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Political scientists collaborating on the Amazon

The EU wants to begin collaborating with Brazil on preserving the biological diversity and life forms in the Amazon. Geoffrey Gooch, professor of political science, is one of the experts selected to prepare this collaboration.

Gooch was one of six experts who accompanied a large EU delegation to Manaus, in the Brazilian Amazon. The purpose was to discuss research collaboration between the EU and Brazil.

“We’re putting forth proposals in two areas of collaboration,” he says. “On the one hand, the Amazon forest and its role as a sink for greenhouse gases; on the other, rural development - how people in the many small villages in the Amazon can have supportable living conditions without having to give up their way of life. We want to work with a research institution in the Amazon, Mamirauá, on this.”

Gooch is perhaps an unusually well-suited person for this type of research collaboration. He has 20 years’ experience in working with EU projects, and since 2009 has been the coordinator for the LiveDiverse project. This is a question of the vulnerability of the environment and of people in biologically rich areas of the Third World.

“We have chosen four areas, in as many countries, where people live in or near national parks, and where their needs run the risk of conflicting with the preservation of biological diversity.”

The four countries are Costa Rica, India, South Africa, and Vietnam. Researchers are looking at vulnerability from several different perspectives, both ecologically and socioeconomically, culturally and spiritually. This makes the project unique.

“We have been called an ‘exemplary project’ by the EU commission, for things like weighing all these aspects,” Gooch says.

The LiveDiverse project will conclude in 2012 and will result in, among other things, a large database with biological, socioeconomic, and other factors that affect vulnerability. Researchers will also develop a type of vulnerability index and, with the help of geographical information systems (GIS), map vulnerability on a completely geographical basis. They are also studying the various form of local and national administration that affect vulnerability.

Besides LiU, universities in Scotland, Holland and Italy are participating, as well as universities in the four selected countries.


Therese Winder 2010-11-22




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Last updated: 2010-11-30