Meredith Martin, MFS

2011 TRI Fellow in Peru

Population structure of Amazonian fruit camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) in Peru after decades of harvest


The sustainable management of non-timber forest products can be an economically viable alternative to land conversion in tropical forests and can conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services while also generating income for local communities (Peters et al. 1989a). The tropical fruit camu camu [Myrciaria dubia (HBK) McVaugh] is harvested from wild stands in the Amazonian floodplains of Peru, and has a high potential for sustainable management (McVaugh 1963, Penn 2004). However, commercial interest in camu camu has increased harvest intensity on wild stands, potentially threatening the long-term viability of these populations (Penn 2006). The purpose of this study is to analyze the potential for camu camu to be harvested sustainably based on the status of one of the largest wild populations in the Peruvian Amazon. This project compares the population structure and regeneration patterns of the current camu camu stand in the Sahua-Supay lake to field data collected in the late 1980s at the same site in order to examine the effect of increased harvest pressure. To understand the economic context of camu camu harvest, data was collected on the prices at which the fruit is bought and sold, and informal interviews were be conducted with various stakeholders about the commercial process.