Project properties

Title Dynamics of forest islands in a Bolivian savanna, and regeneration of the Motcu palm, a key resource for an endemic maca
Group Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group
Project type thesis
Credits 36
Supervisor(s) FEM group: Lourens Poorter
Other organisation: Tjalle Boorsma (Asociaci´┐Żn Civil Armon´┐Ża)
Examiner(s) Prof.Dr. F.J.J.M (Frans) Bongers
Contact info lourens.poorter@wur.nl
http://www.wageningenur.nl/en/Persons/dr.ir.-L-Lourens-Poorter-1.htm
Begin date 2018/03/01
End date
Description 150 years of extensive cattle ranching, grassland burning by farmers and deforestation have altered the state of the endangered Beni savanna ecoregion. Barba Azul Nature Reserve (11.000 ha) is the only reserve protecting this threatened ecosystem. This region is characterized by seasonal savannas and wetlands, palm forest islands and gallery forest located on elevated soils that are not inundated during the wet season. Very little is known about the original state of these palm forest islands, dominated by Motacu Palm (Attalea phalerata) and of high validity for its fruit that is eaten by the endemic and critically endangered Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis). Several of these palm forest islands are devoid of regenerating trees as they all have been consumed by the free roaming cattle over the last generations. Also on many islands the adult trees are dead or produce little fruit.

Extensive research on the existing forests is needed in order to see how it can be restored. A close study of the Motacu Palm is necessary to get a better view on its population dynamics. How can we naturally regenerate this species or do we need to plant it? How should be create an dynamic forest stand? And what is the tree composition we should strive for. Are you interested in an adventurous thesis/internship project in the middle of nowhere where horses are the means of transportation in an amazing ecosystem filled with wildlife, than please get in contact.

Biodiversity and functional diversity/ Plant-animal interactions/ Population and forest dynamics/ Sustainable forest management/ Forest restoration and succession / America's/ Tropical zone
Used skills SPSS or other statistical packages
Requirements FEM-30306 Forest Ecology and Forest Management; REG-31806 Ecological Methods I;