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Spatial variability of the deforestation along the Amazon River main steam floodplain

Evlyn M. Novo, INPE, evlyn@ltid.inpe.br (Presenting)
Adriana G. Affonso, INPE, affonso@ltid.inpe.br
Laura L. Hess, UCSB, lola@icess.ucsb.edu
John M. Melack, UCSB, melack@lifesci.ucsb.edu

The importance of flooded areas for understanding the ecological functioning of the Amazon region has already been acknowledged. Previous studies have also demonstrated striking differences in the state of cover types along the Amazon River main stem. However, challenging question is to distinguish between natural and human driven differences in those cover types. It is well documented that the floodplain is being intensively used for cattle in both Pará and Amazonas states, but it is still missing information on the spatial variability of this occupation. Since floodplain forest is traditionally converted into pasture, it is expected that the impact of this activity on floodplain ecology will increase as the proportion of wetland within a given region increases. In order to access the impact of cattle ranching on the Amazon River floodplain, we quantified: 1) the proportion of wetland for each municipality in the Amazonas (33) and Para (17) States using the non-validated Amazon wetland mask; 2) the deforested area for each municipality using the digital deforestation data base provided by PRODES project; 3) the deforested area within a 2 km buffer from the Amazon River bank, assuming that the floodplain is mainly used for owners living nearby the river banks. Preliminary results showed that for the Amazonas state, changes in the percentage of deforestation within the 2 km buffer zone explains almost 60 of the variation in the size of the herd among the municipalites. Data for Para are under evaluation. In the trend holds for Para, we will be able to use this percentage as a proxy for human impact on the floodplain which will help to distinguish between natural and human driven changes in floodplain biogeochemistry.

Science Theme:  LC (Land Use and Land Cover Change)

Session:  1D: Rates and Patterns of Land Use Change

Presentation Type:  Oral

Abstract ID: 129

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