First Advisor

Dr. Scott Miller

Description

Water flow, nutrient availability, and soil erosion are all factors highly dependent on spatial factors and all of which heavily influence vegetation growth. Landscape positions influence these factors, which in turn affect vegetation dynamics. The objective of the project is to study this phenomenon using data collected in Panama during the summer of 2010 to create a spatial analysis of teak trees (Tectona grandis) to determine a correlation between tree size and landscape position. Through analysis of data on 145 teak trees, a statistically significant conclusion on how tree production is affected by spatial factors is determined. The project works towards an understanding that teak tree growth on the Agua Salud Project Site in Panama is affected by landscape position while also working towards the larger goal of understanding how factors such as water flow, nutrient availability, and soil erosion are affected by physiographic features, therein affected vegetation dynamics. It is determined that on the project site, teak trees growing on ridge tops or in a gulley grow at a faster rate than trees located on hillsides. Teak trees located at higher elevation levels (above 210 m) and on low slope intensities (<19.85 degrees) grew larger than trees which were not. Furthermore, teak trees located on southern slopes were found to be larger than trees on northern slopes. Several factors play a role in these findings, including, but not limited to, the availability of sunlight, nutrients, and water based on spatial characteristics, as well as grazing dynamics and human interaction, also influenced by spatial characteristics.

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Spatial Analysis of Teak Trees on the Agua Salud Project Site, Panama

Water flow, nutrient availability, and soil erosion are all factors highly dependent on spatial factors and all of which heavily influence vegetation growth. Landscape positions influence these factors, which in turn affect vegetation dynamics. The objective of the project is to study this phenomenon using data collected in Panama during the summer of 2010 to create a spatial analysis of teak trees (Tectona grandis) to determine a correlation between tree size and landscape position. Through analysis of data on 145 teak trees, a statistically significant conclusion on how tree production is affected by spatial factors is determined. The project works towards an understanding that teak tree growth on the Agua Salud Project Site in Panama is affected by landscape position while also working towards the larger goal of understanding how factors such as water flow, nutrient availability, and soil erosion are affected by physiographic features, therein affected vegetation dynamics. It is determined that on the project site, teak trees growing on ridge tops or in a gulley grow at a faster rate than trees located on hillsides. Teak trees located at higher elevation levels (above 210 m) and on low slope intensities (<19.85 degrees) grew larger than trees which were not. Furthermore, teak trees located on southern slopes were found to be larger than trees on northern slopes. Several factors play a role in these findings, including, but not limited to, the availability of sunlight, nutrients, and water based on spatial characteristics, as well as grazing dynamics and human interaction, also influenced by spatial characteristics.