Research Group

Forest Ecology

The Forest Ecology Research Group was created in 2009 to consolidate already existing research on the topic and attend to the demands of the Community Forest Management Program of the Mamirauá Institute; researchers study ecological characteristics of the forest and monitor timber and non-timber resources, associated with the establishment and monitoring of permanent forest management plots. Maintaining floodplain forests is the principal focus of this research group.  

Get to know some of the tree species studied by the group

Is a large tree native to the Americas and found Amazonia’s high várzea floodplains. When it is cut, the trunk secretes a white-yellowish latex, which is dangerous when it is ingested or comes in contact with the skin or eyes. It is used in folk medicine for its anti-inflammatory and healing (cicatrizing) properties.  The wood is used to make decks, floating houses, canoes, and plywood. 

Louro inamuí
Is a tree of the upper stratum of the high várzea forests. When it is cut, the bark shows an opaque-white color and emits a subtle wooden scent. It is used in carpentry, craftsmanship, and civil construction.  
Is a species of the upper stratum of late secondary forests of the low várzeas and found in high abundance. When cut, it displays pink bark with white streaks. It has a showy fruit, elliptical in shape, with a deep red bark. It is used for crafts, to make buoys’ and for sound insulation.

© Marcello Nicolato

Amazonian ecosystems

The Forest Ecology group works in the main ecosystems of the Amazon Biome, including those flooded by black waters (igapós), by white waters (as várzeas) and ecosystems free from flooding (upland forests). See here some of the differences between these environments: 

Blackwater floodplains
White-water floodplains
Periodically flooded
Periodically flooded Areas not inundated by rivers or tides
Inundated by black waters
Flooded by white-waters
Do not suffer period floods 
Few nutrientsEnvironment of high primary productivity with a great availability of nutrients and organic matter
Lacking some soil nutrients

Marcelo Ismar Santana


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