforestation and reduced rainfall has been understood for centuries 1 But that does not mean that Amazonia may turn into a manmade desert because 2 Second growth crops and pasture are found in most deforested areas While they do not transpire or evaporate as much water as forest some water is returned to the atmosphere 3 More recent studies have shown that more water is brought into Amazonia from the Atlantic that previously assumed Smoke problems It is not uncommon for some airports in the Amazon to close in September and October because of the smoke from res Respiratory problems understandably increase at such times although this aspect of human health has been little studied Smoke was particularly bad in the Brazilian Amazon in September 1992 and October 1997 which coincided with an unusually severe dry season But severe dry seasons and smoke problems have occurred in the past also coinciding with particularly dry periods In 1774 for example the dry season was so accentuated in the Rio Negro watershed that res escaped into parts of the forest In unusually dry seasons res on savannas may penetrate the ring of forest for a few hundred meters helping slow down the encroachment of forest And in parts of the Amazon were settlers and ranchers have cleared a lot of forest creating thin strips or small islands of forest re can penetrate more easily when the dry season is severe Dry corridor In some parts of the Amazon particularly in southeastern Para where annual rainfall is around 1500 mm weeks may pass without any rain in the dry season In wetter parts of the Amazon such as around Belem where annual rainfall averages 3000 mm showers are common during the dry season A dry corridor occurs in central Amazonia possibly a rainshadow effect from the Guianan and Brazilian shields Rainfall picks up again in western Amazonia due to orographic uplift of air masses as they are forced up the Andes Cold Fronts In some years several cold fronts penetrate the Amazon in other years none at all Cold fronts penetrate the Amazon during the southern hemisphere winter May through August It was once thought that the cold fronts which affect central and western Amazonia originated form cold air masses spilling down the Amazon It is now known that they are Polar air masses from the Antarctic The cold air mass is channeled between the high Andes to the west and the Brazilian shield to the east Known as friagem in Brazil and sur or surazo in Bolivia daytime high temperatures can drop to 16quot C in Manaus near the Equator compared to about 30quot C normally In Acre at about 10quot S temperatures can dip as low as 9quot C During glacial periods in the Pleistocene temperatures likely dropped to freezing in parts of the lowland Amazon Basin Cold fronts may trigger a small spike in respiratory ailments and colds but their main impact is on fish Cold fronts chill off the surface waters of lakes and placid channels which then dives to the bottom pushing up oxygendepleted water Fish die in large numbers at such times PowerPoint Climate and Rivers Rivers and Water Types The Amazon Basin drains close to 20 of all freshwater owing off the earth It is the world s largest river in terms of discharge with 5 times the discharge of the Congo and twelve times that of the Mississippi The Amazon is also one of the longest if not the longest river in the world The AmazonUcayali is some 6518 km long Nile is considered 6671 km long Fish are important in regional diet and provide the bulk of high quality protein Protein malnutrition is rare in the Amazon region because of the historical abundance of the fish resource Diversity of Fish Species About 3000 species of fish are found in Amazonia of which about 700 species are eaten in Amazonia However a few dozen species account for most of the volume of fish traded on the regional markets Amazonia has the most diverse fish fauna of any of the world s river systems One of the reasons for the diversity of species is the different water types found in the Amazon Basin PowerPoint Fishing in the Amazon SedimentRich Rivers Sometimes referred to as white water sedimentrich rivers such as the Amazon Madeira Purus Jurua Napo and the CaquetaJapura rivers are the color of creamed coffee Sedimentrich waters are characterized by 0 Their muddy color which is due to suspended sediment mainly silt and clay The sediment is derived from active erosion in headwaters in the steep Andes 0 Neutral pH 12 o Broad oodplains made possible by the silt and clay load carried by the river The Amazon oodplain alone covers some 92000 sq km Floodplains are among the riches soils of the Amazon Rice and maize yields for example average about 3 tonsha without fertilizer compared to l tonha on uplands Furthermore some farmers can obtain two crops a year of maize on higher parts of the oodplain thereby obtaining 6 tonshayear o Nutrientrich waters that support a relatively large biomass of plants and sh white waters are thus the best rivers for shing Floodplain forests and meadows are important feeding and breeding grounds for sh The broad oodplains of sedimentrich rivers provide distinct habitats for different species of sh and shermen have devised different strategies to capture sh in them 0 The relatively deep main channel of the river The Amazon for example is 100 meters deep along some stretches there giant cat sh dwell Here bottom trotlines seines oating gillnets and sh traps are used Relatively slowmoving sidechannels of rivers typically passing around islands Here stationary gillnets and castnets are frequently used Lakes are especially noticeable on the oodplains of white water rivers and some sh species such as pirarucu spend most of their lives in such placid environments Here harpoons bows and arrows gillnets pole shing and seines are used Film Amazon Land of The Flooded Forest National Geographic Video narrated by William Shatner Clear Water Clear water rivers such as the Xingu Tapajos Xingu and Trombetas do not carry much sediment because they drain relatively at terrain Clear water rivers are characterized by 0 Acidic conditions with a pH around 55 o Modest oodplains since there is not much suspended sediment The oodplain are composed mostly of sand Agriculture is therefore poorly developed on oodplains of clear water rivers Paucity of nutrients Clear water rivers drained the heavily weathered Brazilian and Guianan shields Soils are deep and most of the nutrients have long been leached out by the torrential rains or are locked up in the plant and animal biomass Clear water rivers are not commercially important for sheries because they do not support a large sh biomass 13 In comparison to sedimentrich rivers the clear water rivers are relatively sparsely settled However they are the focus of hydroelectric dam construction Black Water Black water rivers drain relatively at landscapes where sandy soils predominate The world s largest black water river is the Negro in the Brazilian Amazon Black water rivers derive their color from organic compounds especially tannins leached from leaf litter on the topsoil In the Amazon large amounts of leaf litter accumulate under stunted trees on sandy soils because the soil microfauna and micro ora has a hard time breaking it down The leaves are impregnated with chemicals to discourage predation Sandy soils are so poor in nutrients that the trees cannot afford to lose them so they protect themselves by manufacturing toxic compounds to discourage bugs from eating the leaves The trees cannot afford to lose their leaves because sandy soils contain few nutrients to replenish those lost from predation Sandy soils have far fewer adsorption sites for soil nutrients than clay The accumulated leaves on the ground act like tealeaves when the rain washes through them the water takes on a teacolor that looks black in large volumes Black water rivers are characterized by Extremely acid conditions with a pH around 4 to 45 This acidity separates out many sh species that cannot thrive in such waters On the other hand it provides lots of open niches for sh that can adapt to such acid conditions The Negro River in Amazonia has over 700 species of sh Modest oodplains since there is not much suspended sediment The narrow oodplains of black water rivers contain mostly sandy bars and islands Extreme paucity of nutrients Fish biomass is therefore low and black water rivers are not important for commercial sheries However just because biomass is low does not mean that species diversity is low as exempli ed by the large number of sh species in the Negro Film Secrets of the Golden River ABCKane Productions narrated by Anthony Hopkins River Volumes As rivers of different water types discharge into the Amazon the latter swallows them up within a few kilometers because of its enormous volume The distinct characteristics of the af uents are thus diluted by the Amazon River Water type Drainage Area Discharge 106 kmz 10 m3yr Amazon I rich 60 68 T J avari 05 05 01 Clear Sedimentrich Aquatic Resources under Siege Factors that are Threatening Fisheries in the Region ND i U 1 kJI O l 00 D Introduced shing technologies especially gillnets and seines The advent of dieselpowered boats has allowed shing boats to range much further in search of sh stocks to exploit Formerly shing boats used sails Indians only employed canoes so that they did not range far in search of sh The use of ice to preserve sh Fishing boats can thus stay away from their home port for up to a month capturing sh in many different locations Ice only started to be produced on a commercial scale in the early part of this century Urban growth Most cities and towns in Amazonia are growing rapidly thereby creating ever larger markets for sh Development of extraregional markets In the past sh in Amazonia were consumed locally Now sh exports are increasing to other regions and countries Hydroelectric dams cut off migratory routes for sh drown oodplains above the dam and alter water chemistry and sediment loads downstream from the dam The 4000 MW Tucurui dam on the Tocantins for example closed in 1984 and has permanently inundated several hundred kilometers of the Tocantins oodplain as well as 2000 sq km of upland forest Other dams include the 2100 sq km Balbina reservoir on the Uatuma River near Manaus which closed in 1987 which was supposed to generate 250 MW and the 216 MW Samuel dam on the Jamari River in Rondonia which was completed in 1989 and has ooded 560 sq km Deforestation on oodplains especially along sedimentrich rivers for cattle and water buffalo ranching and to grow crops In the long term habitat destruction is the single greatest threat to the region s sheries Mercury contamination as a result of gold mining Although the levels of mercury may not kill sh they render them dangerous to eat Some species especially predatory sh accumulate or concentrate mercury Breakdown of cultural checks to overfishing Commercial shing eets are challenging local beliefs in supernatural protectors of sh PowerPoint Fishing in the Amazon The Decline of the Giant River turtle In Amazonia and Orinoco the giant or South American River turtle Podocnemis expansa is one of several species of sidenecked turtles in the genus Podocnemis and rivals alligator snapper in size The giant river turtle known as tartaruga in Brazil charapa in Peru and arrau in Venezuela reaches 50 kg at maturity Its carapace or shell measures 1 meter in length Other species of Podocnemis are eaten in the Amazon but they have historically been less important because they are smaller are not social nesters and are sometimes restricted to certain water types Podocnemis unifilis known as tracaja in Brazil and taricaya in Peru weighs about 12 kg when mature occurs in all water types It is caught with trotlines baited with various fruits of oodplain forest Its elongated eggs are avidly sought by locals Iaca or pitiu Podocnemis sextuberculata weights about 6 kg when mature and occurs only on the oodplains of sedimentrich rivers The redheaded turtle Podocnemis erythocephala known locally as irapuca has a distinctive red snout and is con ned to black waters such as the Rio Negro It is a relatively small turtle weighing some 68 kg when adult Its eggs are collected and eaten raw mixed with manioc our A closely related species cabecudo Peltocephalus dumerilianus weighs up to 25 kg and is con ned to black and clear waters including rainforest streams It is an important source of food along the Rio Negro where it is the most commonly eaten turtle now These smaller turtles are now more commonly eaten than the giant turtle an example of the whaling syndrome Nesting Habits and T urtling Mortality P expansa is a social nester congregating by sandy beaches at low water where mating occurs Eggs are laid at night although the population along the Tapajos deposits its eggs during the day suggesting genetic differences between populations The South