Why is the Amazon losing its fish? Measuring deforestation’s impact


Amazon fish populations have decreased in recent decades, and the landscape has changed. Roughly 56 percent of the Amazonian forest was cleared between 1970 and 2008.

To quantify the effect of this deforestation on fish – an indispensable food resource and an essential part of the economy in parts of Brazil – Professor Kirk Winemiller of Texas A&M University’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences is working with a team of Texas A&M and Brazilian researchers.

Leading the project is doctoral student Carol Arantes, who spent the 2013-14 academic year examining fish specimens and conducting workshops with villagers on sustainable fishing. Once completed, the project will inform the work of government agencies and conservation groups in Brazil.

“The project is looking at the patterns of fish abundance in relation to vegetation in the floodplains, particularly whether or not there are more fish species and more fish biomass in areas where the forest is more intact,” Winemiller says.

More at the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences