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

MARAJOARA

Four sites were chosen for field studies during a reconnaissance tour of the region in June–July 1995. Of these the principal site is the Marajoara Management Project (‘Marajoara’), where a camp presence was established in October 1995. Logistical constraints limited research activities at the other sites to descriptive studies of distribution and demographic patterns, growth, fruit production, and reproductive phenology by mahogany trees > 10 cm diameter.

Cattle herd on the Estrada Cunha, the road to Marajoara from the state highway PA-150.
Cattle Herd
Cattle herd on the Estrada Cunha, the road to Marajoara from the state highway PA-150.
The Estrada Cunha is flanked by pastures on its north side and an agricultural community to the south.
Pastures
The Estrada Cunha is flanked by pastures on its north side and an agricultural community to the south.
Vaqueiros (cowboys) inside the ranch property that includes the Marajoara forest research site.
Pastures
Vaqueiros (cowboys) inside the ranch property that includes the Marajoara forest research site.
Many bridges to cross on the way to Marajoara. With Miguel Alves de Jesus, Leonardo Pereira da Silva (Bisneto) & Jurandir Galvão (driving).
Pastures
Many bridges to cross on the way to Marajoara. With Miguel Alves de Jesus, Leonardo Pereira da Silva (Bisneto) & Jurandir Galvão (driving).

Marajoara is a 4100-ha tract of forest located at 7°50' S, 50°16' W, 34 km on a straight line northwest of Redenção. It was designated a management area for selective extraction of mahogany by the Serraria Marajoara Ltda (SEMASA) logging company (Sr. Honorato Babinski, owner). The management plan’s implementation was supervised by the Brazilian federal environmental agency (IBAMA). The property was acquired in 1998 by Sr. Claudiomar Vicente Kehrnvald of Juary Madeireira.

The original camp at Marajoara was built beside the Grota Vermelha, here near flood levels in November 1995. With Miguel Alves de Jesus & Jurandir Galvão.
Pastures
The original camp at Marajoara was built beside the Grota Vermelha, here near flood levels in November 1995. With Miguel Alves de Jesus & Jurandir Galvão.

Marajoara lies 35 kilometers by unpaved road west-southwest of a sawmill hamlet by the same name, which in turn lies 35 km north of Redenção on the PA-150 (Marabá-Belém) highway. Access is by pick-up truck, motorcycle, and bicycle. Motorized travel time from Redenção is two to four hours depending on the season. Living facilities include an open-sided wooden house built by Sr. Babinski for the Mahogany Project on high ground with a deep (10 m) well, and a barraco (thatched-roof shelter) located 300 m from the permanent house on the banks of a third-order seasonal stream called the Grota Vermelha (Red Stream). Seedling nurseries were installed in open areas adjacent to both camps.

Marajoara is gridded by roadtracks into 12 divisions (talhões) 1.08 km wide and 3.15 km deep, encompassing an area roughly 13 km x 3.15 km oriented north-south along its long axis; each division is oriented east-west along its long axis. Criss-crossing forest trails spaced at 200-m intervals sub-divide each division into sixteen ~22-hectare areas. The original management plan called for annual extraction in successive divisions from 1992, with mahogany matrizes (seed trees) designated for retention prior to extraction, but the entire site was logged during 1992–1994. Research activities were restricted to divisions one to six on the north end of the project grid. Logging records show that, with 175 seed trees retained in the first six divisions, a total of 815 pre-harvest trees > 20 cm diameter grew in 2040 ha. In fact, actual densities proved higher due to trees missed by company mateiros (woodsmen) during the first round of exploration.

We moved into this new camp house on higher ground in 1996, built for us by Sr. Honorato Babinski.
Pastures
We moved into this new camp house on higher ground in 1996, built for us by Sr. Honorato Babinski.
The first crew, October 1995-February 1996, from L to R: Manoel Soares Almeida, Valdecir Almeida Sobrinho, José Arimatea Ribeiro de Sousa (Zé Téle), José Alcerta Alves de Oliveira, Edimar Alves de Jesus, Sérgio Luis Groth, Miguel Alves de Jesus, Jurandir Galvão, Agosto Pereira da Silva, Severino dos Ramos da Silva & Paulo who dug the well.
Pastures
The first crew, October 1995-February 1996, from L to R: Manoel Soares Almeida, Valdecir Almeida Sobrinho, José Arimatea Ribeiro de Sousa (Zé Téle), José Alcerta Alves de Oliveira, Edimar Alves de Jesus, Sérgio Luis Groth, Miguel Alves de Jesus, Jurandir Galvão, Agosto Pereira da Silva, Severino dos Ramos da Silva & Paulo who dug the well.
The crew in June 2002, from L to R: Miguel Alves de Jesus, Manoel Rodrigues Vitorino, Jimmy Grogan, Maria Nascimento Rodrigues, Valdir Ribeiro da Cruz, Adeilson F. Avelino (Cachorro) & Valdemir Ribeiro da Cruz.
Pastures
The crew in June 2002, from L to R: Miguel Alves de Jesus, Manoel Rodrigues Vitorino, Jimmy Grogan, Maria Nascimento Rodrigues, Valdir Ribeiro da Cruz, Adeilson F. Avelino (Cachorro) & Valdemir Ribeiro da Cruz.

Topographic relief at Marajoara is slight, with high ground rising only 5–20 m above low areas across horizontal distances of hundreds to thousands of meters. An aseasonal stream averaging 4–8 m wide during the rainy season—the Rio Capybara—bisects Marajoara from west to east in division seven. A complex network of seasonal streams drain the rest of the project area, also generally flowing west to east. Divisions two to four, an area covering 1035 ha within which we concentrated efforts examining spatial aspects of population dynamics, are drained by the Grota Vermelha, which fills 2–4 m wide during the rainy season and is fed by first- and second-order tributaries originating both within and upstream from the Project area.

Most of the landscape surrounding Marajoara has been converted to pasture. Marajoara is bordered to the north and west by degraded pastures, on its south side by the Pau d’Arco River, and to the east by logged forest and pasture that was established in 2000.

The roads could be impassible in the rainy season. Here we're 'paving' a stretch of road just before camp with logs. Jurandir Galvão wields the axe.
Pastures
The roads could be impassible in the rainy season. Here we're 'paving' a stretch of road just before camp with logs. Jurandir Galvão wields the axe.
The forest road dividing division (talhão) 3 from division 2. Valdemir Ribeiro da Cruz & Manoel Rodrigues Vitorino return to camp on bicycles.
Pastures
The forest road dividing division (talhão) 3 from division 2. Valdemir Ribeiro da Cruz & Manoel Rodrigues Vitorino return to camp on bicycles.
Each of six divisions was sub-divided by 15 trails (picadas) cut roughly parallel at 200-meter intervals from north to south. Valdir stands in a canopy gap along one of them.
Pastures
Each of six divisions was sub-divided by 15 trails (picadas) cut roughly parallel at 200-meter intervals from north to south. Valdir stands in a canopy gap along one of them.

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.

Grogan J, Ashton MS & Galvão J (2003) Big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) seedling survival and growth across a topographic gradient in southeast Pará, Brazil. Forest Ecology and Management 186: 311-326.

Grogan J & Galvão J (2006) Physiographic and floristic gradients across topography in transitional seasonally dry evergreen forests of southeastern Amazonia, Brazil. Acta Amazonica 36: 483-496.

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