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26.11.12

Impressions from the II Brazilian Congress of Landscape Ecology

II Brazilian Congress of Landscape Ecology

The II Brazilian Congress of Landscape Ecology was held in the city of Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia, in northeastern Brazil, between September 10th and 12th of 2012. There were a total of 261 participants, including researchers, students and environmental managers, which debated the current challenges and perspectives of Landscape Ecology in Brazil. The discussions focused not only on academic research, but also on how to bring Landscape Ecology into common environmental practice and decision making on the ground. Compared to the First Brazilian Congress of Landscape Ecology, there was a huge increase in the number of attendants (from 60 to 261) and a broadening geographic spectrum of participation, including more intensively attendance from central and northeastern Brazil. Also, there was a  particularly high attendance of non-academics, which demonstrates that the efforts of the Brazilian Chapter of IALE to publicize Landscape Ecology not only in the academic ground is sound.


The opening ceremony, which was followed by a confraternization cocktail, was held at the evening of the 9th of September and conducted by the president of IALE-Br, Dr. Danilo Boscolo. He presented a synthesis on the efforts of the Brazilian chapter of IALE in promoting Landscape Ecology in Brazil and the importance of previous efforts by Brazilian researchers, which made this event possible. The following days were all started by special plenary sessions with prominent experts in Landscape Ecology. The first speaker was Prof. Jean Paul Metzger (USP-Brazil), vice-president of IALE, who presented a broad overview of the history, main concepts and interdisciplinary potential of Landscape Ecology, with special focus on how this science is being developed in Brazil. On the second day, Dr. Cristian Echeverria, from Universidad de Concepci├│n (Chile) presented his research on how land use changes can influence native forest cover in Latin American countries. In the last day, Dr. Milton Cezar Ribeiro (UNESP-Brazil) presented some new perspectives and potentialities for Landscape Ecology in Brazil for the next following years, especially in the field of   movement and road ecology, the integration of Landscape Ecology and macroecology, and in the field of landscape genetics and spatial modeling.

 

The presence of Dr. Echeverria in the Conference was made possible through an Early career scientist support from IALE, which was important to promote the collaboration between Chile and Brazil, which are countries with similar environmental problems and obstacles to develop the scientific basis of landscape ecology. We certainly will consider these potentialities for exchanging experiences between Latin American countries in the next conferences.

 

During the congress we also had nine symposia and several open sessions, in a total of 125 oral presentations and 133 posters. The open sessions were thematic based, to provide better focus and room for discussion. Open sessions themes focused on Landscape analysis and strategies for species conservation; connectivity in terrestrial and aquatic environments; technical developments in Landscape Ecology to tackle tropical environments; integrating socio-environmental aspects with ecological strategies for restoration site selection in fragmented landscapes; integration between environmental monitoring and planning using Landscape Ecology conceptual backgrounds; among others.
Prior to the event, two courses were offered, one on Road Ecology and another one on Neutral Landscape Models, which attracted around 50 people, mostly graduate students and technicians from governmental agencies. In the closing ceremony, the five best oral and five best poster presentations were awarded with books and GIS software given by SCGIS (the Society for Conservation GIS), represented in the event by Dr. Alexandre Uezu (IPE-Brazil), and which organized the II Brazilian SCGIS Symposium within the congress.

 

In summary, we can say that the congress was a great success, and achieved its goals to promote discussions related to landscape ecology theory and practice in Brazil. The conference also boosted the collaboration between different research groups in Brazil and consolidated IALE-Br as an important national ecological association and IALE chapter, with more than 150 members. The feeling at the end of the congress was that a strong network of people dedicated to do research and apply landscape ecology to solve Brazilian environmental problems was strengthened.

by Danilo Boscolo (President of IALE-Br), Alexandre Camargo Martensen (Vice-President of IALE-Br), Rozely Ferreira dos Santos (1st secretary of IALE-Br) andJean Paul Metzger (IALE Vice President, South and Central America)

 

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