American River turtle lays about 90 eggs which take about 7 weeks to hatch 16 Sometimes nests drowned by early rise of waters and there is a high mortality of turtlings since they often emerge during day they are easy victims of storks and vultures Also many baby turtles succumb to waiting predators once in the water including ca1mans Importance of the T artle to Indians Along the Amazon and lower courses of some of the river s tributaries indigenous people kept the turtles in aquatic corrals essentially fenced in areas of the river close to villages Some corrals contained more than 1000 turtles as described by Friar Caspar de Carvajal during Orellana s eXpedition down the Amazon in 1542 as well as by Acu a a Roman Catholic missionary in early 1600s Turtles called river cattle by early European travelers The corralled turtles were an especially important source of protein at high water when sh are dispersed over vast oodplains The esh was and still is greatly appreciated in a variety of dishes Eggs were dehydrated over res for later use in cooking Carapaces were and still are used for a variety of purposed including o Basins and bowls in kitchens Buckets to carry mud to building sites Suspended pots for ornamental plants Stepping stones To fashion combs Carapaces and plastrons were burnt for ash the tempering material to be mixed with clay for pottery The skin around the neck and legs was used to make tobacco pouches and stretched to cover tambourines probably uses developed in colonial times Main Capture Methods Female turtles were and still are captured after laying their eggs on sandy beaches The turtles are ipped over on their backs an operation called viragdo from virar turn over Arrows such as among the Conibo along the Ucayali in the Peruvian Amazon and still practiced by some Indians along the lower Rio Branco in Roraima Harpoon particularly as the turtles came to feed on the fruits of arum called aninga in Brazil Arum occurs exclusively on the oodplains of sediment rich rivers and sometimes forms dense stands called an aningal Indians would hide in the arum stands and harpoon the unsuspecting turtles Some indigenous groups such as the Paumari of Purus where deft enough swimmers to catch them in the water Trotlines baited with fruit were used to catch the turtles as they still are today with the smaller tracaja T urtleinspired Pottery Because the turtles were so important in the diet of indigenous peoples especially along rivers it is not surprising that turtle motifs are found in pottery and stone amulets The Tapajo who once inhabited the presentday city of Santarem fashioned some of their pots in the shape of turtles probably used as lamps containing oil Along the Trombetas indigenous groups fashioned turtles from soapstone the purpose is unclear The Caraja Indians who inhabit a lowlying island called the Bananal between the Tocantins and Araguaia rivers fashioned colorful clay images of turtles presumably used as toys Folklore and Turtles Several indigenous groups believe in a spirit protector of turtles including The Mundurucu who inhabit the Upper Tapajos River The Tumpasa of the Beni River in the Bolivian Amazon Along the Orinoco in Venezuela tribes believed a female spirit protected nesting turtles and would hard anyone molesting them Such beliefs paid off by helping to sustain an important natural resource In spite of thousands of years of hunting by aborigines turtles numerous until arrival of Europeans Ch unges in Turtle Exploitation introduced by Europeans The most important change in eXploitation patterns introduced by Europeans was the destruction of large quantities of eggs for their oil Missionaries and traders wanted oil derived from turtle eggs for lighting and cooking Oil derived for eggs of the South American River turtle was considered especially fine with no overpowering taste At low water parties organized by the Portuguese rulers would assemble on certain nesting beaches to process the eggs Eggs were crushed by paddles or trampled in canoes like grapes Water was added to the canoes and the oil rose to the surface The oil was then skimmed off and boiled to remove any remaining water The oil was then stored in clay pots The finest oil was obtained from the turtle s body fat and thousands were butchered solely for this purpose and meat tossed away Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira a Brazilian eXplorer of the 18th century and author of the landmark book Viagem F iloso39fiea pelas Capitarzias a39o Grao Para Rio Negro Mato Grosso e Cuiaba noted that at Barcelos along the Rio Negro the Portuguese Army garrison corralled turtles as a major source of meat The turtles were collected from nesting beaches Between 1780 1785 53000 turtles were placed in the garrison s corral of which 17000 died before consumption Jesuits tried to conserve the resource by protecting 13 of nesting beaches but this eventually broke down Dimensions of trade in turtle egg oil Many travelers and naturalists in the 1700s and 1800s noted the importance of turtle oil in the regional economy and several eXpressed alarm at the dimensions of the trade Henry Walter Bates one of the great 19th century naturalists who spent 11 years in the Amazon and author of The Naturalist on the RiverAmazons 1864 reported that 6000 pots of turtle oil were eXported annually from Upper Amazon and Madeira Rivers in 1860s with an additional 2000 pots consumed locally Each pot of oil requires 6000 eggs so 48 million eggs destroyed annually the thwarted reproductive effort of some 400000 turtles Jose Coutinho a Brazilian naturalist noted that the S American River turtle was so numerous along the Rio Madeira in the 1850s that the clacking of turtle shells could be heard for great distances Writing in 1868 Coutinho noted quotFor the love of an insignificant profit the population destroys one of the greatest resources that could assure its subsistence and well being of its children as well as the happiness of generations to comequot An American zoologist from Harvard Louis Agassiz who was on an eXpedition in the Amazon in the latter half of the 19th century to collect specimens for the university s museum notes in his bookA Journey in Brazil 1896 that he had trouble securing enough assistants at Tefe along the middle Amazon because so many people had left town to process turtle eggs We had at first some difficulty in finding servants at this f1shing season when the men are going off to dry and salt fish and when the season for hunting turtleeggs and making turtlebutter is coming on the town is almost deserted by the men Edward Mathews a British engineer on his way to work on the MadeiraMamore railroad in the 1870s remarked in his book Up the Amazon andMadeira Rivers through Bolivia and Peru quotFor miles as far as the eye can see which hereabouts runs straight for 6 or 7 miles were continuous rows of turtle at the water s edge the rows being eight or ten deep many thousands must have collected togetherquot Population crash of the South American River turtle came in 1870s Turtle oil production in Amazonia and Orinoco Year Location Oil traded Eggs destroyed annuall in millions 1719 Upper Amazon 192000 lbs 24 1804 Orinoco 5000 pots 25 1840s Upper Amazon 6000 pots 36 1860s Upper Amazon and 8000 pots 48 Madeira 1870s Madeira 2000 pots 4 1882 Brazilian Amazon 6028 kg 2 1894 Brazilian Amazon 14450 kg 4 1901 Amazonas Brazil 3697 kg 1 Note that a wild population does not always witness a gradual decline in case of P expansa the population crashed because a large cohort of older females died offiindividuals of this species may live for decades or even a centuryi combined with some natural disasters such as several years in a row when nesting beaches were drowned before the eggs could hatch A parallel case with the collapse of the offshore Peruvian f1shery after a decade or so of intensive f1shing pressure followed by a severe El Ni o event The scarcity of the South American River turtle has driven up prices and it has become a luxury item In 1971 were selling for 30 a piece but by 1978 had reached 100 In the 1990s the price had reached 150200 per turtle a continued price rise even after compensating for in ation 20 Tartaruga is a prestige dish offered in private residences on special occasions such as birthdays The market is driven also by the belief that turtle meat and eggs are an aphrodisiac Continued Threats to Remaining Turtles Habitat destruction by dam building Illegal harvesting of females and their eggs at nesting beaches which are nominally protected Domestication Efforts Although the S American River Turtle was corralled in precontact and colonial times it was never truly domesticated ie bred in captivity In the 1970s a regional development agency for the Brazilian Amazon SUDAM provided fiscal incentives for a few individuals to raise and breed the turtles but none of the operations was apparently successful But the high value of the meat and its cultural importance warrant further efforts to domesticate the species because It does breed in captivity but more eggs would hatch if they were dug up and incubated At the moment many nests are destroyed in artificial ponds by rats and large lizards The water may need to be lowered in pondsreservoirs to trigger the environmental clue for breeding It may be possible to inject turtles with hormones to promote breeding success Do well in captivity and cheap to feed since herbivorous Even though the turtles take longer to gain weight than chickens or pigs their meat is more valuable Also their diet is cheaper since they are exclusively vegetarian Since they are reptiles they do not convert feed into heat to keep warm Slide Show Turtles as a Natural Resource For the second test read The Smithsonian Atlas of the Amazon Sample Questions The correct answer is the first option According to the film Secrets of the Golden River the trade in aquarium fish is concentrated along which river 1 Negro 21 2 Jurua 3 Napo 4 Tapajos 5 Purus Which plants especially When found in groves can be considered indicators of past human disturbance andor enrichment planting at the site 1 Tucuma curua and mucaja palms Brazil nut Parana pine and avocado Babacu palm American oil palm and pecan Rubber oaks and teak Teak ebony and Brazil nut knth According to the book The Smithsonian Atlas of the Amazon the notion that the Amazon is the lungs of the earth is l A fallacy 2 True and the earth is running low on oxygen because of deforestation in the Amazon 3 True because the Amazon rainforest produces more oxygen than it consumes 4 True because the Amazon carries dissolved oxygen down from volcanic soils in the Andes 5 True because more photosynthesis occurs in the Amazon than in the oceans Map checklist for second exam Rivers Araguaia Beni Caqueta in ColombiaJapura in Brazil Guapore Huallaga Javari Jurua Madeira Madre de Dios Mamore Mara on Napo Purus Tocantins Trombetas Ucayali Xingu 22 Urban Centers Barcelos Manaus Nauta Puerto Maldonado Requena Santar m Tef Dams Tucurui Tocantins River Balbina on the Uatumi River near Manaus Amazonia Gea 4465 Lecture Notes Part 3 Nigel Smith Professor Department of Geography University of Florida Agricultural Systems Agrofo restry Agroforestry is sometimes de ned as the growing of a tree crop with an annual food crop A more useful de nition is the intercropping of at least two species of which one is a perennial Agroforestry is often touted as the most desirable because it o Replicates the forest and contains more biodiversity than more homogenous production systems 0 Provides a carbon sink thereby helping to slow at least in theory global warming Suppresses weeds thereby reducing the need for manual labor or herbicides Uses incoming solar radiation more ef ciently because of the tiered effect Provides more of a sponge for rainfall and therefore helps preserve streams and other water courses But agroforestry needs to be put in perspective it is but one of several land use systems in Amazonia and occupies much less space than some other land use systems especially cattle ranching and the cultivation of manioc or upland rice Agroforestry is not new in Amazonia Many indigenous groups have practiced agroforestry in various forms for millennia including managed fallows in which perennial crops are planted alongside shortcycle crops so that the fallow period is a kind of orchard Agroforestry is common also among Mestizo populations Two main kinds of agroforestry in Amazonia 1 Field agroforestry 2 Home gardens Field Agroforestry A Perennial Relay Race The composition of agroforestry elds changes over time as some short to medium lifespan crops such as manioc are harvested and phased out while fruit trees come into production and in some systems longerliving species such as timber trees eventually take over Major Constraints to Expansion of Field Agroforestry for Commercial Farmers Socioeconomic factors