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Amazon Symposium

Jungle.jpgWhy The Amazon Matters for the Fate of the Earth

April 12, 2023
Michigan State University

9:30 a.m.- 5:00 pm
Room 303, International Center

Event Flier

A constellation of prominent scientists known for their expertise on the Amazon and climate change will present current best understandings of the complex and shifting role played by the Amazon in climate change processes. They will address the causes and consequences of forest loss and degradation, including human dimensions, and the risks of passing ecological tipping points that would lead to runaway forest loss from climate drying and fire. These experts will also explore the enormous potential of the Amazon Forest to maintain a cool, healthy global climate, and the policy change opportunities that can stop the loss of this essential ecosystem, while supporting the wellbeing of Amazonian people.

Program and Panelists

9:30 Welcome Remarks

Provost Thomas Jeitschko

Associate Provost and Dean of International Studies and Programs Steve Hanson

Vice President for Research and Innovation Doug Buhler

10:00 Panel 1. Overview of Current Issues and Challenges


Emilio Moran is John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor, Dept. Of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has studied processes of migration, deforestation, and land use and land cover change in Amazonia for several decades.

Paulo Artaxo is a Professor of Physics, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Head of the Global Climate Change Program at FAPESP; Member of IPCC; member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS); vice president of the São Paulo Academy of Sciences (ACIESP), and vice president of SBPC (Brazilian Association for the Progress of Sciences). His research focuses on global climate change and its impacts on the Amazon.

Eduardo Brondizio is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University. He served as Co-Chair of the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). A leader in the study of people and environment in the Amazon, he has highlighted the role of indigenous and local knowledge in the conservation of Amazon biodiversity and globally. He is co-editor-in-chief of Global Environmental Change.

Dolors Armenteras is Professor of Landscape Ecology at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá and Member of the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Scientific Panel for the Amazon. Her research focuses on conservation and sustainable use of tropical forests, including fire ecology, deforestation, forest degradation, modeling, and forest management.

1:00 Panel 2. Biophysical Processes


Liana O. Anderson is Researcher at CEMADEN (National Center for Monitoring and Early Warning of Natural Disasters) and in the graduate program at INPE (Brazilian National Institute for Space Research). She studies the risks and impacts of climate extremes in the Amazon and their dynamics and interrelations with changes in the environment and society.

Luiz Aragao is Head of the Earth Observation and Geoinformatics Division at INPE (Brazilian National Institute for Space Research) and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter, UK. His work is strongly focused on carbon dynamics, environmental change, fire impacts, ecology, and remote sensing in the Amazon.

Gabriel de Oliveira is an Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of South Alabama. He has significant expertise working in the Amazon Rainforest, focusing on the use of orbital remote sensing imagery and ground observations to understand how deforestation, fire, and droughts affect plant ecophysiological processes and, consequently, the regional climate, due to exchanges of water and carbon between the biosphere and the atmosphere.

Scott Stark is Asst. Professor of Forestry at Michigan State University. Stark takes ecological and Earth system approaches to address the future of forests, and the Amazon. He links forest structure and function with field and remote canopy observations including new applications of lidar remote sensing. He is also interested in the connections between ecological and human drivers of forest change.

Nathan Moore is Assoc. Professor of Geography and a researcher at the Center for Global Change and Earth Observation at Michigan State University. He studies land surface processes and their impacts on atmospheric dynamics as they relate to agriculture.

3:30 Panel 3. Social and Policy Dimensions


Deborah Delgado is a Professor of Sociology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. She conducts research on forest conservation policies and rural communities in the Peruvian Amazon. She is interested in environmental governance and climate policy, particularly regarding indigenous peoples and tropical forests.

Ane Alencar serves as Director of Science at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM). Her research focuses on the impacts of climate change and forest fragmentation caused by deforestation on the occurrence and increase of forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon.

Vanessa Boanada is Asst. Professor of International Development and Sustainability at St. Gallen University in Switzerland. Her research focuses on the Xingu/Belo Monte region with ribeirinhos affected by the Belo Monte dam.

Maria Claudia Lopez is Associate Professor in the Dept. of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University. She studies institutions, governance, and common property resources. Recently, her work has focused on compensation and energy justice for populations impacted by hydropower dams in Amazonia.


The symposium is funded by a grant from MSU VPRI's Climate Change Initiative, the Dean of ISP, the Dean of CANR, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and ESPP.