Woodwell Climate extends relationship with Brazilian university

Dr. Foster Brown with Federal University of Acre students.

Dr. Foster Brown (center back) with Federal University of Acre students.

Woodwell Climate Research Center (formerly Woods Hole Research Center) recently extended a longstanding agreement to collaborate with the Federal University of Acre, a Brazilian institution based in the city of Rio Branco.

The Memorandum of Understanding, signed by Woodwell President Dr. Philip Duffy and the university’s rector Dr. Margarida de Aquino Cunha, has been in place since 1993. The relationship is underpinned by Dr. Foster Brown, one of Woodwell Climate’s longest-serving scientists.

“The agreement has served as a basis for studies on the impacts of land use and climate change,” Brown said. “Its most important product has been the dozens of young professionals who have participated in the Sector for Land Use and Global Change Studies of the Zoobotanical Park, an integrative center of the Federal University of Acre. Many of those have assumed roles as secretaries of environment at the state and municipal levels, heads of regional environmental organizations, university professors, and as high school teachers.”

Woodwell scientists work in several locations across Brazil, with most field research conducted alongside scientists from the Amazon Environmental Research Institute at the Tanguro research station in Mato Grasso state at the southern edge of the Amazon rainforest. Acre is a Brazilian state located in the northwest part of the country, bordering Peru and Bolivia. The federal university has about 10,000 students, including a “Forest Campus.”

Brazil is facing a deforestation crisis, with President Jair Bolsonaro undercutting protections for indigenous reserves and conservation areas. Woodwell Climate is working with partners in the country to supply science for policy makers and decision makers to explain the importance of the forests for regional and global climate stability.

The agreement with the Federal University of Acre recognizes “the importance of cooperation between the USA and Brazil in the fields of science and sustainable development, desiring to enhance this cooperation and promote exchanges.”

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