The End of an Era

After over 6 years of intensive research and community development work in and around the Yachana Reserve, GVI Amazon is coming to a close. We have finished our final research project (look forward to our Road Effects paper, coming soon!) and are handing over the project to our partner, The Yachana Foundation. They will continue to maintain and monitor the reserve, using it as an hands-on science education center for students -- we're very excited to see what fabulous things this next generation of scientists find! For more detail on GVI Amazon's closure, and our accomplishments over the years, please read on...
GVI Amazon Closure Statement

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Death of the Ficus Tree

Forget Fer-de-lance, Coral Snakes, Black Caiman and Jaguars- there is another deadly risk in the forest the guide books may not tell you about… Tree fall.

Upon our return to base camp this January we were shocked to discover a ferocious storm had cruelly caused many of our largest, most beautiful trees in the Yachana Reserve to come crashing down - including our beloved ‘Ficus Tree.’

The Ficus Tree was an immense fig beauty with a circumference of several metres around its buttress roots and sat happily perched on the bank of a stream in a beautiful green gallery of primary rainforest. It provided many homes for birds, mammals, insects, amphibians, reptiles and other plants. Mammal prints could almost always be found near it and it always provided awe, amazement and neck ache for those who tried to see the top.

Tree falls are a common occurrence in the rainforest, and are usually caused by heavy or prolonged rain or wind. For this reason, GVI staff keep a constant check on the weather and do not run surveys during these conditions. When it rains, the thick canopy gets moisture laden and heavy, particularly with the presence of large epiphytes (air plants). Given a very shallow soil, tree roots do not extend very deep and therefore render the big trees susceptible to toppling over. When a single tree falls it may bring down vines and other trees with it, creating a much larger disturbance, or ‘forest gap.’

Forest gaps keep the forest dynamic and heterogeneous, providing an opportunity for new growth and germination by other plants.

So it seems we have a new forest gap where The Ficus once stood - and a gentle reminder of the deadliness of a tree fall. May it rest peacefully on the forest floor.

Jasmine Rowe - GVI Amazon Field Staff



Chris said...

OH MY GOD! Gutted!