are the primary constraints to further development of agroforestry in the Brazilian Amazon Socioeconomic issues that warrant attention in order to unleash the full potential of agroforestry in Amazonia include o Inadequate agroindustrial facilities for processing fruits nuts and other products of agroforestry systems 0 Insufficient credit at reasonable interest rates for the establishment of agroindustries and to help farmers establish perennial crops 0 Cumbersome and costly mechanisms for delivering what relatively little credit is available Ineff1cient means of relaying market information to farmers Generally weak or noneXistent growers associations and cooperatives most such organizations lack the accounting and management skills to operate along business lines o Erratic energy supplies in many urban areas which hampers agroindustrial development 0 Poor condition of rural roads especially feed roads to main highways which restrict access to markets and processing facilities Agricultural research and extension systems have generally not been very helpful because In general neither the public sector research system nor extension by government agencies and nongovemment organizations N GOs are meeting the needs of farmers involved in agroforestry at least on any significant scale Reasons for this mismatch include A topdown approach to agricultural research and development agroforestry models are generally conceived on research stations and introduced to farmers as complete packages Farmers are rarely involved in the design and implementation of agroforestry configurations Most researchers are reluctant to spend much time in the eld especially with farmers Indigenous knowledge systems are thus largely ignored The research institutes in the Brazilian Amazon are understaffed and under funded The government extension agencies are largely ineffective for a variety of reasons including drastically reduced budgets NGOs generally lack research capacity and although they are ostensibly grassroots efforts they may not entirely understand the constraints and needs of their clients nor are they often in a position to propose the most suitable technologies The linkages between forest conservation and agroforestry development are generally not recognized The forest is an important source of genetic resources for improving many existing crops used in agroforestry systems as well as a reservoir of crop candidates that could play a significant role in boosting incomes in the future Opportunities therefore exist for promoting conservation and agricultural development in the region Inadequate attention is paid to existing and potential markets when planning research and extension programs Research on crops is often out of tune with what farmers want to plant Because farmers are generally way ahead of the research community in terms of crop selection with current market value researchers at agricultural research stations sometimes pursue work on crops of little interest to farmers Demand for highquality planting material for crops used in agroforestry systems far outstrips supply More support is needed for public and private sector involvement in this vital service PowerPoint Agroforestry and Home Gardens Home Gardens Home gardens have been largely neglected by agricultural scientists because of a bias against such traditional and nonproductive agricultural systems But home gardens are important on several counts because they are Very diverse agroforestry systems containing many more species than typically found in field agroforestry hence lots of preadapted varieties to screen for commercialscale planting Center for domesticating wild plants from the forest example of cupuacu o Arenas for introducing exotic plants from other regions and trying them out on a smallscale before committing to eld planting One of the quothottestquot cash crops in Para in the 1980s and 1990s Barbados cherry started out as a backyard bush for home consumption Barbados cherry is native to the Caribbeannorthem coast of S America JapaneseBrazilian farmers first introduced Barbados cherry to their backyards in the Bragantina zone east of Belem after testing the market for its vitamin Crich juice Acerola as the crop is known in Brazil has since taken off as a commercial crop in elds often intercropped with other perennials o Gathering centers for families and neighbors to rest work on crafts and repairs converse and play Home gardens typically contain a mixture of exotic and native species Common perennials from the Asian tropics in home gardens in Amazonia are mango Mangifera indica sweet orange Citrus sinensis From PolynesiaPacific Ocean Coconut Cocos nucifera Breadfruit Jackfruit Ambarella Spondias dulcis called taperiba in Peru and cajarana in Brazil The prominent role of exotics in home gardens underscores the continuity of the ancient process of crop exchange Reliance on native species alone for quotsustainablequot development is unwarranted Exotic crops tend to escape their associated pests and diseases at least for a while Local people are quite capable of sorting out the quotrightquot mix of indigenous and imported crops that best fits their needs Useful Products supplied by home gardens Home gardens are resource islands that provide a wide variety of goods for domestic consumption such as food beverages construction materials firewood and household supplies Specific productsuses from home garden plants 0 Fruit over 45 species 0 Hot beverage esp coffee cacao o Juice over 18 species Alcoholic drink genipap Nuts Brazil nut and others Food colorant Annatto Condimentfood avor Textiletwine Wick for kerosene lamps cotton Caulking for canoes and boats cotton Bowl calabash gourd Staple food manioc sweet potato Cooking oil nut of babacu palm and pulp of mucaja palm Thatch for houses and vegetable nurseries fronds of babacu palm and urucuri palm Piscicide leaves of cunambi bush are mixed with manioc dough to stupefy sh Fish bait several species Firewood especially pau mulato Folk remedies numerous species Mulch especially rotten munguba for vegetables and spice gardens Livestock feed numerous species No single item found in home gardens may be economically signi cant but when the contribution of all the plant products of home gardens are considered their value to households is considerable Plants in home gardens are employed for dozens of purposes thus helping families to avoid or reduce purchases Agroforestry Potential of Floodplains The Amazon oodplain has much untapped potential for agroforestry development because of o The rich diversity of perennial plants found in home gardens some of which could be cultivated readily in commercial agroforestry elds while others would be a promising base from which to start breeding and selection efforts The rich alluvial soils which are rejuvenated by annual oods Proximity to relatively ineXpensive river transportation Many of the larger urban centers in the Amazon are located along the Amazon River and its estuary including Belem Macapa and Santarem Some diverse agroforestry systems have been developed by farmers on oodplains such as along the Ucayali River in Peru where some elds chacras have 23 different intercropped fruit trees F ishbait Trees Several trees are deliberately planted left when the house site is cleared or protected if they arise spontaneously in home gardens because they are used as sh bait Some of these shbait trees could be planted in agroforestry systems or monocultural stands to provide valuable supplemental feed to sh farm operations on uplands Main sh used in sh farming is tambaqui Colossoma macropomum an omnivore that depends heavily on fruits at high water to fatten up Fishbait fruits include Catauar139 Crataeva benthamz Taruma Vitex cymosa Urua Cordia sp Rubber Hevea brasiliensis Annual Cropping 0n Uplands and Floodplains Before planting perennials to form agroforestry plots farmers often sow annual crops such as maize rice beans squashes sweet potato and manioc precocious varieties On uplands after the annual crops are harvested the area may be abandoned to second growth capoeira juqueira in Brazil purma in Peru Alternatively perennials such as fruit trees and bushes are planted before the annual crops are harvested On oodplains of sediment rich rivers yields of annual crops are generally higher because of the soil s fertility On lower parts of oodplains perennials are not planted but they are on banks of rivers Thus annuals cropping systems sometimes transform into agroforestry plots even in seasonally ooded areas PowerPoint Annual cropping Cattle Ranching curse 0r blessing for sustainable development Cattle ranching in Amazonia has been much criticized especially by the international media along several fronts o Destruction of large areas of forest and loss of biodiversity Some have even argued that cattle ranching will turn the Amazon into a desert such as in the title of a 1975 book by Robert Goodland and Howard Irwin entitled Amazon Jungle Green Hell to Red Desert 0 Con icts with previous residents in some areas occasionally leading to violent clashes particularly in southeastern Para and parts of Acre Cattle ranching employs few people a problem in areas of low employment opportunities Several myths need clari cation at the outset 1 It has been suggested that Amazonia is or has been involved in the N U 1 hamburger connection In fact the Amazon is a net importer of beef and has never been a signi cant eXporter of beef because of hoofandmouth disease Many people still think that cattle ranching in the Amazon is an artifact of scal incentives and that removal of such incentives will brake the grass rush in the Brazilian Amazon Fiscal incentives in the late 1960s 1970s and early 1980s did indeed provide opportunities for corporations to invest half of their taX bill in approved development projects in the Amazon Most opted for cattle ranching But the last remaining scal incentive for cattle ranching in the Brazilian Amazon was removed in 1991 yet cattle ranching is accelerating rather than slowing down The strong trend to cattle ranching is being driven by local and regional markets now scal incentives Another myth is that cattle ranching is ubiquitous in the Amazon whereas it is concentrated in the Brazilian part of the Amazon In the Peruvian Amazon for example cattle have never been important historically and cattle ranching is still a minor undertaking even today Cattle ranching is often thought to be the domain of large landholders But small and mediumscale landowners are also heavily involved in cattle production particularly in the last few decades The main issue is how to intensify cattle production on eXisting pastures and to incorporate cattle production with tree crops called agrosilvopastoril in Brazil so that pressure on the remaining pasture is reduced Technologies eXist for improvingrenovating pasture including Replacement of rst and second generation grasses with more productive brachiarao Brachiaria brizantha Fertilization with phosphorus Fencing pastures to rotate grazing pressure Selecting more precocious cattle but super breeds can require more veterinary care In southern Para ranchers are cropping soybean in the renovation phase to generate income to help cover pasture restoration costs and to replenish soil with nitrogen In Acre some ranchers plant a crop of maize in the renovation phase to generate cash although maize does not have Rhizobium bacteria in its roots to X nitrogen The degree to which farmersranchers renovate their pastures is determined largely by the market price of beef In the Brazilian Amazon cattle pasture dominates land use in cleared areas Pressure to clear forest for cattle ranching is increasing because 1 Brazil is gradually eliminating footandmouth disease and therefore is increasing exports of chilled beef Brazil is now the world s 1 beef exporter surpassing Australia in 2004 and the US in 2003 Although many parts of the Brazilian Amazon still have footandmouth disease beef herds are increasing there to satisfy demand in central and southern Brazil as exports drive up the price of domestic beef 2 All Brazilian beefis green not feedlot meat and is free of mad cow disease While the beef herd in the Brazilian Amazon rose to 57 million by 2003 doubling over the last decade only relatively small areas of the Peruvian Amazon have been cleared for cattle pasture One major reason fewer roads connecting the Amazon of Peru with major population centers in the Andes and along the coast PowerPoint Cattle and Water Buffalo Ranching The Logging Industry and NonTimber Forest Products The Logging Boom Main points Asian nations particularly Malaysia are starting to look at Amazonia as the next major frontier for tropical timber as forests are logged out in SE Asia Although the Amazon has exported sawn timber for some time especially of mahogany much of the timber