The Effects of Different Land Uses and Management on Stream Ecosystems and Water Quality in the Andean Amazon, Chontabamba Basin, Peru

EPA Grant Number: MA916356
Title: The Effects of Different Land Uses and Management on Stream Ecosystems and Water Quality in the Andean Amazon, Chontabamba Basin, Peru
Investigators: Waggoner, Lindsey A
Institution: Florida International University
EPA Project Officer: Zambrana, Jose
Project Period: January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2005
Project Amount: $62,036
RFA: GRO Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Environmental Science , Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration


In the Peruvian Andean Amazon, widespread conversion of forested land to agricultural land is altering ecosystems and habitats. The goal of my research is to investigate how land-cover change and land-use management practices affect water quality and stream ecosystems within an Amazon headwater basin. Changes in water quality and stream ecosystems can result in negative health, economic, and environmental impacts for the citizens of the basin who rely on the local aquatic resources in a myriad of ways. My investigation will be conducted in five sub-watersheds within the Chontabamba Basin near the town of Oxapampa, Peru. My research will contribute to the development of improved land management strategies to minimize negative impacts to local aquatic resources.

The objectives of my research project are to determine: (1) the biophysical characteristics of the Chontabamba Basin (land use, land cover, towns, roads, topography, geology, vegetation, climate); (2) the physical, chemical and biological conditions of stream and river reaches; (3) the relationships between catchment characteristics and stream condition across a range of temporal and spatial scales; (4) the relationships between land-management practices and stream condition; and (5) improved land-management strategies to reduce negative impacts.


My research will combine remote sensing data, field surveys, water sampling, human surveys, and laboratory analyses. Biophysical characteristics of the study area will be determined from Landsat images (Landsat ETM+), aerial photographs, and a digital elevation model. Derived land-cover and land-use data will be verified using ground-control points. Stream condition will be assessed using a modified version of EPA's Rapid Bioassessment Protocols. Water samples will be analyzed for relevant chemical parameters. Landowners will be interviewed for information regarding land management, land use, and land history. Data will be analyzed statistically within a geographic information system to determine relationships among stream condition, physical characteristics, and land management.

I expect to find that good water quality and stream ecosystem conditions are related to areas with minimal relief, low-intensity land use, and good land-management practices. Further, I expect water quality and stream ecosystem conditions to be positively correlated with the width of the riparian buffer zone and percent of forested area within the catchment. To disseminate my findings to the local communities, the improved land management strategies revealed by my research will be presented in local community meetings and in popular science publications in Spanish.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, aquatic resources, water quality, stream condition, Andean Amazon, land-cover change, land use management, EPA Rapid Bioassessment Protocols, Peru, land use, land management, deforestation, Amazon., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Aquatic Ecosystems & Estuarine Research, Aquatic Ecosystem, Environmental Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, International, anthropogenic stress, streams, land cover, ecosystem monitoring, Peru, rivers, Andean Amazon, aquatic ecosystems, water quality, remotely sensed data, evaluating alternative land management strategies, human modifications, deforestation

Relevant Websites:

2004 STAR Graduate Fellowship Conference Poster (PDF, 1p., 148KB, about PDF)

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2004
  • Final