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Demography of Oenocarpus bataua and implications for sustainable harvest of its fruit in western Amazon.

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  • Carolina Isaza, Colombia
  • C Matorrell, Mexico
  • G Cevallos, Colombia
  • Gloria Galeano, Colombia
  • Renato Valencia, Ecuador
  • Henrik Balslev
Oenocarpus bataua is one of the most abundant and most used palm in the Amazon region. The main resource obtained from the species is the fruits that are harvested for human consumption. Across its distribution area adults are felled to obtain the racemes, which may affect the palm’s populations. In this paper we studied the demography of two populations of Oenocarpus bataua to assess the harvest potential of its fruits and the density variation in different habitats in the western Amazon to estimate fruit yields in different forest types. Forest of non-inundated lands held the greatest densities with an average of 11 adults ha-1 (variation 0–132 adults ha-1). The population finite growth rate (λ) in Amacayacu, Colombia, was 0.9103 because of slow growth and low survival of stemless individuals and low recruitment. On the contrary, in Yasuní we found a growing population with λ=1.0368. According to our simulations, adult felling reduced λ in both populations, especially when harvest was done frequently even at low intensities. In Amacayacu the harvest of 60% of the fruits by climbing did not modify the actual trend, while in Yasuní a regime of 80% of annual harvest did not diminish λ significantly and was sustainable. The results help to understand the demography of useful tropical palms and to address sustainable management frameworks. For instance the commonly used practice of harvest by felling is very unsustainable, whereas very high yields can be obtained by shifting to harvest techniques that do not involve felling.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPopulation Ecology
Pages (from-to)463-476
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Arecaceae, Geographic distribution, Integral projections models, NTFP, Population ecology, Wild foods

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