One of the great challenges of the 21st century is the unification of human knowledge for the solution of problems that significantly transcend traditional disciplinary spheres. Among these problems, the issues related to the conservation and use of natural resources are among the most urgent facing humankind. Their resolution call for a greater dialogue between the different forms of knowledge.

The cities of the Campos Basin dramatically exemplify the challenges of socio-economic and environmental problems arising from the exploitation of natural resources. Approximately 82% of the oil currently produced in Brazil is extracted from this region of the country. On the one hand, there has been a huge contribution of resources to the cities of the region via petroleum royalties and investments made by the oil industry. On the other, intense economic activity has created rampant and disorganized population growth in the region, with concomitant destruction of habitats and misuse of spaces and natural resources. What and how many species have been or will be lost in this process? What environmental resources and services are being harmed by these changes? How can we curb immediate consumerism and motivate conservation of natural resources for following generations?

In this scenario of uncertainties, the Graduate Program in Environmental Sciences and Conservation (PPG-CiAC) emerged as an attempt to understand and resolve the vertiginous human impacts on the natural resources of the northern half of the state of Rio de Janeiro. This is a challenge that requires the integration of distinct disciplines of human knowledge, dealing with biological, physicochemical, and socioeconomic perceptions of biodiversity.

PPG-CiAC intends to form professionals with a solid base in the sciences who are dedicated to the conservation and management of natural resources and who are able to integrate concepts and methods from the different disciplines of Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Geology in the analysis of environmental issues. PPG-CiAC's research includes the description and recognition of the rich regional biodiversity, as well as understanding the functioning of natural ecosystems for their management, conservation, and sustainable use. PPG-CiAC students therefore have the opportunity to take a varied set of classes and develop research that incorporates interdisciplinarity as a basic principle for understanding and analyzing complex scientific issues

Ideally, the theoretical bases of conservation and management of natural resources integrate studies that contemplate different levels of organization, pragmatism, and applicability. The two lines of PPG-CiAC research are designed to understand all these levels of complexity, ranging from studies of molecular interactions in organisms to whole ecosystems, including their human and social components.

Biodiversity: structure and recognition

The research line "Biodiversity: structure and recognition" aims to catalogue the biological diversity of the region at the main structural levels of the ecosystem. In this concept, Biodiversity is understood as an integrative term that covers all aspects of biological variation, from the diversity of species and populations to the chemical and molecular diversity that promotes the interaction between organisms in an ecosystem. We thus strive to understand and evaluate the biological, aesthetic, and socioeconomic value of the natural heritage contained in the regional ecosystems that are currently under socio-environmental impacts related, albeit indirectly, to the exploitation of petroleum. This approach to understanding an ecosystem's structuring levels is multidisciplinary, as it integrates the description and recognition of biodiversity with the identification and characterization of its genetic and chemical resources.

 

Natural systems: assessment, conservation and socio-environmental development

The research line "Natural Systems: Evaluation, Conservation and Socio-environmental Development" aims to understand the functioning of natural systems as a precondition of their restoration and management, something that is indispensable for achieving social and environmental development in the region. In this line, Ecology therefore plays the role of integrating agent with Geosciences and Environmental Chemistry. In an interdisciplinary and transversal way, this like thus seeks to promote scientific advances that favor socio-environmental development in the north of the state of Rio de Janeiro.

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UFRJ NUPEM - Núcleo em Ecologia e Desenvolvimento Sócio-ambiental de Macaé
Desenvolvido por: TIC/UFRJ