Institutional projects

Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Many faculty members of INPA’s Graduate Program in Ecology coordinate or are associated with national and international cooperation projects or research networks, which also provide funding for graduate research. 

Below we list INPA’s institutional projects that are more closely related to the Ecology Program. All researchers mentioned are faculty members of the Program.

National Institutes of Science and Technology (INCT) - The INCTs are excellence programs of integrated inter-institutional research projects funded by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and aimed at strategic regional development. They represent the largest investment in science & technology by the Brazilian government over the last decade. Despite representing over half of Brazil’s territory, the Amazon region was contemplated with only nine out of 122 INCTs in the first call for proposals, four of them being awarded to INPA (INCT Integrated Studies on Amazonian Biodiversity (CENBAM), INCT Amazonian Environmental Services (SERVAMB), INCT Adaptations of Amazonian Aquatic Biota, and INCT Amazonian Timber). The former two INCTs are coordinated by William Magnusson and Philip Fearnside, respectively, and several other faculty members of the Ecology Program partcipate in one or more of the projects.

Research Program on Biodiversity - PPBio – Over a decade of research on integration of biodiversity survey data in the fragmented landscape of Alter-do-Chão, in the Eastern Amazon, by the research team of William Magnusson, followed by a pilot-study in Ducke Reserve (see Field Infastructure), culminated in the launching of PPBio in 2004 by the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology. PPBio is a large-scale initiative that aims at creating standardized sampling sites throughout the Amazon region, using the RAPELD system, i.e. sampling infrastructure that allows RAP surveys as well as long term research and monitoring. A primary objective of PPBio has been to promote the establishment of sampling infrastructure and training of local people for research in areas that are isolated from the two main centers of research activity in the Brazilian Amazon (the cities of Manaus and Belém). Besides the standarization and spatial integration of data collection in the field, another cornerstone of PPBio is the inclusion of data from all field sites in digital open-access data repositories, facilitating the integrated analysis of data from different authors colected at different sites and times. Today PPBio has many sampling sites in the Amazon and other regions in Brazil and abroad. Many research projects by graduate students in Ecology since 2004 have been carried out in PPBio sampling infrastructure in the states of Amazonas, Roraima and Rondônia. Click here for an overview of all PPBio sampling sites in the Amazon. The PPBio for the Western Amazon is coordinated at INPA by William Magnusson, and is closely associated with INCT-CENBAM.

Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project - BDFFP is the first large-scale experimental approach to study the consequences of forest fragmentation in the tropics, by creating a series of standardized fragments of primary forest in an area of cattle ranching near Manaus in 1979. The project is managed through a cooperation agreement between INPA and the Smithsonian Institution. Today the BDFFP is a worldwide reference for research on forest fragmentation. In 2016 it completed 37 years of existence. The Project supported over 200 graduate research projects and over 800 undergraduate trainees. The BDFFP organizes one of the most well-known graduate ecology field courses in Brazil (Ecology of the Amazon Forest). BDFFP researchers have published over 700 scientific articles. The project is coordinated by José Luis Camargo.

Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia - LBA is an international research initiative between Brazil, the US and the European Community that started in 1995. It is based on interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the interaction among the atmosphere and ecosystem and land use dynamics in the Amazon, with INPA as the coordinating partner. From 2006 onwards LBA has been funded exclusively by Brazil, through periodical calls for proposals. The most recent call for proposals was in 2014 and approved 14 research projects that deal with environmental dynamics, the sustainability of environmental services, and terrestrial and aquatic production systems. LBA produced over 1500 scientific articles and supported the research of 600 graduate students from Brazil and other countries. Several faculty members of the Ecology Program coordinate or participate in LBA projects.  

