Intervention Ecology Lab.

About the lab

>Our interests:
We are interested in applying scientific knowledge to extension activities, besides influencing the decision-makers, taking into account the biological, socioeconomic, political, and legal aspects of environmental adequacy.
>Our mission:
-To qualify future professionals to work in the field of Intervention Ecology, which covers Restoration Ecology and Conservation Biology,
-To contribute with technical and scientific information to assist in society's demands
>Our actions:
-Bioindicators monitoring (fauna and flora); Implementation of Agroforestry Systems; Fire management; Innovation in ecological restoration; Species cost-benefit analysis; Evaluation of ecological restoration techniques; scenario projections and species distribution models; Citizen science; fire ecology

Featured projects (1)

We will investigate the effect of different fire and flooding regimes on richness, abundance, composition, and diversity of target communities; Moreover, we will focusing on structural development and reproductive phenology, productivity, and seed germination of plant species that are the interests of indigenous people,, as well as the effect on physical and chemical parameters of soil. The results ultimately could be integrated to produce a protocol for common use to be applied for other regions of the Pantanal, Indigenous Lands that have the same demand and other Wetlands of Brazil and worldwide. The project results will be widely disseminated through several communication actions including journalistic releases, thematic podcasts, and printed material. The target audience of these actions will include indigenous populations of the region, population of surrounding cities, public agencies linked to the environment, and population of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Featured research (19)

