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Dr. David G. McGrath, Associate Scientist, WHRC, on the Amazon Floodplain

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Published on Jan 13, 2012

Project: Human ecology and management of the Amazon floodplain

The Amazon varzea, the core area of the Amazon floodplain, is one of the largest and most biodiverse tropical wetland systems in the world. Its fertile soils and abundant plant and animal resources supported some of the densest and most politically complex societies in the Amazon basin. Varzea resources have continued to play a central role in the regional economy. In recent decades the rise of commercial fishing, logging and extensive cattle ranching have modified varzea habitat and depleted key resources, leading to conflicts over access to and use of floodplain lakes, forests and grasslands. WHRC scientists are working with floodplain communities, grassroots organizations, key government agencies and other stakeholder groups, to develop a multi-scale comanagement system for reconciling conflicts and sustainably managing varzea resources. The overall objective is to develop the policies, and technical and organizational capacity needed for the co-management of floodplain fisheries and other natural resources and so conserve the ecological integrity and services that major tropoical wetlands like the Amazon provide.

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