MSc Student, University of Florida
Research: Conserving biodiversity in the face of massive forest loss with agricultural expansion: Does current policy of allocating forest in strips maintain wildlife?
Abstract: Deforestation, which is mainly driven by expansion of agriculture, is a major cause of biodiversity loss. A key step toward successful conservation in agricultural areas is maximizing mammal conservation in remaining forest. In subtropical and tropical regions, forest strips are often left between agricultural fields under the assumption that biodiversity is sustained. This project will test this assumption in the Chaco forest, which has both extraordinary and threatened mammal biodiversity, as well as one of the highest deforestation rates worldwide. This project will compare the occurrence of mammals in agricultural forest strips and in continuous forest to determine the utility of these strips for mammals. Agricultural landowners will also be interviewed to determine acceptable alternatives to forest strips for conserving forest. The goal is to work with policy makers to incorporate project results into policies developed under the new Argentine Forestry Law so that this project has immediate impacts on conservation of biodiversity.