Faculty Feature

Advancing Protection of Transboundary Biocultural Riverscapes in the Amazon

A community near Manaus, Brazil (Photo Credit: Paulo Olivas) 

We are pleased to announce support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for a new, 3-year effort to advance the protection of a transboundary biocultural riverscape (rivers, wetlands, and linked forest ecosystems) over an area of 4 million hectares in the Western Amazon. This effort unites several parts of Florida International University: College of Arts, Sciences & Education and the Green School, Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center (including the Program of Excellence in Brazilian Studies – PROBRAS) and the Institute of Environment, and the departments of Earth and Environment and Global and Sociocultural Studies. It is co-led by Elizabeth Anderson, Simone Athayde, Clinton Jenkins, and Paulo Olivas

The project’s geographic focus is the triple frontier between Peru-Colombia-Brazil, which offers a unique opportunity for advancing approaches for transboundary freshwater governance. It is an area of extraordinary freshwater diversity, including large and globally-important floodplain wetland complexes in all three countries. Indigenous peoples and local communities have rich and diverse knowledge and biocultural connections to freshwater ecosystems along these areas.  

In collaboration with numerous South American partners, our project will pursue an integrative, co-produced effort to advance shared knowledge on social-ecological dynamics in four main areas: 

Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, Peru (Photo Credit: Claire Beveridge) 
  • Understanding current conditions and future scenarios of habitat change to provide necessary information for the protection of linked human, freshwater and forest ecosystems.
  • Documenting governance of linked freshwater and forest systems (de jure and de facto), increasing awareness and understanding of diverse governance models and fostering social learning and exchange across the biocultural riverscape. 
  • Developing a proof of concept for participatory biocultural mapping of linked freshwater and forest systems in collaboration with local communities.
  • Developing tools and creating spaces for discussion and consolidation of a shared vision for the protection of the Amazon River in the tri-national area.

More information is coming soon at: www.amazonriverscapes.org