logged in the Brazilian Amazon goes to markets in the Northeast and southern parts of Brazil Sustainable management of Amazonian forests for timber is still in its infancy For the most part it does not pay to manage forests sustainably because of the abundance of forest Over time however forest management will become more common as the forest area continues to shrink and logging pressure on the remaining forests increase Forest management more likely to be taken on by major corporations rather than the itinerant sawmill operators called picapart in Brazil Certification programs that allegedly give the good housekeeping seal of approval on sustainably harvested lumber may not be reliable o The planting of timber species will become more common both by small farmers in agroforestry systems and on large plantations by corporations 0 As more timber is harvested from cultivated trees the need to save forest as genetic reservoirs for improving the domesticated species becomes even more urgent PowerPoint The Logging Industry NonTimber Forest Products The main economic activity in terms of export earnings in Amazonia is minerals In second place is timber Nontimber forest products is way down on the list below agriculture including ranching Forest extraction products as in the case of agriculture in the Amazon has been characterized by boomandbust cycles of which rubber is the most famous Historical decline of the importance of nontimber forest products Nontimber forest products peaked in economic importance around 1910 and have been declining ever since In the 1950s agriculture surpassed forest extraction But many extractive products do not enter markets but are nevertheless a significant activity especially when considering medicinal plants Locally some extractive industries are very important for income generation as in the case of acai Euterpe oleracea palm for fruit and heartofpalm Two extractive products will be proflled acai palm and andiroba The former provides fruit and heartofpalm the latter provides an essential oil used in the manufacture of soaps hand cream and aromatherapy Rubber The most important source of natural rubber is latex tapped from the rubber Hevea brasiliensis which is native to the Amazon Basin and produces the best quality rubber Other sources of rubber have included some other species of Hevea as well as caucho Castilla ulei Latex from caucho was obtained by cutting down the rainforest trees and making large gashes to drain the liquid into containers The tree was thus killed and the densities of this tree declined in many parts of the Amazon Basin during the rubber boom Today caucho is no longer harvested PowerPoint Rubber The rubber tree H evea brasiliensis source of natural rubber is native to the Amazon basin but was hardly used for that purpose by Indians there A few tribes such as the Omagua who lived along the upper Amazon tapped the bark of rubber trees to obtain the sticky white lateX for making water bottles and balls for playing games Rubber trees were more useful however for their seeds which were used by many more Indian groups for fish bait and as a snack food Seeds of rubber can be safely eaten after prolonged soaking or boiling to remove cyanic poisons Peasants in the Amazon today continue to use rubber seeds as fish bait but rarely for food Two steps were necessary before natural rubber took off as a commercial proposition 1 A process to make natural rubber more durable 2 A sizable market for the product The vulcanization process developed by Charles Goodyear in 1838 took care of the first step Vulcanization involves treating natural rubber with sulfur so that it is much more resistant to cracking when cold and melting when hot The bicycle craze of the late 19th century and the beginning of massproduced automobiles in the early 1900s provided a growing market for natural rubber Before that natural rubber was exported in limited quantities to provide tubes in the pharmaceutical industry and for weatherproofmg material particularly rain coats and to make rubber boots Natural rubber is still in demand today for such products as radial tires for cars aircraft tires and even shock absorbers in buildings in earthquakeprone areas Film F itzcarraldo a Werner Herzog film with Klaus Kinski and Claudia Cardinale The rubber boom in the Amazon lasted roughly from 1870 to 1910 During that period hundreds of thousands of rubber tappers seringueiros fanned out into the Amazon forest many from the droughtplagued Northeast of Brazil Even some foreigners desperate for work andor adventure joined the rubber tappers including Dutchmen and Americans Rubber tappers would set up a hut in the forest typically by a water course where they would live for about 46 months during the rubber tapping season the dry season 11 Each tapper typically worked two trails estradas on alternate days during the 6 month dry season Each rubber trail consisted of 80300 trees and was some 35 km long In the early morning the trees were cut and the lateX then dripped into a cup Later in the day the tapper returned to tip the lateX into a container which was taken back to his hut The lateX was then coagulated over an open smoky fire The large rubber balls were then periodically taken to the patron patrdo and his earnings were deducted against the costs of goods extended to him In Brazil this is called the aviamento system ie credit is extended by grub staking the tappers Few rubber tappers made much money under this system but some cleared pro ts Most of the wealth generated by the rubber boom accumulated in the cites such as Manaus Belem and Iquitos The famous opera house in Manaus which celebrated its centenary in 1996 was built with money generated from the rubber boom Origin of the Crop s Name The British took rubber back and found that it could erase pencil marks hence the name quotrubberquot Emergence of Plantations in Tropical Asia In 1876 Henry Wickham obtained rubber seeds from the Santarem area and took them to the Royal Botanical Garden Kew located near London Some of the seeds were still viable and were sprouted in a greenhouse at Kew the seedlings were then dispatched to a couple of botanic gardens in the British Empire Sri Lanka then called Ceylon and Singapore Wickham s actions are sometimes portrayed as a great seed snatch Henry Wickham an Englishman is often mistakenly portrayed as a savvy individual who smuggled rubber seeds out of Brazil in 1876 Several points are worth emphasizing about this story 1 There were no laws prohibiting the eXport of seeds or plant material from Brazil at that time 2 Wickham eXported rubber seeds out of the Amazon with the full knowledge of customs authorities in Belem at the mouth of the Amazon and the region s principal city 3 Wickham himself boasted of his brave accomplishment of smuggling seed out of the Amazon on his majesty s service to boost his image and thereby increase his chances of being selected for other assignments 4 Brazilians often point to the Wickham affair as a reason why the eXport of native plants should be strictly controlled in order to protect assets and allow Brazil to develop the plant resources themselves But some of Brazil s leading export crops such as coffee and soybeans are based on crops imported to Brazil 5 Marxists generally like the smuggling story because it fits the image of a colonial power ripping of a developing country 6 Wickham was not the first person to obtain rubber seeds from Brazil but he was the first to obtain seeds that survived and produce mature trees in the Old World Several consignments of rubber seeds from Amazonia in the preceding decades either failed to germinate or the seedlings perished Rubber seeds were sent to India from Brazil in 1873 but the resulting plants soon died A second shipment of seeds in 1875 was no longer viable when it reached India In 1876 Henry Wickham and his assistant Robert Cross changed the course of rubber s history when they collected 70000 rubber seeds from the Amazon and legally eXported them to the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew near London Only 2397 seeds of that consignment germinated at Kew In the same year Kew sent 1919 of those seedlings in Wardian cases to Sri Lanka then Ceylon where they were planted at Heneratogoda a satellite garden of Peradeniya part of a network of botanic gardens established by the British during the colonial era The Peradeniya Botanic Garden later sent some rubber seeds produced by the seedlings to the Singapore Botanic Gardens also under British control In 1877 the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew sent 22 rubber seedlings to the Singapore Botanic Gardens These 22 seedlings together with seedlings obtained from Peradeniya formed most of the stock for the rubber plantations of Southeast Asia Life on Southeast Asian rubber plantations is depicted in a Hollywood film Red Dust starring the late Clark Gable This radical transformation of the rubber industry was made possible by Introducing rubber seedlings to Southeast Asia where abundant and ineXpensive labor was readily available to tend plantations and By the development of a better knife and improved cutting methods which did less damage to rubber trees Rubber escaped most diseases and pests in its new environment in SE Asia N U Henry Ridley one of the early directors of the Singapore Botanic Gardens designed and tested the new tapping knife and urged growers to plant rubber on a large scale Rubber is cultivated on 19 million hectares in Southeast Asia and 500000 smallholders account for nearly twothirds of the planted area In Thailand virtually all rubber production is in the hands of smallholders The 1932 film Red Dust starring Clark Gable captures the atmosphere of plantation life on a rubber estate in Malaysia The Collapse of the Rubber Boom The introductions to Singapore started the rubber plantations in Southeast Asia which started producing by 1910 and by 1920 had completely surpassed production of wild rubber from the Amazon For a view oflife on a rubber plantation in Vietnam during the 1940s see the film Indochine starring Catherine Deneuve French with English subtitles 1993 Southeast Asia currently provides over 95 percent of the world s natural rubber Rubber generates over 3 billion in export earnings and is particularly important to the economies of Malaysia Indonesia Thailand and Sri Lanka Indonesia will rival Malaysia as the leading producer within a decade or two and China has recently expanded production in the southern part of the country and now ranks fourth in world production of natural rubber Brazil the native home of rubber now imports the product Rubber tapped from wild trees in Amazonia accounted for 94 percent of world rubber production in 1908 but by 1928 the region accounted for less than three percent of global production of natural rubber More than 95 of natural rubber now comes from plantations mostly in Southeast Asia The Narrow Genetic Base of Plantations The germplasm base of the extensive rubber plantations of Southeast Asia is extremely narrow The hundreds of millions of rubber trees planted there are genetically very homogeneous This worrisome genetic quotsimplicityquot can be traced to 0 Limited introductions of seedling stock once rubber plantations became established in Southeast Asia Brazil prohibited the export of rubber germplasm in an unsuccessful attempt to regain its former preeminence as a supplier of natural rubber In the 1980s Brazil and Malaysia exchanged a limited amount of rubber Brazil received some highlyproductive clones from Malaysia while Malaysia received some wild rubber seeds But the fresh infusion of genes was still limited in terms of the broad genepool of rubber o Stringent quarantine regulations that have hampered germplasm exchange efforts Less than two dozen seedlings and a few additional seeds is a shaky foundation for a major plantation crop The full genetic potential of a species is unlikely to be contained in such a limited founding stock But the story gets worse The 70000 seeds collected by Henry Wickham and Robert Cross in 1876 probably came from only 26 rubber trees Even though rubber is an outcrosser being fertilized by pollen carried by insects such as midges and thrips slightly over two dozen female parents represents only a minuscule sample of rubber s genepool Seed stock for the world s rubber industry thus passed through a tight bottleneck that surely excluded many valuable genes Furthermore Wickham and Cross conf1ned their collecting to a very limited area of the natural range of rubber near Boim on the lower Tapajos River This restricted sampling of rubber trees was due to the fact that a steamship a rare sight along the Amazon in those days was waiting to return to England and rubber seeds had to be assembled quickly for shipment since they deteriorate rapidly Attempts to send rubber seed to Kew