70 Years After Schultes: Economic Botany from the Andes to the Amazon
Law, Wayne , MacKenzie, Richard , Jenkinson, Thomas , Perry, Brian , Desjardin, Dennis , Lorence, David , Eperiam , Emos , Lengsi, Reilo , Sanney, Jacob , Cianchini, Carlos , Balick, Michael .
Increased local demand for sakau (Piper methysticum) in Micronesia, and the impact on biodiversity.
As the demand for sakau (Piper methysticum)increases on the island of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, the supply of roots of this cultivated plant now comes from plants grown on Pohnpei as well as the nearby island of Kosrae (where it is locally known as sukah). A species essential to the local culture, it is consumed on a regular basis by many Pohnpeians, and no longer reserved only for high ranking individuals and ceremonies. Pohnpeian farmers clear cut areas of the pristine uplandforest along streams to access nutrient rich soils to grow sakau. On the neighboring island of Kosrae where sakau is grown for export, clearings are done on a smaller scale and only in lowland secondary forests along streams. Our study has analyzed the impact of these two cultivation methods on the ecosystem by recording the changes in vegetation, and how deforestation further alters the fleshy fungi community and stream biodiversity and its function. RelevĂ© plots to measure plant and fungi species diversity were set up within, above, and below sakau plantations and in forested areas at similar elevations. Stream reaches in these plots were established to create a paired design. Sakau plantations are significantly shifting plant species composition and allow invasive species into the study areas. This had led to differences in diversity of fleshy fungi, and alters stream biodiversity, which we attribute to an increase in algal biomass that affects other organisms resident in the streams. As some of the species identified during this project are taxa new to science, we have developed specific conservation recommendations to protect the unique biodiversity of these islands, and these are being implemented as part of a region-wide program to preserve terrestrial and marine habitats. Further work on this multidisciplinary and highly collaborative program will include discussion with sakau farmers to encourage cultivation in a manner less impactful to these fragile island ecosystems.
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1 - Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization, P.O. Box 1007, Kosrae, FM, 96944, Federated States of Micro
2 - USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 60 Nowelo Street, Hilo, HI, 96720, USA
3 - San Francisco State University, Department of Biology, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94132, USA
4 - University of Hawaii, Hilo, Department of Biology, 200 W. Kawili St, Hilo, HI, 96720, USA
5 - San Francisco State University, Department of Biology, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, c, 94132, USA
6 - National Tropical Botanical Garden, 3530 Papalina Road, Kauai, Hawaii, 96741, USA
7 - Conservation Society of Pohnpei, P.O. Box 2461, Pohnpei, FM, 96941, Federated States of Micro
8 - Conservation Society of Pohnpei, P.O. Box 2461, Pohnpei, FM, 96941, Federated States of Micro
9 - Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization, P.O. Box 1007, Kosrae, FM, 96944, Federated States of Micro
10 - New York Botanical Garden, 200th St And Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY, 10458, USA
Federated States of Micronesia.
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Maryland Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Time: 4:30 PM