Exeter Alumni and WWF work together to protect natural habitat in Brazil
A group of Exeter alumni has joined the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) in founding a new Ph.D. project to protect the Cerrado ecosystem in Brazil.
The largest savanna region in South America, the Cerrado, is a vast tropical ecosystem in Brazil. Covering more than 20% of Brazil, it is not nearly as recognized as the Amazon. While being one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, with more than 10,000 plant species of which 30% grow nowhere else, it is 1.3 million square miles in size. However, its native habitats and rich biodiversity are being destroyed faster than the neighbouring rainforest.
“if the Cerrado is lost, the whole world will feel the effects in terms of climate, and its unique biodiversity cannot be replaced.”Professor Toby Pennington, Professor of Tropical Plant Diversity and Biogeography at the University of Exeter.
Part of the Global Systems Institute, the Ph.D. research aims to develop a new generation of tools to restore the Cerrado biome.
“This research will be vital for the restoration and rehabilitation of the environment – it will help ensure food and water security, increase carbon sequestration, support the supply of pollinators vital for agriculture, and enhance economic prosperity in some of the world’s poorest communities.” explained Professor Toby Pennington.
Bel Lyon, Latin America Regional Manager at WWF-UK said: “WWF has been working to reduce the impacts of commodities supply chains in the Cerrado and to eliminate the need for habitat conversion by promoting efficiency and productivity on land already in use. We are delighted to work with the University of Exeter on this additional research to protect and restore such a crucial environment.”
Editor: Elen Johnston