prior to 1876 had failed because the seed embryos died waiting for passage or during the several week trip by sailboat to England Unfortunately the area where Wickham and Cross collected seeds in 1876 is one of the poorest environments for rubber trees In spite of the narrow genetic base from which to work rubber breeders in Southeast Asia have done a remarkable job of increasing the productivity of rubber plantations The greatly increased spectacularly between 1910 and 1960s were due in large part to budgrafting of superior clones Rubber yields on rubber plantations in Southeast Asia increased nearly f1vefold by the 1940s In the 1970s some Asian rubber plantations were achieving yields approaching 1000 kgha a remarkable 17fold increase from 1910 yield levels Major Breeding Thrusts and Challenges Rubber breeding began in 1919 under the Dutch in Indonesia and now close to a dozen countries have rubber breeding programs The Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia RRIM accounts for threequarters of global research eXpenditures on natural rubber As in most crops increased yields and disease resistance are the two primary goals of rubber breeding programs But other high priorities for breeders of the crop include o Adaptability to various soils 15 0 Ability to produce high yields even in areas with suboptimal rainfall drought tolerance is a soughtafter trait by rubber breeders in China India and Vietnam 0 Shorter trees to reduce storm damage and softer bark The desire for windfast rubber trees has arisen because sturdiness is negatively correlated with yield selection for highlyproductive trees has increased vulnerability to high winds particularly evident during typhoons Rubber s Most Serious Disease South American Leaf Blight South American leaf blight SALB is the singlemost important disease of rubber Native to the Amazon basin this fungal pathogen does not destroy wild rubber populations because the trees are dispersed in the forest Furthermore varying degrees of resistance to the disease eXist in wild rubber populations When rubber trees are crowded together as in plantations the virulent pathogen triggers massive and repeated defoliation Some trees are eventually killed by the disease while the lateX yield of the survivors drops SALB has effectively prevented the establishment of highly profitable rubber plantations in the New World The Ford Motor Company attempted to establish rubber plantations at Fordlandia and Belterra along the lower Tapajos in the Brazilian Amazon in 1928 but to no avail Successive SALB outbreaks largely doomed Ford s extensive rubber plantings which included over 4 million rubber trees In an effort to save his Amazonian enterprise Ford s scientists and technicians attempted threecomponent budding in which crowns with some resistance SALB were grafted on to highyielding trunks which in turn were budded on different rootstock costs soared and production was not competitive with output from tropical Asia Aerial spraying with fungicides can control the disease but the relatively high cost of such measures has discouraged extensive planting of rubber in Amazonia Also the pathogen would likely evolve resistant strains to fungicides thereby necessitating periodic changes in chemical formulations and further raising costs Genetic resistance to the pathogen needs to be bred into highyielding rubber varieties If SALB were to gain a foothold in Southeast Asia the results would be devastating to the economies of Malaysia Indonesia Thailand and Sri Lanka At least two decades normally elapse between the time promising material is spotted in early rubber trials until it is ready for release as clones to growers Singlegene resistance to SALB may not hold up long particularly since several strains of the pathogen occur Multiplegene resistance to SALB as well as other fungi and bacteria is thus called for Genetic Resources Rubber is a highly variable species in the wild and the best place to conserve this genetic diversity is in the wild that is establishing parks and reserves where the forest is protected Field genebanks another way of safeguarding genetic diversity of perennial crops are costly to maintain and can conserve only a thin slice of the total diversity of the species The best rubber trees in terms of quality and yield are found in southwestern Amazonia Acre in Brazil the Madre de Dios in Peru and the Beni in Bolivia Acre rubber is coveted for its outstanding strength and elasticity qualities needed for such applications as surgeons gloves Rubber has nine near relatives and several of them have already been used in breeding programs while others have been entirely ignored One wild relative of rubber seringa da serra Heveapauci ora has exhibited strong resistance to SALB In some areas H pauci ora is crownbudded on rubber to avoid SALB damage but operational costs increase Hybrids between H pauci ora and H brasiliensis resist SALB but they produce poor latex Competition from Synthetic Rubber The fortunes of natural rubber are tied to a large extent to the price of petroleum the raw material for natural rubber s major competitorisynthetic rubber As petroleum prices climb in the future so will the incentive to plant rubber When supplies of natural rubber from Southeast Asia were disrupted during the Second World War industrial nations developed synthetic rubber and some foresaw the demise of rubber as a viable commercial crop In the late 1950s synthetic rubber overtook natural rubber consumption and by the mid 1980s synthetic rubber accounted for close to twothirds of rubber use worldwide Still no artificial products can match the extraordinary resiliency and durability of natural rubber and demand for the product continues to grow All radial tires for example contain natural rubber First marketed in Europe in 1948 some twenty years lapsed before radial tires made significant inroads in the US tire market The superior performance of radial tires is due largely to their much greater content of natural rubber than conventional crossply tires Natural rubber now constitutes at least forty percent of the rubber in radial tires for automobiles Aircraft tires have always contained a large proportion of natural rubber Tires of the space shuttle are about 95 natural rubber The global concern for AIDS has resulted in an eXplosive demand for lateX gloves for use in the medical and dentistry professions Acai Palm Several species of Euterpe are found in the Amazon generally known as acai in Brazil and huasa139 in Peru and Bolivia but only two are important economically or culturally Euterpe oleracea oodplains of central and eastern Amazonia This species grows in large concentrations and forms clumps It is important for fruit and heart ofpalm This species has been introduced as an ornamental in the Peruvian Amazon but is not an economically important plant there Euterpe precatoria uplands and higher parts of oodplains throughout the Amazon Basin This species grows in scattered locations In Brazil it is often called agai de terrafirme but it not economically important there In Peru it is called huasa139 or chonta and is eXploited mainly for heartofpalm called chonta for local consumption and eXport The fruits are also eaten especially in Peru and Bolivia but the fruits are consumed locally and do not enter comer Sometimes called its fruits are gathered also but it is much less important Although Euterpe precatoria is normally found in upland forests it has long been planted on higher parts of the oodplain along the Upper Amazon The discussion below refers to the oodplain acai Euterpe oleracea The grapesized fruits of acai palm are collected and mashed to provide a satisfying drink with the consistency of a milkshake People have appreciated the distinctive avor of acai in Amazonia for millennia as evidenced by the abundance of seeds in archaeological sites on Marajo Island at the mouth of the Amazon Acai forms dense groves in the Amazon estuary where its purple fruits are still gathered in large quantities especially for urban markets The fruits bring in signi cant income for riverine dwellers ribeirinhos on alluvial islands of the lower Amazon On Combu Island near Belem for example family income exceeds 4000 per annum most of it derived from the sale of acai fruits Distribution and Density of Agai Although acai is native to parts of the Amazon oodplain its current distribution and density is the result of generations of enrichment planting In the Amazon estuary and the lower reaches of af uents near the mouth of the Amazon such as the Rio Maraca farmers frequently sow acai seeds in garden plots after harvesting annual crops to promote regeneration of the lucrative palm In some areas acai stands become so dense due to human agency that they are locally recognized as a vegetation type agaizal Acai occurs sporadically along the middle and upper stretches of the oodplain and is less important in the local diet and economy above the con uence of the Amazon and the Xingu An anomalous concentration of acai is found in the backswamp forest of the oodplain in the vicinity of Murumuru near Santarem where stands are suf ciently dense to support collecting of fruits for the local market Parts of the backswamp forest that have been cleared for shortcycle crops are sometimes planted to acai after the harvest Indigenous people probably introduced acai to the Amazon oodplain at Murumuru from seedlings gathered in forested streams that drain the scarp of the Santarem plateau planalto or along the margins of springs at the base of the steep upland bluff Harvesting of agai The fruits are gathered by farm families The task of shimmying up the slender trunks of acai which can reach almost straight up for twenty meters is left to teenage boys and girls and young men A small pliable sling peconha is placed around the feet to serve as a brace for the climber In the past the climbing loop was typically made from young acai fronds but today the sling is mostly fashioned from polypropylene sacking Once at the top the climbers cut the fruit stalks with a knife and drop or carry them to the ground On the forest oor the collectors and any waiting family members strip the fruits manually from the stalks on to a polypropylene sack or other material to keep them from rolling into the dirt the fruits are then poured into sixtykilogram sacks or baskets and carried home In some cases the fruits are stripped directly into a basket Marketing of agai 19 If the fruits of acai are destined for market they are harvested the day before for delivery in urban centers in the early morning Acai fruits spoil if they are kept at ambient temperatures for more than thirtysiX hours or so The fruits are transported to urban centers by boat or from some communities by early morning bus Farmers rarely hawk their fruit in marketplaces They either sell their fruit to local buyers who take the fruit to market or once in town hand over the fruit to wholesalers atravessadores The largest market for acai fruit is the feira do agai adjacent to Belem s Vero Peso market were dozens of wholesalers operate In the smaller towns a porter marreteiro is hired to push the fruits in a atbed wheelbarrow or pull it in a cart to an acai shop after the deal is closed In cities trucks or vans take the fruit to stores The buyers then take the fruits to town and sell them to wholesalers Prices are lowest during the main harvesting period from July to November which coincides with the height of the dry season Acai also fruits during the wetter months but yields are more modest and prices for fresh acai juice rise sharply Acai ice cream prices remain relatively constant because it is made from frozen pulp which can be stored yearround Once the fruits have been sold in town most of them end up in small acai shops where they are spun in simple cottageindustry blenders to extract the pulp Acai shops are easily recognized because of the red ag displayed out front a practice one might eXpect from a butcher rather than a store specializing in a tropical fruit Another telltale sign of an acai store is the mound of seeds sometimes discarded in the street after the pulp has been removed Not all acai shops have associated piles of seed because they are sought after by nurseries to make potting soil Consumption of agai Acai juice is typically sold in plastic bags to be taken home and eaten fresh particularly in the late afternoon or is frozen to make acai ice cream Sometimes people partake of acai at the store served in black calabash gourds Acai juice is often sweetened with sugar and thickened with tapioca or manioc our to form a porridge that is eaten with any meal but especially for lunch or dinner 20 A bowl of thick acai is so lling that for some it suffices for supper Purists appreciate the savory avor of acai straight At home acai is eaten in ceramic bowls as a sidedish or for dessert Acai