Amazon Forest Inventory Network - RAINFOR started as a spin-off of LBA to form, an international collaboration for the study of the dynamics of forests across the Amazon, a region that harbours 45% of global tropical forests and stores 40% carbon in its terrestrial vegetation. Since 2000 the Project has established a network of permanent sampling plots in the Brazilian Amazon and in other Amazonian countries. It aims to study the relation of forest structure, biomass and dynamics with local climate and soil properties, to explore how changes in climate may affect forest biomass and productivity, and to produce basin-scale carbon balance models. Rainfor is supported by funds from the US, UK, EU, Brazil and Colombia. INPA executes Rainfor in Brazil under the coordination of Carlos Alberto Quesada.  

Amazon-FACE Program – This is an unprecedented initiative for the experimental evaluation of the effects of climate change on the Amazon rainforest, coordinated by INPA, the State University of São Paulo (UNESP) and the Oak Ridge Laboratory (USA). Several other institutions from Brazil, USA, Europe and Australia participate. The experiment will simulate the effects of atmospheric CO2 enrichment on forest resiliance, biodiversity and environmental services using the Free-air CO2 Enrichment (Face) technology. Face will be used for the first time in the tropics, in a series of experimental plots installed in one of INPA’s forest reserves. The Program started in 2016 and will run for 10 years, coordinated by Carlos Alberto Quesada. 

INCT Amazonian Environmental Services - SERVAMB integrates initiatives of the research group coordinated by Philip Fearnside, concerning the study of the human carrying capacity of Amazonian ecosystems. Philip was the second most cited author worldwide in the area of global warming in 2006. His group analyzes the processes and dynamics of deforestation, its environmental impacts, the cost of environmental services and the sustainability of different development models in the Amazon.   

International Long Term Ecological Research Program (ILTER) in Brazil – ILTER congregates long-term research sites in 21 countries. In Brazil, ILTER research is funded by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq). INPA coordinates since 1998 the first Brazilian ILTER site, which has been a model for the generation of long-term temporal series of ecological data in the tropics. ILTER-Brazil site #1 Manaus is formed by three of INPA’s forest reserves, among them Ducke Reserve and the BDFFP reserves, which are among the most productive research sites in South America. In 2012 a second ILTER site was approved by INPA, ILTER-Brazil site MAUA (Amazonian wetlands). ILTER sites Manaus and MAUA are coordinated by INPA’s Flávia Costa and Maria Teresa Piedade, respectively. 

INPA/Max-Planck Society Cooperation Agreement – The cooperation agreement between INPA and the Max-Planck Institute for Limnology (later Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry) goes back to the 1960s and is the longest international cooperation still active in the Amazon region. Over decades the INPA/Max-Planck researchers produced the most comprehensive body of knowledge about Amazonian wetlands, which cover around 30% of the region and have great ecological and economic importance. Nowadays the agreement is funded mainly by Brazilian agencies. The cooperation has generated over 1000 scientific publications and supported many Brazilian graduate students. In 2012 an ILTER-Brazil site for Amazonian wetlands (MAUA) was approved within the INPA/Max-Planck cooperation framework (see ILTER above). Both the INPA/Max-Planck cooperation and the ILTER-MAUA site are coordinated by Maria Teresa Piedade.

Igarapés Project – This is an umbrella project created in 2001 to integrate research on the ecology of Amazonian streams (locally known as igarapés). The research group associated to this project studies the effects of deforestation and alteration in  vegetation cover on the structural and functional integrity of streams, using experimental approaches for integration of data on the physicochemical characteristics of streams and their surroundings with data on stream vertebrate and invertebrate fauna. The project is coordinated by Jansen Zuanon.

Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network – INPA coordinates one of 19 study sites of the TEAM initiative, a partnership of Conservation International, Wildlife Conservation Society and Smithsonian Institution based on camera-trapping for monitoring of vertebrate fauna in the face of climatic changes and habitat alterations. The 19 sites are located in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The data collected through camera-trapping is made available on public-access databases in near real-time. TEAM-Manaus is coordinated by Wilson Spironello.

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