The last few years have been quite full in Southern Brazil. Following GESA 2013, I jumped right into a PhD program in Ecology at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina to work with the Laklãnõ (Xokleng) Indigenous People on social-ecological change, traditional systems of knowledge, forest management and strategies for biocultural conservation and restoration in their territory located within the Atlantic Rainforest biodiversity hotspot.
It has been a great and challenging ride immersing myself in the community during the many stages of my fieldwork and reconcile the many different agendas from the community and university realms. For this project, I was awarded a Darrel Posey PhD Fellowship – as you may have heard in previous newsletters – and I had the amazing opportunity to attend and share some of my research at the 14th International Congress of Ethnobiology in Bhutan. I have also had the chance to present at a handful of national and international meetings held in Brazil, such as the Theoretical Ecology Symposium and the Brazilian Association of Ecological Science and Conservation Meeting, the International Union of Forest Research Organizations Meeting and the World Conference on Ecological Restoration last year. At the latter, I was fortunate enough to catch up GESA Resource Person Sarah-Lan Matez-Stiéfel. In addition to this, I have also had the opportunity to visit and work with the Ka’apor Indigenous People in Eastern Amazonia, facilitating a workshop on ethnoecological mapping and forest surveillance activities. This was supported by Greenpeace Brazil, as the Ka’apor’s territory has been constantly invaded and attacked by illegal loggers. I am also continuing to be a science advisor for the environmental organization A Rocha in Brazil and have been marginally involved in a few agroforestry and bee-keeping initiatives in urban areas. In tandem to this, Ana and I had baby Bernardo, who has been keeping my hands busy and my mind sane in the last two years. He is becoming a great kid, fond of wild berries, birds, forests, bicycles and cars too. In the coming months I will defend my dissertation and from there on new things should spark, to which I am very looking forward to.