Central Amazonian floodplain forests grow in areas that are annually flooded by large rivers during mean periods of up to 8 months and at depths of up to 10 m. Despite this severe stress, these forests consist of over 1000 species and are by far the most species-rich floodplain forests worldwide.
The trees show a broad range of morphological, anatomical, physiological, and phenological adaptations that enable them not only to survive the adverse environmental conditions, but also to produce large amounts of biomass when the nutrient levels in water and soils are sufficiently high.
This is the case in the floodplains of white-water rivers, which are used for fisheries, agriculture and cattle-ranching but which also have a high potential for the production of timber and non-timber products, when adequately managed.
The text considers the functioning and ecologically-oriented use of floodplain forests in the tropics and sub-tropics. It provides a solid scientific basis for wetland ecologists, foresters, environmentalists and wetland managers.
Part I - Amazonian Floodplain Forests and the Environment
1. An Introduction to South American Wetland Forests: Distribution, Definitions and General Characterization
2. Development of the Amazon Valley during the Middle to Late Quaternary: Sedimentological and Climatological Observations
3. Remote Sensing of the Distribution and Extent of Wetlands in the Amazon Basin
4. Phytogeography, Species Diversity, Community Structure and Dynamics of Central Amazonian Floodplain Forests
Part II - Ecological and Ecophysiological Aspects of Amazonian Floodplain Forests
5. Tree Phenology in Amazonian Floodplain Forests
6. Biochemistry of Amazonian Floodplain trees
7. The Morphology and Anatomy of Tree Roots and their Aeration Strategies
8. Fine Root Systems and Mycorrhizal Associations in Two Central Amazonian Inundation Forests - Igapo and Varzea
9. Morphology and Anatomy of Leaves
10. Gas Exchange and Photosynthesis
11. Sap Flow and Stem Respiration
12. Fruit and Seed Chemistry, Biomass and Dispersal
13. Seed Germination and Seedling Establishment of Amazonian Floodplain Trees
14. Nitrogen Balance of a Floodplain Forest of the Amazon River: the Role of Nitrogen Fixation
15. Genetic Variability, Divergence and Speciation in Trees of Periodically Flooded Forests of the Amazon: a Case Study of Himatanthus sucuuba (SPRUCE) WOODSON
16. The Importance of Amazonian Floodplain Forests for Animal Biodiversity: Beetles in Canopies of Floodplain and Upland Forests
Part III - Sustainable Management of Amazonian Floodplain Forests
17. Wood Anatomy, Tree Ring Structure of the Stem and their Importance for Tropical Dendrochronology
18. Biomass and Net Primary Production of Central Amazonian Floodplain Forests
19. Use of Amazonian Floodplain Trees
20. Traditional Timber Harvesting in the Central Amazonian Floodplain Forests
21. Growth-Orientated Logging (GOL): The Use of Species Specific Growth Information for Forest Management in Central Amazonian Floodplains
Part IV - Discussion and conclusions
22. Protected Areas in the Amazonian Varzea and their Role in its Conservation: the Case of Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve (MSDR)
23. The Role of Floodplain Forests in an Integrated Sustainable Management Concept of the Natural Resources of the Central Amazonian Varzea
24 Ecophysiology, Biodiversity and Sustainable Management of Central Amazonian Floodplain Forests: a Synthesis
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang J. Junk is the retired head of the Working Group of Tropical Ecology at the former Max-Planck-Institute for Limnology at Plon, Germany. He worked more than 40 years in the Brazilian Amazon region in cooperation with the National Amazon Research Institute (INPA) at Manaus, and 20 years in the Pantanal, an other large neotropical wetland, in cooperation with the Federal University of Mato Grosso, Brazil. He edited several books and published about 250 articles about different aspects of floodplain ecology. Prof. Junk is since 1991 corresponding member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and received many honours, among them the Brazilian Grande Cruz (1998), the International Fellow Award of the Society of Wetland Scientist's (1999), and the Cross of merit first class of the Federal Republic of Germany (2008).
Dr. Maria Teresa F. Piedade is head of the Wetlands Working Group and the MAUA group on the monitoring of Amazonian wetlands. Both groups are linked to the National Amazon Research Institute (INPA), Manaus, Brazil, where she is employed. She works on the ecology of the Amazon floodplains for more than three decades being for about 20 years the Brazilian counterpart of the cooperation between INPA and the Max-Planck-Institute for Limnology (Ploen - until 2007) and Chemistry (Mainz – from 2007 to the present). She supervised more than 50 students and published about 100 articles and book chapters on the vegetation of wetlands and its ecology. Currently she participates of several international committees as the SSC-LBA and the "Limnology in Developing Countries (Tropical Countries)" of the SIL.
Dr. Florian Wittmann, Dr. Jochen Schöngart and PD Dr. Pia Parolin have worked for many years with Prof. Junk and Dr. Piedade at INPA in Manaus and are internationally recognized experts in their specific research fields.