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A one-stop location for information on big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla, Meliaceae)

CORRAL REDONDO

Inselberg at the Corral Redondo site with mahogany trees on its lower slopes.
Pastures
Inselberg at the Corral Redondo site with mahogany trees on its lower slopes.

Corral Redondo is a selectively logged area located 15 km northeast of Marajoara, privately held by Sr. Honorato Babinski, owner of the SEMASA logging company. The forest there abuts low slopes of three steep inselbergs rising 100–150 m above seasonal streams draining the larger catchment. The inselbergs are strewn with granitic boulders resting on shallow, rocky soils that deepen downslope approaching streambeds. Soils are gray sands throughout. Closed forest that is compositionally similar to Marajoara grades into shorter, scrubbier, more open formations moving up inselberg slopes, with composition shifting towards drought tolerant species. Here as elsewhere across the region, mahogany grows at low densities to the inselberg summits.

Early morning look-back at the Corral Redondo ranch house & corral (left side). The forest lies in the opposite direction.
Pastures
Early morning look-back at the Corral Redondo ranch house & corral (left side). The forest lies in the opposite direction.

The largest merchantable mahoganies were extracted from Corral Redondo in the early 1990s, leaving smaller stems in low-ground forest and larger trees on inselberg slopes too steep or uneven to move logging equipment across. Groundfires have burned through these forests repeatedly since, spotting in from surrounding pastures that burn most years. In late 1997 a second timber harvest removed large numbers of secondary commercial species, principally jatobá and amarelão (Hymenaea courbaril and Apuleia molaris, both Leguminosae-Caesalpinioideae), and cedrarana and orelha de macaco (Cedrelinga caetenaeformis and Enterolobium schomburgkii, both Leguminosae-Mimosoideae). The second cut left in its wake a far more open, debris-tangled environment that fueled intense groundfires in 1998. Like most inselbergs in this region, those at Corral Redondo experience annual groundfires to their tops.

Valdemir Ribeiro da Cruz (L) & Jurandir Galvão (R) measuring a large mahogany tree at the Corral Redondo field site.
Pastures
Valdemir Ribeiro da Cruz (L) & Jurandir Galvão (R) measuring a large mahogany tree at the Corral Redondo field site.

The Corral Redondo mahogany sample consists of generally small trees growing across a continuous topographic gradient that connects flat terrain beside streambeds with inselberg slopes to approximately 50 m higher. These trees were located and mapped by distance tape and compass in May 1996; precise locations were later verified by GPS. The total area covered is 600–650 hectares. The largest trees in the sample are those that survived the first cut by virtue of their inaccessible positions up bouldery inselberg slopes. Research objectives at Corral Redondo focus on annual diameter growth, fruit production, and reproductive phenology. Access is by dirt road from Marajoara. A roadside ranchhouse offers overnight quarters 1 km from the nearest clump of tagged mahogany trees sheltering on a rocky outcrop above a surrounding sea of pasture. Trails linking trees through logged forest at Corral Redondo are cleaned annually and cover approximately 10 km.

At the entrance to the Corral Redondo site. With Miguel Alves de Jesus, Leonardo Pereira da Silva (Bisneto) & Jurandir Galvão (driving).
Pastures
At the entrance to the Corral Redondo site. With Miguel Alves de Jesus, Leonardo Pereira da Silva (Bisneto) & Jurandir Galvão (driving).

SELECTED SOURCES

Grogan J (2001) Bigleaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla King) in southeast Pará, Brazil: a life history study with management guidelines for sustained production from natural forests. PhD dissertation, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA. 422 pp.

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