Peru: Joint Amazon Carnegie RAINFOR Expedition (JACARE)

2011 – Supported by the Moore Foundation

The months July to October saw the start of a major collaboration between RAINFOR and the Global Ecology Group at the Carnegie Institute, led by Greg Asner.  The aim of the project (named JACARE, the Joint Amazon Carnegie RAINFOR Expedition) is to link forest canopy chemistry, physiology, composition and function with over flights of the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO). The CAO collects lead-technology data on the structure and composition of the forest canopy using lidar and hyperspectral lasers, so that the chemistry and structure of individual canopy trees can be mapped. There is potential that within a few years we may be able to map tropical forest structure. Chemistry, composition and ecosystem function at landscape level. This may also allow detection and mapping of signals from drought, such as occurred in 2010. Coupled to over flights was a major field data collection conducted by Carnegie and RAINFOR teams over several RAINFOR sites in Peru, including Tambopata, Cusco Amazonico, the Andean transect and Allpahuayo, Jenaro Herrera and Sucusari, with a particular focus on RAINFOR intensive sites. Overall 1900 canopy trees were sampled for canopy chemistry and leaf and wood anatomy, and a large fraction of these were also sampled for leaf gas exchange properties. The exciting but challenging fieldwork lasted 85 days, and the vast dataset collected will require many more months and years of analysis and interpretation. Field work was supported and conducted by participants from UNSAAC (Cusco), PUCP (Lima), INPA (Manaus, Brazil), USP (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Carnegie (Stanford, USA), ANU (Canberra, Australia), JCU (Cairns, Australia) and the UK Universities of Oxford, Leeds and Edinburgh. The whole mission was supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

The ground based JACARE campaign was documented by professional photographer Jake Bryant, commissioned by Prof. Yadvinder Malhi. To see the full archive of images, and more of Jakes’s work, please visit the gallery. A beautiful slideshow of the JACARE expedition has also been put together.