Author

Van Sledright

Date of Award

4-2008

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Kathleen M. Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Emerson

Third Advisor

Dr. Elen Cutrim

Fourth Advisor

Dr. James Penn

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

Mauritia flexuosa is the most widespread and economically important palm in western Amazonia and is known as aguaje in Peru. It is found mostly in "aguajales," but little is known about the size and spatial distribution of these permanently wet oligarchic forests. Aguaje is dioecious; only the female trees produce the coveted fruit, and cutting them down leaves a preponderance of unproductive male palms. There exists a consensus in the literature that levels of damage to aguajales is related to distance from settlements where extractors reside. However, no studies exist which show this relationship. By mapping 24 aguajales and conducting forest censuses in the Area de Conservación Regional Comunal Tamshiyacu Tahuayo (ACRCTT) the findings suggest that accessibility rather than distance determines levels of damage. Additionally, plot inventories were taken within the swamps to obtain the female/male ratio. Mean female/male ratio was 0.33; well under the control plot ratio of 0.72. This imbalance has implications for local and government conservation plans in the area.

Included in

Geography Commons

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