Human impacts on Amazonian peatlands

Funding Body: NERC and UNEP-WCMC

Project Duration: 4 years, 09/2018 – 09/2022

Project Overview:

This interdisciplinary PhD project uses a combination of social and natural science methods to investigate the ways in which the management and utilisation of natural resources in the peatlands of North Peru’s Pastaza-Marañón Foreland Basin (PMFB) impact these ecosystems. By comparing social, ecological and palaeoecological indicators of ecosystem use, the project looks at how degradation is understood from different disciplinary approaches. From the social science perspective, this involves ethnographic study and observations in rural communities and interviews with key stakeholders from in-country NGOs to understand the political and legal frameworks within which conservation and sustainable development efforts are able to operate. From the natural science perspective, this involves identifying indicators of degradation visible both in the current surface vegetation and within the palaeo record, which enables the reconstruction of historical usage of these areas and aids our understanding of how tropical peatlands can be impacted by human activity, and if/ how they are subsequently able to regenerate.

Project Aims:

  1. Investigate the ecological effects of the harvesting of natural resources on peatland palm swamp (aguajal) ecosystems in the PMFB.
  2. Investigate the social, legal and political frameworks and structures which affect natural resource management in the PMFB.

Team Members:

Name Role Affiliation/Institute
Anna Macphie PhD Student University of St Andrews
Katy Roucoux Supervisor University of St Andrews
Nina Laurie Supervisor University of St Andrews
Althea Davies Supervisor University of St Andrews
Lera Miles Supervisor UNEP-WCMC

Project Partners: University of St. Andrews, UNEP-WCMC, IIAP


Contact Information: Anna Macphie ([email protected])