Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants

Title

Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map forest resources: Spatial patterns of non-timber forest resource distribution in the Peruvian Amazon and support of community conservation efforts.

Department

Geography & Planning Department

College

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Disciplines

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

In western Amazonia forests with high densities of ecologically and economically important tree species are present in different landscapes. We have found that the patchy distribution of non-timber forest species allows us to map their local distribution using GIS and document their populations, harvest impacts, and economic value with improved accuracy when compared to previous studies. In this study we identify and map wild populations of palm (Mauritia flexuosa) and fruit tree ( Myrciaria dubia ) species, and semi-domesticated concentrations of Astrocaryum chambira palms. Patches of these trees displayed great variation in area, spatial form and distribution, population density, harvest damage, and economic value. This method of large-scale mapping can help communities to implement forest management programs and determine forest economic value. Researchers will find this method useful to study other species. Examples of findings are presented using several maps and analysis that illustrate the effectiveness of the methodology. Keywords: Non-timber forest resources, GIS, oligarchic forests, Amazon, community conservation

Conference Name

Conference of Latinamericanist Geographers 2014

Conference Location

Panama City, Panama

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