The Amazon rainforest is the largest tropical forest on earth. It absorbs vast amounts of CO2, and is large enough to impact local and global weather. Dr. Christopher Neill describes the dramatic changes in the Amazon ecosystem that have resulted from deforestation for agriculture. Forest fragmentation has caused more species extinction, more fires and increased concern about drought. Neill ends his talk on a brighter note, pointing out that government intervention and modified agricultural practices have decreased Amazon deforestation by 75% in the past 10 years.
In his second lecture, Neill and his group go to the Tanguro Ranch in the southeastern Amazon of Brazil. The farm is at the interface between agricultural land and forest and provides a perfect area to study how expansion and intensification of cropping practices influence croplands watersheds, and the surrounding forest. Neill’s research explores how to prevent further deforestation by intensifying agriculture on already cleared areas, and how to do this without increasing the environmental impacts to weather, air and water.
Dr. Christopher Neill is a Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) in Falmouth, MA. Before joining the WHRC, Neill spent 4 years as Director of the Ecosystems Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory, where he was a scientist from 1996-2016 and retains a position as a Fellow. Neill investigates how changes in… Continue Reading