is thought to provide a good balance when highly salted foods or on the menu such as salted and sundried shrimp Young and old congregate at acai stores towards the close of day to chat between spoonfuls of acai which can be ordered in thick form at a higher price or for the costconscious in a more diluted concentration Acai stores thus serve as informal meeting places to gossip and exchange information In communities along the Amazon and the lower courses of its af uents in Para and Amapa the day is not complete without a bowl or two of acai Acai contains traces of only a few vitamins and only modest amounts of iron calcium and phosphorus But the fruit is a good source of calories especially when taken with sugar and tapioca or manioc our It is the unusual savory taste of acai rather than its nutritional qualities that drives the market for this fruit Inhabitants of Para are so enamored with it that they have an expression extolling its seductive properties Chegou no Pard parou tomou agai ficou Came to Para and stopped drank acai and stayed Although for some acai is an acquired taste Pinduca a wellknown regional singer refers to the enchanting qualities of the fruit in one of his carimbo songs entitled Quem vai a0 Pard parou Carimbo is a sambalike music tradition from northeastern Para often avored by references to regional products The globalization of acai Acai has recently penetrated international markets such as the United Sates Concentrated and frozen acai juice can now be purchased online see Sambazon The frozen acai juice is shipped in dry ice Acai is becoming a popular ingredient in smoothies particularly in California It is being pitched as an antioxidant Acai is also turning up in cosmetic products such as in skin products because of acai s alleged agedefying properties and gummy bears marketed as gummi boosters with acai and green tea extract for skin balance see Borba 21 The Agai HeartofPalm Industry Acai is also harvested for its heartofpalm palmito primarily for the numerous canneries in the estuarine area Acai palmito is exported especially to France and consumed by the welltodo in urban areas of Brazil Riverine dwellers harvest palmito in the afternoon stack the baseball batsized palm hearts on elevated platforms by the port and sell them to itinerant buyers the next morning Heartofpalm is harvested by felling the trees close to the ground and cutting out the young spike of developing leaves Older trees are usually targeted for harvesting because they are taller and thus more difficult for fruit gatherers Although harvesting is a yearround activity it picks up during the rainy season when fruit yields drop If managed rationally acai groves can provide palmito on a sustained basis because the palm sprouts again when lopped off near the ground Selective pruning for heartofpalm enhances fruit production On the other hand the palm dies if the shoot is cut out at the top and the tree remains standing Some clandestine operators shimmy up acai to extract the palmito thereby destroying the resource In some areas con icts have arisen between those who depend on acai for fruits and those who harvest palmito For the most part though acai is a controlledaccess resource and therefore individual landowners make decisions about how they want to manage their stands In 1997 acai fruit prices in northern Marajo and other areas of the Amazon estuary were sufficiently strong to discourage excessive harvesting of groves for palmito PowerPoint Acai palm fruits and palmito For the third and last test read Palms Sentinels for Amazonian Conservation Sample Questions The correct answer is the first option In the film F itzcarraldo the lead character was trying to bring opera to which urban center 1 Iquitos 2 Manaus 22 3 Belem 4 Santarem 5 Rio de Janeiro In a comparison of species diversity of useful perennials in home gardens on the Amazon oodplain and uplands it was found that There was no signi cant difference in species diversity 2 Home gardens on the Amazon oodplain always had fewer perennial plants than upland home gardens 3 Some home gardens had about the same number of perennial crops as upland home gardens but on average they had far fewer species 4 Home gardens on the Amazon oodplain had more fruit species than upland home gardens 5 Home gardens on the uplands had more nut trees than home gardens on the uplands Map checklist for third exam Urban centers Belem Iquitos Macapa Manaus Porto Velho Riberalta Rio Branco Nauta Iquitos Pucallpa Rivers Beni Guapore Madeira Madre de Dios Putumayo Tapaj os Ucayali S ratesProvinces Roraima Acre Amazonia Gea 4465 Lecture Notes Part 1 Nigel Smith Professor Department of Geography University of Florida Paleoecology 0f Amazonia Climate Change and Geologic History The Amazon originally owed to the west and emptied into the Paci c Ocean A vestige from that era is the 20 species of stingrays found in the Amazon and its tributaries all of which trace their origins to marine forms in the Paci c One of the species of dolphin that inhabits Amazoniaithe pink dolphin boto in Brazil delfin or bufeo in Peruiis also derived from an ancestor that was cut off from the Paci c and became trapped in a freshwater lake when the Andes rose and cut of the Amazon s eXit to the Paci c The other species of dolphin inhabiting the Amazonithe smaller gray tucuxi dolphinionly entered the Amazon after the river cut its course to the Atlantic About 65 million years ago end of the Cretaceous period what is now the Andes mountains and the western portion of the Amazon was at with a large inland sea and a few isolated volcanoes near the Pacific Coast Dinosaurs roamed the margin of the inland sealake About 40 million years ago the inland brackish sea and dinosaurs disappear The Andes begin to push up as the Nazca plate slides under the South American plate This subduction zone causes compression and folding of the crust creating mountains and magma ows up along fractures and faults to create volcanoes Some rivers ow to the Paci c others ow eastwards towards the Atlantic The compression of the crust causes earthquakes still felt today even in the western and central part of the Amazon Basin About 15 million years ago this process of mountain building in the Andes accelerates particularly in Bolivia where the crust is further compressed as it pushes over the Precambrian granitic shield The rise of the Andes cuts off the Paci c exit for the Amazon and a huge freshwater lake or a series of large lakes is thought to have formed as the Amazon became backed up The inland freshwater sea of the backed up Amazon may eventually have drained north along what is now the Magdalena River in Colombia into the Caribbean But as the Andes continued to rise a mountain chain Cordillera Oriental blocked this exit so the Amazon probably owed along the course now occupied by the Orinoco in Venezuela Around 10 million years ago the Amazon breached the Precambrian granitic highlands to the east and the river started owing towards the Atlantic The Amazon headwaters were able to breach the granitic shield along a fault line The Amazon now separates the Guianan shield from the Brazilian shield The old drained lakebed soon became forested and is on relatively at terrain On the granitic shields however the terrain can be quite hilly there soil erosion can be a problem particularly for roads and agricultural elds The last major geologic event that sculptured the Amazon valley was the period of the Ice Ages Pleistocene From roughly 1 million years ago until about 10000 years ago ice sheets waxed and waned over the colder parts of the northern and southern hemispheres While the ice sheets did not get close to the Amazon the Pleistocene did impact the Amazon 1 Sea levels dropped by up to 130 meters off the coast of Brazil at the height of the ice advances this caused scouring and cutting down of the rivers and streams The Amazon and lower Rio Negro are one hundred meters deep in places occupying ancient canyons scoured during the ice ages For example if you dove to the bottom of the Rio Negro in front of Manaus you would be 60 meters below present sea level When the ice sheets melted sea levels rose backing up the Amazon and forming its extensive oodplains Much of the Amazon ows through gently sloping terrain At Iquitos 3600 km from the Atlantic the level of Amazon river is 80 meters above sea level while at the con uence with the Rio Negro 1500 km from the ocean the height is 23 meters above sea level The broad mouths of such rivers as the Tapajos and the Anapu are vestiges of the repeated cycles of scouring and backing up of the waters they are called ria mouths 2 The climate was generally drier allowing large tongues of savanna to penetrate deep into Amazonia Vestiges of these savannas called campo cerrado in Brazil can be found in various locations such as near Humaita along the Madeira River and in the vicinity of Santarem at the con uence of the Tapajos and Amazon When the climate was drier and the vegetation more sparse erosion of landscapes accelerated How extensive the savannas were and how much of the forest was isolated into patches or islands is still not known Temperatures dropped throughout the Amazon How much temperatures declined is unclear but the drop was between 45 and 70 C cooler than present Some areas of the Amazon probably eXperienced frost such as in Acre and northern Mato Grosso were temperatures today can drop to 9 OC The colder temperatures pushed vegetation bands down mountains and may have led to extinction of some plant and animal species And rainforest that survived in pockets probably had a different species composition than today because of the cooler temperatures U The main point here is that Amazonia has not eXperienced long periods of climatic and geologic stability It used to be held that tropical rainforests contained so many species because they were spared the ravages of glaciers and because they had enjoyed stable climates for millions of years allowing species to keep on accumulating A different picture has now emerged moderate periodic disturbance rather than long periods of stability account for the biodiversity richness Amazonia s dynamic geologic and climatological history accounts for much of the rich biodiversity in the region Amazonia contains some 80000 plant species and perhaps 30 million animal species mostly insects The repeated contraction of forest into islands surrounded by savannas during the Pleistocene led to the refugia theory for Amazonian speciation The great richness of animal and plant life in the region it is argued is partly the result of isolating of populations for sufficient lengths of time for them to evolve differences so that they did not interbreed The refugia theory was used to eXplain patterns of speciation in birds lizards plants and even the distribution of aboriginal linguistic groups In the 1970s the refugia theory was proposed as the basis for planning parks and reserves in the Brazilian Amazon because the refugia were thought to be centers of endemism and greater species diversity While dry corridors surely eXisted in Amazonia during the Pleistocene the refugia theory was carried too far and came under fire Critics argued that o The theory has to shaky a footing to serve as the basis for planning parks and reserves Recent taxonomic revisions of the 89 lizard species in the Amazonia does not lend much credence to the refugia theory as an engine of speciation Signi cant centers of biodiversity exist outside the refugia Numerous refugia have been proposed depending on the taxa used and many of them do not coincide Some of the refugia would have been too cold if temperatures dropped on average by 9 O C to support forest Much more documenting of biodiversity patterns is needed the proposed refugia centers could be an artifact of collecting efforts rather than a true picture of patterns of species diversity The refugia theory no longer underpins planning for parks and reserves in the Brazilian Amazon PowerPoint Landscapes geology and soils Landform and Soils Uplands are the non ooded portions of the Amazon and they account for most of the surface area Uplands can be relatively at or hilly For the most part soils are infertile and are dominated by oxisols formerly called latosols and ultisols formerly called podzolic soils Forests maintain themselves in spite of such adverse conditions because nutrients are recycled rapidly Such soils pose problems for agriculture because they are acidic are low in phosphorus and may contain toxic levels of aluminum However as we shall see later various cultures from ancient to modern have devised agricultural strategies to address these constraints Plinthite also called laterite is rock formed under conditions of alternating oxidation and reduction Iron and aluminum in the soil bind forming a hard layer or a line of pebbles Plinthite is called