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Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul
Country: Brazil
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49 Projects, page 1 of 10
  • Funder: SNSF Project Code: 128541
    Funder Contribution: 87,600
  • Funder: SNSF Project Code: 214188
    Funder Contribution: 116,000
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/M029212/1
    Funder Contribution: 49,195 GBP

    Enhancing food, fibre and fuel production to meet growing demand while preserving the integrity of natural ecosystems and their capacity to deliver key services, requires the widespread adoption of sustainable land use practices. The Brazilian Amazon comprises one third of the world's tropical forests and sustains 13% of the world's biota but is experiencing extensive deforestation. Around 8% of forests have been converted to other land uses with an unknown area modified by selective logging, edge effects, surface fires, and hunting. Traditional farming involves 'slash-and-burn' cultivation (for rice, cassava, maize and beans) a practice which depletes soils of nutrients so land is abandoned and new areas exploited. Population growth has placed greater demands on soil (via shorter fallow periods) and forest resources encouraging the growth of environmentally unsustainable meat and milk production practices. Planted and abandoned pastures account for 80% of all cleared lands thus there is urgent need to establish sustainable management strategies to protect ecosystem services and arrest the increase in degraded and exploited environments. Issues faced by Amazonian communities are not solely agricultural; water and energy services are virtually non-existent. Although the Amazon region is rich in natural resources, local populations are economically poor. Water is available throughout the year; however, the quantity and quality varies considerably depending on river water levels and in the dry season, family members, primarily women and children, have to walk for hours to fetch water. Communities are typically isolated from the electric grid with a lack of energy services. Bioenergy technologies such as biomass gasification are attractive in this context since they can provide energy services (via syngas for heat, power and electricity) and biochar which is nutrient-rich and can be used to improve soils, enhance crop growth and nurture sustainable agriculture. Biochar improves soil water use efficiency (retaining soil moisture for crop growth) and can be used as a filter to remove pollutants from drinking water. Biochar may also induce systemic defence against crop pathogens and may be of fundamental importance in terms of food production. The focus of this international research partnership is to develop innovative, appropriate, sustainable waste and residue-fuelled energy systems which enhance delivery of food, water and energy services. The environmental benefits of these 'waste to energy' systems (diminished atmospheric pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, nutrient recovery, wastewater cleanup) will be examined to provide coupled energy-environment services which benefit all end-users. If residues can efficiently be converted into syngas this will provide an alternative resource for the replacement of unsustainable fossil fuels. Using our multidisciplinary expertise we will investigate the potential of wastes and residues to develop affordable and sustainable energy-water-soil-crop systems. Recent interest in the potential of regional biomass such as waste timber and acai seeds (Euterpe oleracea) for energy services shows potential but little research has been undertaken to assess the added-value benefits of these energy services within a food-water-energy nexus approach.

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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 834514
    Overall Budget: 2,498,590 EURFunder Contribution: 2,498,590 EUR

    Understanding the human journey of global colonisation is the history of modern humanity and the development of the diverse characteristics of peoples and cultures around the world. This five-year interdisciplinary project will investigate the peopling of South America, the last continental terra incognita (other than Antarctica) to be colonised by humans, constituting a virtually unprecedented migration of modern humans across richly diverse, empty landscapes during the Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene transition. Situated at the geographical gateway to the continent, the project will investigate one of the most momentous demographic dispersals of our species into the diverse environments of north-western South America, encompassing coasts, savannahs and lowland, Sub Andean and Andean tropical forests. This process took place amidst one of the most significant climatic, environmental, and subsistence regime shifts in human history, which contributed to the extinction of megafauna, plant domestication, and today’s remarkable diversity of indigenous South American groups. Despite its geographical importance and a wealth of archaeological and palaeoecological data across its diverse environments, north-western South America has only been given cursory consideration to understand processes of human dispersion. This project will redress this imbalance by applying an innovative interdisciplinary approach that integrates state-of-art archaeology, archaeobotany, zooarchaeology, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology, ancient environmental DNA and isotope studies. The results will provide a global comparative perspective to the study of Late Pleistocene human colonisations, hunter-gatherer adaptations, the demise of megafauna and the beginning of plant cultivation and domestication. The results of the project have broader implications not only for archaeology but also for geography, palaeoclimate, palaeoecology, and molecular biology.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/I004467/1
    Funder Contribution: 48,640 GBP

    Deforestation and marginalization of rural poor continues in Brazil and Bolivia despite investment in institutional change, forest regulation, improving land management practices and economic development. Previous approaches to equitable management of forest ecosystems in the Amazon tended to offer very narrow formalised solutions, lacked structure and coherence, were too insular and lacked broader international perspective and expertise. The proposed project will address these gaps by providing a holistic and inter-disciplinary approach to understanding the links between the causes, mechanisms and the effects of deforestation on poverty at the agricultural frontier in three case study areas in Bolivia and Brazil. The problem of making the benefits of forest ecosystems available equitably to the disadvantaged people is one of the top priority policy issues identified in the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment (2005). However, environmental governance in the Amazon tends to lack engagement with forest dependent poor, so that some ecosystem management initiatives restrict poor people's access to resources and reduce their anti-poverty capabilities. The proposed project attempts to rectify this problem by giving the voice to the rural poor in the Amazon frontier, reconnecting them with the regional policy makers and linking them into broader research networks to develop Southern-led solutions to the problems of deforestation and poverty. Through the series of workshops, pilot studies and user-engagement events the proposed project exposes dynamism of deforestation and its effects on poverty in the frontier areas as well as suggests institutional changes necessary for equitable forest ecosystems management in the Amazon. It will attend to three key areas: 1. Understanding concerns over, experiences of and reactions to deforestation by the forest dependent poor The project will give voice to the forest dependent poor to articulate their concerns over forest degradation and deforestation and to incorporate their perspectives on poverty and poverty alleviation into the development of pathways to sustaining ecosystem services. 2. Developing holistic, interdisciplinary approaches to poverty alleviation through sustainable forestry The proposed project will address fragmentation of existing mechanisms governing ecosystem management and tackling poverty of the people affected by deforestation by bringing together forest dependent poor, policy-makers, governing bodies, and research institutions involved in rural development. It will evaluate existing policies reducing environmental vulnerability, address the lack of capacity and explore the potential for more effective inter-agency work to avoid policy conflicts and duplication of development efforts. 3. Developing international knowledge networks to facilitate equitable forest management Through a series of workshops and pilot studies the project will develop southern-led solutions to deforestation and the alleviation of poverty. It will enable knowledge transfer, research networking and cross-agency learning for the actors at local, national and international levels involved in sustainable forest management in the Amazon.


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