Social Ecologies of Brazil's Atlantic Forest


My research examines the social ecology of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, the first biome of the South American continent to experience widespread deforestation by humans. I conducted previous research in Brazil in 2014-2015. My goal this summer was to define sites where natural geography of an Atlantic Forest ecosystem might begin. These included archives, wherein I consulted and photographed documents related to land use and management from the 19th and 20th centuries including maps and government records, as well as field sites within the Reserva Biológica Poço das Antas where I made surveys and inquired about permits necessary to collect samples and make further measurements of biotic communities, soils, and hydrology and interview park personnel and local residents. My goal is to return to the Reserve to undertake further research regarding how this forest has developed in time and space. The development of this ecosystem profoundly affects how we approach conservation and restoration throughout the Atlantic Forest, a biome that is home to the majority of Brazil’s population, the source of water for its largest cities, and an important center of agricultural production.

Chris Lesser
Publication date: 
August 27, 2016
Publication type: 
Student Research