canga in Brazil In the past forest clearing was thought to cause laterite formation Now it is understood that most of the laterite was formed long ago especially during the Ice Ages when the climate alternated between humid and drier conditions Although laterite impedes agriculture it serves two useful purposes 1 It provides bricks for building Many of the forts and older buildings are built partially with laterite 2 Lateritic pebbles called piagarra in Brazil are used to surface many of the dirt roads in the region Exceptions to the generally poor soils in upland areas include o Al sols called terra roxa in Brazil derived from weathered basalt Al sols occur in only a few locations such as parts of the Jari watershed near Altamira and in parts of Rondonia such as Ouro Preto and JiParana Volcanic soils in the Andean foothills Alluvial soils along sedimentrich rivers Anthrosols are anthropogenic soils they are formed by organic waste and ash from res at camp and village sites Anthrosols are also known as Amazon dark earth anthropic epipedon and terrapreta do indio in Brazil In some areas such as in the vicinity of Santarem black earth sites cover hundreds of hectares and are sought out by farmers Anthrosols are formed on a variety of soil types and are characterized by phosphorus levels much higher than the surrounding soils Unusually high levels of phosphorus are considered an indication that people once occupied a site Phosphorus levels of anthrosols in Amazonia vary but can exceed 300 ppm whereas the P levels in background soils are usually under 10 ppm The anthropogenic nature of black soils in the Amazon was recognized over a century ago Villages must have stood upon these spots for ages to have accumulated such a depth of soil about them At the present day these localities are highly prized as agricultural grounds owing to their fertility and they bear the name of Terras pretas black earths We have observed them occurring in many places almost too numerous to mention Brown CB and W Lidstone 1878 Fifteen Thousand Miles on the Amazon and its Tributaries Edward Stanford London p 271 Floodplains are those portions of the landscape that are periodically inundated Floodplains have varied topography and some parts may only be ooded every ten years or so Soils on oodplains of sedimentloaded white water rivers are generally fertile because they contain nutrients supplied by erosion in the volcanic Andes and the soils are rejuvenated by period oods Floodplains of black and clear water rivers tend to be sandy Prehistoric Settlement The Arrival of Hunters and Gatherers People as well as past geological and climatological events have also shaped the landscapes ofAmazonia This process began with the arrival of hunters and gatherers because they began to alter vegetation cover even though they did not practice agriculture This altered the vegetation by two main means 0 Burning of savannas to facilitate hunting 0 Creation of cultural forests especially around campsites through discarded seed and perhaps deliberate planting of certain desirable species especially fruit and nut trees Antiquity of settlement In the past it was thought that people only entered South America about 10000 years ago Now evidence points increasingly to an earlier arrival at least 30000 years ago Stone tools at the Pedra Furada rock shelter in Piau139 in northeastern Brazil were apparently employed as far back as 48000 years BP To arrive in Piau139 early foraging groups would have mostly likely passed through Amazonia or skirted its eastern fringe along the coast While some contest these early dates other lines of investigation indicate a long history of human occupation in the Americas analysis of DNA of aboriginal groups in various parts of the Americas points to a possible rst wave of migrants reaching the New World some 42000 years ago Linguistic evidence suggests people rst entered the New World between 30000 to 60000 years ago Penetration routes The Amazon basin was therefore inhabited long before the advent of open eld agriculture Waves of hunters and gatherers probably penetrated Amazonia at various times from different directions Convention holds that people settled South America by traveling down the Andean mountain chain or by moving down the northern and east coast of the continent essentially avoiding the lowland rainforests Only later were people thought to have ventured into the inhospitable jungles of Amazon and the upper Orinoco But people probably spread into Amazonia soon after they arrived in South America The rich forests of Amazonia stocked with game and fruits and the generous oodplains full of sh turtles and other aquatic animals offer a more ample banquet than the Andes or the Paci c coast of South America much of which is a harsh desert The notion that people gingerly probed Amazonia by sticking close to open habitats such as the savannas particularly during the last glacial maximum is also without merit While the climate may have been drier in Amazonia when some groups entered the region they would not necessarily have clung to ngers of savanna The savannas of tropical South America are not devoid of game but neither are they stocked with large herds of ungulates as in Africa or the temperate plains of the US with their numerous herds of bison Nor did early waves of immigrants necessarily follow river courses It seems just as likely they trekked through inter uvial forests PowerPoint PaleoIndians and Indigenous Civilizations Settlement patterns Three settlement patterns may have developed with some groups settling 1 In upland forest 2 On uplands adjacent to rivers 3 On oodplains especially the Amazon Hunters and gatherers 0n uplands ac acent t0 oodplains This is the most attractive environment for early hunters and gatherers because they could garner resources from both uplands and oodplains The towering sandstone hills overlooking the Amazon oodplain just west of Monte Alegre are one such favorable environment Cave and rock wall paintings adorn some of the eXposed boulders depicting geometric designs frogs mammals gures of humans or spirits and handprints At one site in the hills called Pedra Pintada the painted rock Anna Roosevelt and her team have ascertained the paintings to be 11000 years old although some of the cultural remains there have been dated to 16000 years ago The hunters and gatherers at the Painted Rock did not have their backs to the wall they must have been well fed and had plenty of time for artistic eXpression The signi cance of the rock paintings is unclear but some of them probably represent visions of shamans while under the in uence of hallucinogenic compounds Knowledge of plants used in curing and mediating with the spirit world predates agriculture by a wide margin The earliest domesticated plants were used for treating the sick and dealing with the supernatural rather than for food production Hunters and gatherers at Pedra Pintada gathered fruits and nuts from several upland forest trees including Brazil nut and the tucuma palm Astrocaryum vulgare Tucuma palm is never found in mature upland forest rather it is typical of disturbed sites suggesting that the inhabitants of Pedra Pintada cave may have encouraged the productive palm by protecting spontaneous seedlings and partially clearing and burning the forest By living along the interface between the uplands and oodplain early settlers clearly had the best of both worlds Ancient shell mounds have been found at various sites on or adjacent to the Amazon oodplain and the lower reaches of some of its tributaries further testament to the rich foraging grounds afforded by living along the border between uplands and wetlands Taperinha is one such site on the other side of the Amazon across from Pedra Pintada The shell mound at Taperinha covers several hectares and is six meters deep and contains the oldest pottery thus far from the New World Anna Roosevelt and her team have ascertained the pottery at Taperinha to be around 8000 years old Hunters and gatherers rather than farmers were primarily responsible for the shell mounds at Taperinha Surprisingly one of the main sources of animal protein for the ancient pottery makers of Taperinha several species of freshwater mussel are no longer harvested in the area The shell mound at Taperinha was partially excavated in 1969 by the Jari pulp operation as a source of calcium and phosphorus fertilizer for recently established plantations of Gmelina Caribbean pine and eucalyptus in northeastern Amazonia Shell mounds along the Amazon and some of its tributaries have been mined for centuries to obtain lime called cal in Brazil for building purposes and to whitewash buildings Stone tools are also nonperishable vestiges of human settlement in an area Stone axes are relatively common in the Amazon but were probably fashioned within the last few thousands years by farmers to clear forest to grow crops Stone axes were likely traded some groups had access to appropriate rocks to make the ax heads and had earned a reputation for making high quality ax heads Stone arrowheads on the other hand are much rarer Rather wood bone or shells were and still are used to tip arrows Two stone arrowheads found along the middle Tapajos are thought to have been fashioned 10000 years ago presumably by hunters and gatherers Preceramic refuse containing percussion akes and remains of plants and small animals in a rock shelter in the Carajas range in southeastern Amazonia has been dated at 8000 to 6000 years BP Floodplain foragers Groups that specialized in foraging and hunting on oodplains may have built their camps on the high banks that are only ooded brie y every year or in some cases every few years It is possible that they lived in huts built on stilts to stay above water or even in huts built in the treetops The issue of whether hunters and gatherers lived on the oodplain is unlikely to be resolved Repeated lowering and rising of the sea levels during Pleistocene has eroded then buried any cultural remains Advent of Farming and Emergence of Ancient Civilizations Long before the first Europeans arrived in the Amazon in the early 1500s prosperous chiefdoms ourished along extensive stretches of the Amazon Sizable and wellorganized societies had learned to farm both the Amazon oodplain and adjacent uplands As in the case of hunters and gatherers farmers managed natural resources skillfully on both terrafirme and wetlands Examples of such chiefdoms The Tapajo inhabited the con uence of the Tapaj s and Amazon rivers Their main village was on the presentday site of Santarem an extensive black earth site A string of satellite villages extended along the edge of an upland plateau planalto overlooking the Amazon oodplain downstream from the main Tapajc39 village at Santarem Footpathsithey had no domestic animals or cartsiwere about a meter and a half wide and led to the interior forest where more villages were located Vestiges of these wellworn paths can still be found today The Tapajc39 could eld numerous warriors had knowledge of a deadly poison that they used to tip their arrows made ornate pottery with many zoomorphic motifs and the women braided their hair They also had elaborate wooden totem poles carved with stone chisels After about a century of contact with Europeans their civilization collapsed The Cambeba also known as the Omagua inhabited a 700 kilometerstretch of the upper Amazon from approximately the border between Brazil and Colombia upstream to around the con uence with the Napo A numerous society adapted almost entirely to farming the Amazon oodplain They made ne multicolored cotton textiles made water bottles from rubber and also balls for games and were generally hospitable to visitors They succumbed as an ethnic group to repeated epidemics and vanished as a large well organized chiefdom within about two hundred years of contact with Europeans However remnants of the Cambeba still live in small villages along the Upper Rio Solimoes Amazon River in the Brazilian Amazon The Marajoara culture ourished about the same time as the classic Maya 1000 AD The Marajoara were the culmination of a series of cultures that evolved on Marajo Island which is the size of Switzerland at the mouth of the Amazon River The Marajoara culture ourished on Marajo Island from 400 to 1300 AD The Marajoara were healthy and larger than the people currently living on the island suggesting that their diet was superior to that of today The population density of the Maraj oara was highitheir numbers may have approached one millioniwithout destroying the natural resource base The Marajoara built large house mounds and made huge polychrome pots The geometric patterns of the Maraj oara culture have inspired present day pottery makers in the lower Amazon especially in the town of Icoaraci near Belem Some anthropologists particularly environmental determinists such as