New Research Project in the South American Pantanal: Water and Society
Antonio Ioris is involved in a new research project investigating water quality and environmental regulation in the South American Pantanal.
Antonio Ioris is one of the academics involved in the new research project (Pronex) recently approved by the government agency Fapemat (oversees science and technology in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil). Pronex will deal with water quality and environmental regulation in the South American Pantanal and includes scientists from the International Pantanal Network. The team of scientists will examine the impacts of water pollution on the ecology and society of the Cuiabá River Basin, the most urbanised area in the Pantanal.
The Pantanal is a huge complex of savannah wetlands with an area of 320,000 km2 in the upper reaches of the Paraguay River, in Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. It is the third largest Environmental Biosphere Reserve, with 160,000 km2 of floodplain. The low intensity cattle ranching in the Pantanal is considered to be one of the few examples of sustainable development introduced by Europeans into a tropical environment. However, in the last three decades there have been increased threats to the wetland system due to urban growth and agriculture intensification. Despite limited scientific information, there is strong evidence of degradation of wetland areas due to sediment inputs and anecdotal evidence of fish decline in fish catch and biodiversity. In order to improve the dialogue between scientists and policy-makers, a networking initiative was initiated in 2008 (supported by The Leverhulme Trust). The network is coordinated by Antonio Ioris and more information can be obtained at www.aces.ac.uk/PantanalInternationalNetwork.htm.
Pronex is one of the first major achievements of the Pantanal International Network and its interdisciplinary outcomes are expected to inform policymaking and be highly relevant for water users, including farmers and water utilities. The first phase of Pronex will be a workshop in the city of Cuiabá on 14-15 March 2011, which will be followed by a fieldtrip to the Cuiabá River Basin. Antonio Ioris will attend the workshop with five other colleagues from the Macaulay Institute and the Scottish Agriculture College.