La Chonta – Chiquitano Amazonian Transition Forest
This field station is located in the La Chonta forest concession of La Chonta Forestry Agribusiness Company Ltda. The La Chonta forest concession has an area of 100,000 ha, and is located in the province of Guarayos (15 ° 47’S, 62 ° 55’W ) of the department of Santa Cruz, 30 km east of Ascensión de Guarayos.
The average annual temperature is 25.3 ° C, but it can drop to 10 ° C when cold winds come from Argentina during the dry season. The average annual rainfall is 1,517 mm, with a dry season from May to September. During the dry season around 40% of the species lose their leaves.
The soils have a high concentration of cations, which suggests that these soils are moderately fertile inceptisols. Likewise, in 10 – 15% of the sampled area, anthropogenic soils have been found that have a high content of calcium and magnesium. Anthropogenic soil stains have a surface area of 0.5 – 9.5 ha, and appear to be more common in areas near ephemeral water courses. The terrain is gently undulating and is dissected by some permanent water courses and many ephemeral water courses.
The forest has been classified as tropical sub-humid forest according to the Holdridge system. It is located in the Chiquitano transitional forest eco-region, which is characterized by having both Chiquitanian and Amazonian forest species. Some 178 species of trees with a diameter larger than 10 cm have been identified. The diversity of species per ha is 96. The most common species are Pseuldomedia laevis, Ampelocera ruizii, Hirtella triandra, two species of Ocotea and Terminalia oblonga. The canopy reaches a height of 20 – 25 m, being that the emergent trees can reach up to 40 m in height (Hura crepitans and Bolivian Ficus). The density of individuals with diameter greater than 10 cm is 367 per ha, and the basal area is 19.6 m2 per ha.
Lianas are a very common way of life in this forest. About 70% of trees with a diameter greater than 10 cm have some degree of liana infestation. Approximately 110 species of lianas and vines have been identified. The understory is sometimes dominated by herbaceous vegetation, such as Costus sp, Heliconia sp., And ferns.
Chonta has been used by the company since 1974. Until 1997, Swietenia macrophylla was mainly used, and a few other species at very low intensity (0.1 – 1 tree per ha). In 1996 the company developed a General Plan for Forest Management, and made radical changes in its management and processing practices. In 1995 about 30% of the concession was burned in a fire that originated in agricultural areas near the concession. This burned area was defined as an area in recovery in the management plan. The remaining area of the concession has been divided into annual exploitation areas that have a total area of approximately 2,370 ha. The cutting cycle is 30 years, and the minimum cutting diameters stipulated by the Forestry Superintendence are applied. The company considers that 18 species of the 170 species identified are commercial. However, only eight of these species are currently harvested in significant volumes. The volume used is 6 m3 per hectare, which corresponds to 1 – 3 trees per ha. The management of the company has received the certificate of good management according to the criteria of the Forest Stewardship Council in 1998.
The field station has:
A house with kitchen, dining room, work area, rest area, and storage,
A set of bathrooms and showers,
Electrical installations (solar energy) and running water,
A weather station, communication radio with the central office,
Sites for camping, and
Basic equipment in the kitchen (refrigerator, stove, oven, basic kitchen utensils).
|Santa Cruz- Ascensión de Guarayos||300 km||Public transport ($3 US)||5 hours|
|Ascensión de Guarayos – estación de campo IBIF||60 km||IBIF Transportation||2 hours|