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Ecological Research in the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia: Early Results

Michael Keller, Ane Alencar, Gregory P. Asner, Bobby Braswell, Mercedes Bustamante, Eric Davidson, Ted Feldpausch, Erick Fernandes, Michael Goulden, Pavel Kabat, Bart Kruijt, Flavio Luizão, Scott Miller, Daniel Markewitz, Antonio D. Nobre, Carlos A. Nobre, Nicolau Priante Filho, Humberto da Rocha, Pedro Silva Dias, Celso von Randow and George L. Vourlitis
Ecological Applications
Vol. 14, No. 4, Supplement: The Large-scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in the Amazon (Aug., 2004), pp. S3-S16
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4493625
Page Count: 14
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Ecological Research in the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia: Early Results
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Abstract

The Large-scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA) is a multinational, interdisciplinary research program led by Brazil. Ecological studies in LBA focus on how tropical forest conversion, regrowth, and selective logging influence carbon storage, nutrient dynamics, trace gas fluxes, and the prospect for sustainable land use in the Amazon region. Early results from ecological studies within LBA emphasize the variability within the vast Amazon region and the profound effects that land-use and land-cover changes are having on that landscape. The predominant land cover of the Amazon region is evergreen forest; nonetheless, LBA studies have observed strong seasonal patterns in gross primary production, ecosystem respiration, and net ecosystem exchange, as well as phenology and tree growth. The seasonal patterns vary spatially and interannually and evidence suggests that these patterns are driven not only by variations in weather but also by innate biological rhythms of the forest species. Rapid rates of deforestation have marked the forests of the Amazon region over the past three decades. Evidence from ground-based surveys and remote sensing show that substantial areas of forest are being degraded by logging activities and through the collapse of forest edges. Because forest edges and logged forests are susceptible to fire, positive feedback cycles of forest degradation may be initiated by land-use-change events. LBA studies indicate that cleared lands in the Amazon, once released from cultivation or pasture usage, regenerate biomass rapidly. However, the pace of biomass accumulation is dependent upon past land use and the depletion of nutrients by unsustainable land-management practices. The challenge for ongoing research within LBA is to integrate the recognition of diverse patterns and processes into general models for prediction of regional ecosystem function.

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