Carbon and nutrient transport in the waters of the Peruvian Andes

The eastern Andes are a major source of water, sediment and carbon to the Amazon River system. Landslides are a pervasive feature of this part of the Andes, and are likely to be important regulators of (1) sediment and carbon export from to the Amazon basin and (2) ecosystem structure, function and biomass in Andean montane forests. The aim of this research is to quantify the role of landslides in carbon cycling and ecosystem processes, through detailed work at a site on the eastern flank of the Peruvian Andes.

The aim is to investigate and quantify the role of landslides in ecological processes and carbon cycling in an Andean transect in Peru. This objective can be subdivided into three component parts:

  • To quantify the frequency, area, and magnitude of landslides in the study area
  • To estimate the carbon export to the Amazon fluvial system and its partitioning between recent and fossil sources.

This work is the DPhil project of Oxford University student Kathryn Clark

Photos and images

Uploaded 6 Feb 2014 by Cécile Girardin. Copyright © 2023.

Congratulations to the GEM team (Chris, Yadvinder & Liana) who co-authored a paper in Nature this week (cover story):

"The paper answers a long-standing question about the net carbon balance of the Amazon forest. It uses aircraft flights throughout the year at four different locations to measure the change in carbon dioxide concentration if air as it passes over the Amazon Basin. The study shows that in wet years and wet seasons the Amazon is a net sink (i.e. absorbs carbon) from the atmosphere, but in dry years and dry seasons it is carbon neutral or a source of carbon. Our main contribution in Oxford was to provide insight from our RAINFOR-GEM intensive monitoring plots across Amazonia, which suggest that the loss of the carbon sink was caused by a reduction in photosynthesis." (Y. Malhi blog, Feb 2014)

Gatti L.V., M. Gloor, J. B. Miller, C. E. Doughty, Y. Malhi, L. G. Domingues, L. S. Basso, A. Martinewski, C. S. C. Correia, V. F. Borges, S. Freitas, R. Braz, L. O. Anderson, H. Rocha, J. Grace, O. L. Phillips & J. Lloyd Drought sensitivity of Amazonian carbon balance revealed by atmospheric measurements, Nature 506, 76–80. Supplementary Info

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