AmazonFACE, Manaus, Brasil

3-7/10/2016 workshop

Ambitious free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiment in the central Amazon (AmazonFACE).  The lack of phosphorus in most Amazon soils is thought to  limit tree growth, no matter how much CO2 is present in the air.

Kasikasima, Suriname

07/2016 Field excursion

Another forest ecosystem on the Guiana shield deep in the “Hinterland” of Suriname close to the border to Brasil. In contrast to the Nouragues region, where native Amerindians of the tribe Nouragues disappeared during the 18th century ( Bongers et al. 2001), this region is still inhabited by  Amerindians of the tribes of Trio and Wanja. The Trio came in contact with Non-Indians relatively recently from the 1950s onwards.

Amerindians enhanced the fertility of soils  by the intentional application of charcoal, resulting in dark soils, called terre preta and terra mulata) (Glaser 2007) and there is evidence that a large population of Amerindian once lived throughout the Amazonas regions and part of the Guyana shield despite it’s extreme environment.

Nouragues field station, French Guiana

23-30/10/2015 IMBALANCE-P dry season field campaign.

The ecosystem is characterized by high biodiversity and extremely low phosphorus availability. It is situated on the Guiana shield, a 1.7 billion-year-old Precambrian geological formation. The high weathering intensity and old age of soil left the ecosystems extremely poor in rock derived nutrients which is illustrated  by the low leaf phosphorus concentrations in the Guianas which are among the lowest found in tropical forests (Vitousek & Sanford, 1986).

The effect of low phosphorus availability on the functioning of the ecosystem is going to be tested in a fertilization experiment which is scheduled to be starting in 2017.

Helicopter ride: