Growth-Oriented Logging (GOL): The Use of Species-Specific Growth Information for Forest Management in Central Amazonian Floodplains

  • Jochen SchöngartEmail author
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 210)


So far, timber resources in central Amazonian floodplain forests are managed by selective logging with a felling cycle of 25 years and a diameter cutting limit (DCL) of 50 cm. However, these time and diameter limitations are estimations or legal restrictions rather than being derived from scientific data. From 14 tree species of nutrient-rich white-water (várzea) and nutrient-poor black-water (igapó) floodplain forest in central Amazonia wood growth in diameter and volume was modelled using tree-ring analyses. Cumulative diameter growth curves indicated periods between 15 and 261 years for species to pass over the DCL of 50 cm. From volume growth models the minimum logging diameter (MLD) was defined as diameter at the age of maximum current volume increment rates. For the majority of the analysed tree species the MLD was higher than the DCL of 50 cm. Felling cycles, estimated as the mean passage time through 10 cm diameter classes until reaching the MLD, indicated large variations from 3 to 53 years between tree species. Tree species which occur in both floodplain system present significantly lower diameter increment rates in the igapó than in the várzea due to the contrasting nutrient status. The sustainable use of timber resources in the igapó is, under current management options, not practicable and this ecosystem should be therefore excluded from timber resource management and permanently protected. The várzea is a dynamic system with highly productive forest ecosystems which favours the development of an integrated sustainable forest management. However, such a timber resource management must be species-specific. Based on tree ages, increment rates, volume production and population structure of commercial tree species the GOL concept (Growth-Oriented Logging) was developed to achieve a higher level of sustainability for the timber resource management in várzea forests.


Wood Density Sustainable Forest Management Floodplain Forest Timber Species Permanent Sample Plot 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported by the SHIFT Program ENV-29/2 (CNPq-BMBF), the CNPq (Project 680021/2005-1 “Pesquisas Para Apoio à Produção Comunitária Sustentada nas Florestas Alagadas de Mamirauá e Amanã”) and the INPA/Max-Planck Project. I acknowledge the Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development for their support and colaboration and Celso Rabelo Costa and Jackson de Castro for technical assistance during the field work. I thank Eberhard F. Bruenig for his careful review and valuable comments on this chapter.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biogeochemistry DepartmentMax Planck Institute for ChemistryMainzGermany

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