Resumo 1. Os povos indígenas vêm gerindo paisagens propensas ao fogo há milênios, especialmente nas savanas tropicais, mantendo assim os estoques de carbono e a pirodiversidade e garantindo a sua segurança alimentar. Em algumas terras indígenas no Brasil, as brigadas de combate a incêndios são compostas por indígenas, integrando seus conhecimentos tradicionais nas políticas de manejo do fogo; no entanto, a eficácia da sua gestão é em grande parte não documentada. Deste modo, precisamos conhecer a eficácia das brigadas de combate a incêndios indígenas e sua influência nos padrões do fogo. 2. Neste estudo, avaliamos uma série histórica de 18 anos de padrões de incêndio e cicatrizes de queima, comparando períodos com e sem atividade de brigadas indígenas, para descrever o papel das brigadas na Terra Indígena Kadiwéu. Neste Território, desde 2009, brigadas de incêndio compostas por indígenas são instituídas, treinadas e mantidas pelo Centro Nacional de Prevenção e Combate a Incêndios (PREVFOGO/IBAMA). Estas brigadas são responsáveis pelo manejo do fogo em todo o território Kadiwéu, utilizando técnicas como a queima prescrita, queima controlada e o combate a incêndios. 3. Constatamos que o manejo de incêndios realizado pelas brigadas indígenas reduziu a frequência de incêndios em 80% nas áreas com alta frequência de incêndios (mais de 70% do tempo analisado). O manejo também reduziu em 53% o tamanho da área anual queimada e também a influência do clima sobre a área total queimada. De acordo com nossos modelos, a área afetada pelos incêndios é influenciada principalmente pelas chuvas anuais na ausência de brigadas indígenas; em contrapartida, os fatores climáticos não puderam explicar a variação da área queimada no período com brigadas indígenas. Síntese e aplicações — O manejo do fogo realizado pelas brigadas indígenas pode modificar o regime de fogo. Essas alterações no regime de fogo podem incluir: mudanças nos padrões espaciais, na magnitude dos incêndios e redução na influência do clima sobre os regimes de fogo. Assim, o manejo realizado pelas brigadas indígenas pode ser considerado uma importante ferramenta para o manejo do fogo. Além disso, demonstra a importância de programas que integrem o conhecimento tradicional indígena com políticas de manejo do fogo, como o Manejo Integrado do Fogo (MIF), para a construção de estratégias de manejo eficazes.
In 2012, the Native Vegetation Protection Law 12.651 decreased the extent of Areas of Permanent Preservation in Brazil. While previously the distance from water was measured during the rainy season, the new version only considered the extent of the regular watercourse. This change affects conservation and restoration sites, and restoration programs need to be modified based on the new legislation. For instance, more flood-tolerant species need to be planted, given the higher probability that restoration efforts will be lost during flooding. To identify species suitable for the restoration of such areas, we tested if plants that develop morphological structures to tolerate waterlogging stress are more resistant to hypoxia caused by flooding and can recover better afterwards. We experimentally evaluated survival and morphological or phenological strategies (root dry mass, height, basal diameter, adventitious roots, lenticels, and leaf renewal) of 13 tree species from the Cerrado and Pantanal biomes of Brazil. After 56 days of simulated inundation and 56 days of post-inundation recovery, we found that all study species were able to survive on waterlogged soil and to recover after the flood, and they can be used to restore periodically flooded riparian forests within the new legal zone. Our study is particularly relevant, as climate change is expected to increase flooding. As environmental laws change and new areas get restored including those in artificially flooded areas, such as on banks of hydroelectric dams, the experimental approach introduced in this study should be replicated with other species from various phytogeographic domains worldwide.
1. Indigenous peoples have been managing fire‐prone landscapes for millennia, especially in tropical savannas, thereby maintaining carbon stocks and pyrodiversity and ensuring food security. In some indigenous lands in Brazil, fire brigades are composed of indigenous people, integrating their traditional knowledge in Brazilian fire management policies; however, the effectiveness of their management is largely undocumented. Nevertheless, we need to know the effectiveness of indigenous fire brigades and their influence on fire patterns. 2. Here, we evaluate an 18‐year historical series of fire patterns and burn scars, comparing periods with and without indigenous brigade activity, to describe the role of indigenous fire brigades in the Kadiwéu Indigenous Territory. In this Indigenous Territory, fire brigades composed of indigenous people have been instituted, trained and maintained by the National Center of Prevention and Combat of Wildfire (PREVFOGO/IBAMA) since 2009. These brigades are responsible for fire management throughout the Kadiwéu Indigenous Territory using controlled burning, prescribed burning, and combating wildfires. 3. We found that fire management by the indigenous brigades has reduced fire frequency by 80% in the areas with high fire frequency (over 70% of the analyzed time). Management also reduced the size of the area burned by 53% and the influence of climate over the total area burned. According to our models, the area affected by fires is mainly influenced by annual rainfall in the absence of indigenous brigades; in contrast, climatic factors could not explain the variation in the burned area in the period without indigenous brigades. 4. Synthesis and applications — The fire management realized by the indigenous brigades can modify the fire regime. These changes in the fire regime can include: changes in spatial patterns, the magnitude of fires, and reduction in the influence of climate on fire regimes. Hence, the management carried out by the indigenous brigades can be considered an important tool for fire management. In addition, demonstrates the importance of programs that integrate traditional indigenous knowledge with fire management policies, such as the Integrated Fire Management (IFM), to construct effective management strategies.
In 2020, fires in the Pantanal, the world's largest continuous tropical wetland, made global news. The flames destroyed almost one-third of the biome. Furthermore, 43% of the affected area was burnt for the first time in 20 or even more years. As the combination of extreme drought and anthropogenic actions that caused these extreme wildfires is still prevalent, scientifically informed actions are necessary to prevent catastrophic fires in the future. Fire prevention, as well as restoration need to be spatially prioritised, as it is unfeasible to plan actions for the whole extent (150,355 km2) of the Brazilian Pantanal. In this study, we identified areas of high fire risk based on meteorological fire risk tendency for 1980–2020, fire intensity, last year with fire, the recurrence of fires for 2003–2020, and remaining areas of natural forest vegetation around watercourses. These native remnants include unburnt areas that can serve as refuges for fire-sensitive species and are important for fire prevention. We identified 246 km2 with high fire risk, i.e., high probability of megafires, with vegetation types that support fire-sensitive plant species. We found that while 179 km2 had high or medium natural regeneration potential, 66 km2 had low potential and needed active restoration. Over 3120 km2 have been severely degraded by recent fires. About 93% of these areas have high or medium potential for natural regeneration, where the suggested actions are passive restoration and Integrated Fire Management. We estimated the cost of post-fire restoration for areas with high and medium potential for natural regeneration to be around 123 million USD. In areas with low regeneration potential (219 km2), we suggest active restoration. The cost to restore these areas using transplanted seedlings or enrichment planting is estimated between 28 and 151 million USD.
Besides enabling economic activity, the domestication of indigenous species in situ configures a strategy for the conservation of genetic resources in Agroforestry Systems (AFSs), as well as an ecological restoration strategy. Successful productivity and restoration through AFSs require active intervention with agroecological practices, e.g., the use of green manure. We evaluated how planting different green manure species in consortium with Guavira influences its reproductive period, growth, and productivity in different spatial arrangements. Guavira, Campomanesia adamantium, is a shrub that is native to the Brazilian Savannah and has fruticulture potential. To evaluate growth, we measured plant height and canopy cover and to evaluate fruit yield, we monitored reproductive phenology among different treatments. Guavira grows better in less dense areas with Crotalaria breviflora and Cajanus cajan rather than with Canavalia ensiformis. In all inter-row spacing of Guavira and green manure species, the reproductive phases were highly seasonal, with flowering and fruiting lasting for two and four months, respectively. Guavira plants that grew in consortium with green manure in different inter-row spacing presented different flowering times, but this difference was not reflected in fruit production. Fruiting and growth appear to be affected by inter-row spacing, as well as by the species used in the consortium. Thus, these variables must be considered carefully when implementing an agroforestry system.

Lab head

Letícia Couto Garcia
  • Institute of Biological Sciences
About Letícia Couto Garcia
  • I`m Adjunct Professor of the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul (UFMS) in the Intervention Ecology Lab (LEI) contributing to the Plant Biology and the Conservation and Ecology Postgraduate Programs. BS in Biology at UFMG in Brazil with Honours in Ecology followed by a Master in Ecology, Conservation, and Management. PhD in the Plant Biology Program at the UNICAMP in Brazil, with a PhD exchange at the UWA in Australia. Postdoctoral fellow at the CRIA, Contact:

Members (13)

Danilo Bandini Ribeiro
  • Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul
Bruno Henrique dos Santos Ferreira
  • Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul
Letícia Koutchin Reis
  • Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul
Angélica Guerra
  • Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul
Felipe Luis Gomes Borges
  • Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul
Evania Gondim
  • Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul
Maria Luciana Zequim Colado
  • Viveiro Timbó Mudas e Sementes Nativas
Paula Martins
  • Ecoa - Ecologia e Ação
Tiago Conde de Almeida
Tiago Conde de Almeida
  • Not confirmed yet
Leonardo de Oliveira Parangaba
Leonardo de Oliveira Parangaba
  • Not confirmed yet