GEOPHYSICAL MONOGRAPH SERIES, VOL. 186, PP. 525-541, 2009
Floodplain ecosystem processes
Floodplains represent a major component of the central Amazon Basin and influence the hydrology, ecology, and biogeochemistry.
Hess et al. (2003) used a classification of synthetic aperture radar data with 100 m resolution for a 1.77 million km2 quadrat in central Amazonia and identified 17% as wetland most of which was inundated a portion of each year. Total net production
attributed to flooded forests (excluding wood increments), aquatic macrophytes, phytoplankton, and periphyton for the 1.77
million km2 quadrat was estimated to be about 300 Tg C a−1. Flooded forests accounted for 62% of the total, aquatic macrophytes accounted for 34%, and the remaining 4% was associated
with periphyton and phytoplankton. Approximately 10% of the total is the amount of organic carbon exported annually by the
Amazon River according to Richey et al. (1990), methane emission is about 2.5% according to Melack et al. (2004), and a similar
percent is estimated to be buried in sediments. The remaining portion is close to being sufficient to fuel the respiration
that results in the degassing of 210 ± 60 Tg C a−1 as carbon dioxide from the rivers and floodplains according to Richey et al. (2002). Variations in the distribution and inundation
of floodplain habitats play a key role in the ecology and production of many commercially important freshwater fish. A significant
relationship exists between maximum inundated area lagged by 5 years and annual yield of omnivores.
Citation: Melack, J. M.,