Pilar Endara started her M.Sc. thesis on “Time series analysis of flooding and vegetation patterns in wetlands of the Colombian Orinoco Basin”

The ecosystems that are present within Colombian Orinoquia flooded savannas are currently being threatened by conversion of natural systems into intensive rangelands with introduced pastures, croplands and palm oil plantations. The loss of natural floodplain ecosystems has serious negative impacts on several important ecosystem services such as habitat quality for biodiversity, long-term carbon sequestration and water regulation.

In addition, this region’s natural vegetation endures strong intra-annual hydrological regimes, which in turn may affect the productivity, and consequently, the region’s carbon dynamics. Therefore, the objective of this thesis is to understand how, and if, the vegetation productivity in this area varies along the year, taking into account the strong hydrological variability.

The results of this thesis are going to be integrated with information from WWF Colombia to provide stakeholders and decisions-makers a tool that will allow them to assess for best practices of land use planning and land management.

First supervisor is Claudia Künzer, second supervisor is Martin Wegmann