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Population and Community Ecology  
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Noah Yavit, MEM



Bamboo-dominated forests in Southwestern Amazonia encompass ~165,000-180,000 km2 of nearly contiguous primary, tropical lowland forest centered in Southeastern Peru and Southwestern Brazil. This area is roughly equivalent to all primary and secondary forests in Central America combined and accounts for ~ 0.5% of the planet’s forests.

The Amazon Basin is an important component of the global carbon cycle, holding 100 billion tons of carbon, and figures prominently in carbon finance programs such as the United Nations’ Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), adding importance to resolving the potentially large effects of bamboo forest.

My research uses a combination of satellite image analysis and field measurements to investigate the bamboo-dominated forests across Madre de Dios, Peru, an 85,000 km2 region of the Amazon Basin (an area more than twice the size of Switzerland). Four questions will be addressed that are central to understanding the carbon dynamics of the bamboo dominated forests and its effects on Amazonian ecosystems:
1. What is the areal extent of bamboo dominated forest?
2. What is the landscape variation in density of bamboos and trees?
3. What is the biomass and carbon-content of bamboo dominated forests?
4. How do edaphic conditions vary within and outside of the bamboo dominated forests?

Though bamboo forests have extensive distributions, are ecologically peculiar, and have vast unknowns surrounding their persistence and effects on basic ecosystem function, they have yet to generate considerable scientific interest. The goal research is to generate basic tools to understand bamboo forest distribution and density. Furthermore, the information gained from this research will update estimates of the carbon budget of the Amazon Basin, helping advance ecological understanding and environmental policy of this globally important area.

Please e-mail at yavinm9@wfu.edu if you have any questions.