Editor’s Note: The RIEGL VZ-400i was used in the spring earlier this year to help aid Academy Research Fellow Eduardo Maeda with his continuing conservation efforts for the Amazon. The data received over a five-year monitoring period will be used to model changes in the forest structure. Currently it is unknown how biodiversity in the fringes will be affected but it is the conversationalist goal to help protect and diminish the effects of deforestation and raise awareness for one of Earths largest natural resources.
The Amazon rainforest is the world’s richest and most-varied biological ecosystem, containing several million species of insects, plants, birds, and other forms of life, many still not yet discovered by science. The Amazon covers an area of 2,300,000 square miles, this makes up about 40 percent of Brazil’s total surface area.
One of the common practices in the Amazon is slash-and-burn clearing. This method of slash-and-burn clearing is fragmenting the Amazon rainforest into smaller and smaller plots of land for agriculture purposes. This practice is furthering deforestation in the rainforest and is robbing the land of its natural nutrients.
Earlier this year, Maeda visited the longest running fragmentation experiment in the located in the middle of Amazonia. He used laser scanning methods to create very detailed 3D models of the forest. The data will be used to study how degradation changes the forest environment close to the edges.
“My research tries to understand what happens to the remaining forests after deforestation takes place. The remaining forests are effected by so-called edge effects. The edge effect describes how the biodiversity and microclimate change on the edge of the burnt forest. At these same places we collect microclimate data using a network of sensors.” said Eduardo Maeda.
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