5th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Tyler Rundel
Session Name Poster Session - Watershed & Wetland Management
Poster Number 64
Author(s) Tyler Rundel,  University of Florida (Presenting Author)
  A Spatial-Temporal Analysis of Mauritia Palm Swamp Degradation
  Mauritia flexuosa is an arborescent palm from the flooded forests of the Amazon basin and adjacent regions. The flavorful and highly nutritious fruit are extensively consumed in the Loreto region of northeastern Peru. Increased demand and the common practice of felling the palm has led to an extensive degradation of the species in the region. A Seasonal Kendall trend test was selected to analyze this process using MODIS EVI data from 2000 to 2015 because of its ability to accommodate the prevalence of missing data, seasonal variation in enhanced vegetation index (EVI) values, and the presumed non-normal distribution of anthropogenic land-cover degradation. To validate the results of the time-series analysis, a logistic regression model was conducted to determine if the areas of degradation were correlated to variables typical of extractive industries. Of the 59,300 km2 of Mauritia palm swamp in the Loreto region of Peru, 25.7% were found to have a significant decreasing trend in EVI from 2000 to 2015, while only 1.6% were increasing. The logistic regression indicated that the decreasing trends were strongly correlated to accessibility variables. The findings show the serious impact overharvesting has had on M. flexuosa communities. However there is a silver lining, the degradation is fairly dispersed and harvesters are leaving intact less accessible patches. As such, degraded populations should be more able to regenerate on their own from these reservoirs.