New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

Computational Analysis of Potential Rainforest Monoculture Due to Slash-and-Burn Techniques Phase II

Team: 125

School: School of Dreams Academy

Area of Science: Environmental Science


Interim: Team Number: 125
School Name: School Of Dreams Academy
Area of Science: Environmental Science
Project Title: Computational Analysis of Potential Rainforest Monoculture Due to Slash-and-Burn Techniques Phase II

Problem Definition
Environmental Science is a field that infuses several subjects including physical, biological and informational sciences to the study of the environment and the helps create solutions to environmental problems. The goal of this project, using our Rock, paper, scissors, lizards, spock (RPSLS) model, we found it to be most useful in these areas including: political/social influence, contagious diseases, and biological/ecological systems. In the process of developing a technique involving a single species of trees to be dominant the outcome will be more directed in the results. Our focus is projected mainly on ecosystems in the Amazon rainforest.

“Slash-and-burn” is a technique that is currently being used by both farmers and manufacturers. It is defined as the clearing out large forest ecosystems. In the Amazon rainforest, this agricultural method entails the slashing or burning of large areas of forest for the purpose of planting crops. This system is having a negative impact not only on both plants and animal living in the area but the world as a whole creating less of these resources to be available, possibly putting them to be soon endangered.

Problem Solution
The environment in which this situation would be conducted is the dots (patches) in the program are represented as trees. The species of trees will vary between five species, including the age of the trees and the weather in the Amazon rainforest. Our expectation is to be able to tell what specific type of trees species which will dominate and the number of ticks on the program will tell us the number of years it will take for a monoculture to form.

Progress to Date
Using the program Netlogo to create our stimulation of the Amazon rainforest, eventually playing the game of rock, paper, scissors, lizard, spock with each species of tree seeing which specific species of tree will be dominate. Although there are 16,000 different tree species in the Amazon rainforest, we have selected 5 of the most popular species: the Rubber Tree, Walking Palm, Euterpe Precatoria, Huicungo (Astricaryum Murumuru), and Attalea Butyracea. With these species representing the patches on the interface, a dominant species will arise, forming the outcome. Currently, we are working on adding the slash-and-burn technique to the program, put as a barrier so no living tress will grow in the slash-and-burn areas, this will be randomized. Also we are looking to add change the dots to trees for a more realistic approach, but we have found it difficult.

Expected Results
Our expected results include finding a dominant species in the trees with adding the amount of years each of the 5 species lifespan. Using the method of rock, paper, scissors, lizard, spock, will help us determine the maximum and minimum amount of years it will take for a monoculture to form in the rainforest.

Team Members: Taylor Torres and Paige Torres

Sponsoring Teacher: Talysa Ogas

Bibliography

"Additional Weapons." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2014.

Science Staff, Live. "The Ancient Trees of the Amazon." Live Science. N.p., 14 Dec. 2005. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.

Pratginestos, Juan. "Amazon Plants and Trees." WWF. N.p., 11 Oct. 2005. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.

Bulter, Rhett. "Rainforest Ecology." Mong Bay. N.p., 2010-2014. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.

Steif, Collin. "Slash and Burn Agriculture." About Education. N.p., 2014. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.


Team Members:

  Taylor Torres
  Paige Torres

Sponsoring Teacher: Talysa Ogas

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