Subsidient: Marta Reguilon del Monte / Wageningen University
Subsidy: S192.62

Mauritia flexuosa is one of the most abundant palm species of the Amazon Basin and it is of high ecological and socio-economical importance for Neotropical ecosystems and human populations. In the Loreto region (Peru) the great demand of Mauritia flexuosa fruit has resulted in the degradation of Mauritia flexuosa natural stands. Different methods for fruit harvesting are being used but the most extended one is the felling of the female palms. This study addresses the consequences of human pressure on the population structure and sex ratio of the Mauritia flexuosa stands and investigates the factors that influence the species’ sexual maturity. A gradient constructed with a PCA analysis was used to represent the human pressure level among the plots. This study shows that Mauritia flexuosa stands differ in population structure, and that human pressure negatively impact regeneration, as it modifies the light environment and the sex ratio of the stands. Height, light conditions and human pressure influence the sexual maturity of Mauritia flexuosa. Moreover, the human pressure index used in this study is a simple measure of anthropic intervention that may help to measure degradation in other areas where Mauritia flexuosa is harvested.