Betty Meggers have argued that the tropical rainforests of Amazonia were incapable of supporting dense human populations even after the advent of farming For example Meggers has argued that the advanced cultures of Marajo Island were imports from Central America it is argued that they could not have evolved locally because the rainforest environment would not have permitted it Anna Roosevelt on the other hand has shown that the Marajoara culture developed locally Some dismiss this environmental determinist model but have argued that agriculture was never intensi ed because population pressure did not trigger much agricultural innovation And still others concede that populations were dense along the Amazon but sparse in the resourcepoor uplands All the above assumptions are wrong The oodplains and uplands were densely settled although populations were smaller in inter uvial areas Four main assumptions underlie my assessment of carrying capacity of the environment in Amazonia o The region is not inimical to the development of higher cultures 0 Populations became dense along many parts of the Amazon oodplain and adjacent uplands People intensi ed agriculture especially as population pressure built up Reports of early eXplorers about the large size of indigenous groups cannot be dismissed outright as untrustworthy o Ample archaeological evidence especially black earth sites mixed with pottery support the notion of dense aboriginal populations Some discount the reports of early explorers with respect to the size of indigenous populations Expeditionary forces it is argued had a vested interest in in ating the size and wealth of the indigenous populations in order to whet the appetite of sponsors in their European homelands But all the early accounts were consistent in reporting dense aboriginal populations Also extensive anthrosols support this notion as well as mounds on certain parts of the Amazon oodplain Black earth sites are found along rivers and in inter uvial areas Some of the black earth sites are several kilometers long and extend for several kilometers inland And some inland anthrosols are also large such as in the inter uvial area between the Arapiuns and the Amazon where several sites are in the 200 hectarerange Black earth sites are especially common in the Santarem area Dense groves of mucaja palm are sometimes found in the vicinity of upland anthrosol sites whereas the American oil palm Elaies oleifera called caiaue in the Brazilian Amazon is an indicator species for black earth sites on the Amazon oodplain On detailed maps of Amazonia a large number of communities are called Terra Preta Black Earth an indication of the extent of anthrosols Introduced diseases such as smallpox measles and in uenza often take a quick toll of the people who have not been exposed to such diseases before and therefore have no immunity Consequently the more realistic picture of aboriginal population density is likely to be revealed by the earliest travel accounts The first Europeans to descend the Amazon were on Orellana s expedition in 1542 The Orellana expedition departed from Quito in the Ecuadorian Andes and descended the Napo River to the Amazon A priest Casper de Carvajal accompanied Orellana on his journey down the Amazon and wrote up an account shortly after the expedition According to Carvaj al several extensive stretches of the uplands bordering the Amazon were densely settled in 1542 Orellana and his crew descended the Amazon during the ood season Parts of the oodplain that were likely intensively farmed at low water were thus underwater and appeared unoccupied Carvajal reports empty stretches of the Amazon oodplain and one archaeologist Warren Deboer has suggested that the apparently noninhabited stretches served as noman s land between powerful chiefdoms Although a noman sland likely existed between the Omagua and the Machifaro the latter based around the presentday town of Tefe other supposedly empty stretches of the river were likely inhabited Orellana stuck to the main course of the Amazon and probably remained midstream where the current is swifter Along some stretches of the river such as between Nhamunda and Oriximina a succession of lakes and interconnecting channels extends back some thirty kilometers before reaching the uplands Many upland bluffs could have been densely settled without Carvaj al realizing it because they were out of sight Orellana wisely avoided taking narrower sidechannels where the expeditionary force would have been more vulnerable to surprise attack or could have become lost At high water oodplain lakes often merge into one another and a boat without a knowledgeable pilot can easily run aground when it encounters a submerged bank On the few occasions that Orellana s expedition came ashore Carvajal often remarked that substantial trails led inland Such wellwom paths probably led to cultivated plots and other settlements Some villages on the Amazon oodplain may have not been spotted by the Orellana expedition because they were on oating platforms or stilts in and around lakes away from the main channel of the river Mosquitoes can become almost unbearable at certain times on the Amazon oodplain and residents today generally resort to burning arboreal termite nests cattle dung or leafy twigs to ward them off Mosquito hordes drop off dramatically as one proceeds from the margin of a lake to its center Another way to avoid mosquitoes would be to assemble villages on oating platforms in the middle of lakes The only real danger of establishing villages in the middle oflakes is wave damage during storms The now extinct Paumari of the silty Purus River once lived on oating villages in the middle of lakes at high water It seems unlikely that the Paumari were the only cultural group to come up with that solution to troublesome mosquitoes The population of the Amazon oodplain and adjacent uplands including its main headwater rivers the Ucayali and Mara on in Peru likely reached ten million by the time first Europeans arrived For Amazonia as a whole then the population was probably in the region of fteen million in 1500 Fish and game resources Plenty of high quality protein was available to support such high population densities As in the hunting and gathering stage fish and turtles continued to be important items in the diet as groups took up farming thousands of years ago Manatee capybara ducks and numerous other aquatic birds would have also supplemented the diet In upland areas the main game species were two species of peccary two species of brocket deer two species of tortoise monkeys tapir paca agouti among other mammals Game birds include several species of curassow guans and tinamou Also many indigenous groups eXploit insects particularly beetle grubs which are excellent sources of protein Villages may have shifted from time to time but usually for defensive purposes rather than because of a lack of protein PowerPoint Game Resources and Hunting Indigenous beliefs helped conserve game resources by providing cultural checks to overeXploitation Direct Protection by a Supernatural Game Warden In the Amazon this role is played by a diminutive boylike legendary creature called curupira in Brazil and chullachaki in Peru Curupira has its feet turned backwards to fool people who think they are walking away from the creature They are thus led deeper into the forest where they can become lost Curupira is especially watchful over peccaries and can punish greedy or wasteful hunters who kill too many animals by stealing their shadow soulloss The shadow can only be regained through the assistance of a curer or shaman This idea probably helps reduce hunting pressure The idea ofa Father of game is traced to aboriginal cultures A myth of the Surui Indians in the state of Rondonia in the Brazilian Amazon describes one such supernatural game warden One day my father told me that the period of seclusion was over part of the training to be a shaman and that I could finally come out with the aid of another shaman That was the day I had my strangest dream about Lakapoy the owner of the peccaries who is also a powerful spiritLakapoy is one of the fathers of the jungle he takes care of the game and makes people lose their way in the forest The shamans invoke him when they want him to make people who have disappeared return to the villagehis appearance is gruesome Lakapoy uses poisonous snakes as necklaces and bracelets and scorpions under his testicles He lets them loose when strangers approach to bite them Whoever sees him becomes ill and can recover only with the help of a shaman Source Mindlin Betty 1995 Unwritten Stories of the Surui Indians ofRond nia Indirect Protection Certain scary monsters such as mapinguary keep hunters out of certain areas of the forest because they are thought capable of attacking and killing people Mapinguary is a gorillalike ogre with a single eye in the middle of its forehead it kills people by crushing them and its roar can blast people of their feet Further the stench from its matted fur can make people faint and thus become easy prey People avoid the suspected haunts of monsters and those undisturbed patches of forest become havens for game animals who can reproduce and restock surrounding hunting areas Early crops Little is known about the prehistoric cropping patterns that supported large human populations but root crops especially manioc were the main source of calories Root crops are easier than cereals to cultivate in the hot humid tropics because they are less susceptible to diseases and pests Sweet potato Ipomoea batatas called batata doce in Brazil and camote in Spanishspeaking countries was probably an early basic staple Its tubers are boiled or fried Sweet potato is transplanted from vine cuttings and is still grown on the Amazon oodplain and in upland parts of the region Farmers have selected numerous varieties of sweet potato many of which were lost when indigenous populations crashed Cocoyam Xanthosoma called taioba in the Brazilian Amazon was likely another early root crop on the Amazon oodplain since this aroid is native to the New World and is well adapted to wet places The edible portion is technically called a corm it is a swollen root at the base of the plant which is boiled and in some areas also fried Cocoyam remains have been found in raised elds in the Llanos de Mojo in the Bolivian Amazon Some of the raised elds in the seasonally ooded savannas were built two thousand years ago The Llanos de Mojo are ooded by white water rivers particularly the Mamore and the Beni and were once densely settled 15 The New World yam Dioscorea trifida called cara in the Brazil and sacha papa in Peru might also have been cultivated on the higher parts of the oodplain as people began deriving more of their subsistence from farming The yam is a vine and is often grown alongside other crops that support the vine or is planted next to fallen logs and branches in slashandbum elds Today the yam is most commonly encountered on upland farms but is relatively rare Several color forms have been selected with purple being the most common in the Brazilian Amazon Sweet corn root Calathea allouia Marantaceae produces small tubers which are cooked and eaten like potatoes It is called daledale in Peru and aria in Brazil Calathea allouia is related to the betterknown arrowroot Marantha amndinacea which was domesticated in the Caribbean and is also cooked as a vegetable and made into our for baking arrowroot cookies Manioc Manihot esculenta also known as cassava in English was probably introduced a little later that other root crops to the Amazon oodplain Manioc is a root crop and comes in two forms bitter called mandioca or maniva in Brazil and sweet called macaxeira or aypi in Brazil In Spanishspeaking countries manioc is called yuca Only sweet manioc is cultivated in the western Amazon Sweet manioc is boiled and eaten like a potato or boiled and then fried It is also occasionally used to make our but for that purpose bitter manioc is most commonly used It is thought that bitter manioc arose after domestication and was selected because it is less prone to raids from wild animals particularly peccaries paca agouti and various rats The bitter form contains high levels of hydrocyanic or prussic acid and is toxic to mammals The precise area where manioc was domesticated is unknown but it was probably brought into cultivation in southern Amazonia Bitter manioc has to be processed into our or a type of pancake beiju before it can be eaten To process bitter manioc so that it is safe to eat the tubers must be converted to our To make our or pancakes from manioc tubers the following steps are taken 1 The tubers are peeled and if farinha puba is to be made the tubers are soaked in water for a few days This softens the tubers and makes it easier to grate


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