Riparian forests, which grow along rivers, are essential for the feeding and reproduction of fish, as they provide them with protection and food. "In the Amazon, they are forests that are periodically flooded, forming a specific habitat called varzeas. In this work our objective was to determine what factors determine the diversity and abundance of the fish present in the water masses of the Amazon rainforests", explains Javier Lobón -Cervia, MNCN researcher.
For this study, they sampled fish populations from 35 flood lakes along 2,000 km of the Amazon during the time when the water level is highest. The data show that both species richness and abundance increase in flooded forest areas and the Amazon River is closer. The results are reflected in the same way in the richness and abundance of species caught by regional fisheries.
In recent decades, flooded forests have been seriously threatened by logging, agriculture and other human activities such as large hydroelectric projects or the creation of reservoirs. "Forests have been deforested that represent one of the most important habitats for the survival of hundreds of species, including migrant species, which colonize these flooded areas", Lobón Cervia contextualizes.
The conservation of flooded forests is essential for the maintenance of these populations and it is urgent to stop the deforestation of the flood zones because its consequence will be a severe reduction in the richness and abundance of fish. "In addition to the damage it entails for biodiversity, it must be remembered that fishing is the fundamental sustenance of human populations that settle in the region, for which fish are the main protein contribution to their diet", concludes the researcher of the MNCN. (Madri + d).