University of Richmond geography professors awarded $700,000 grant from NASA

University of Richmond geography professors awarded $700,000 grant from NASA
Geography professors at the University of Richmond have been awarded $700k from NASA for a three-year project to study ecosystem changes in the Amazon Rainforest. (Source: University of Richmond)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Geography professors at the University of Richmond have been awarded $700,000 from NASA for a three-year project to study ecosystem changes in the Amazon Rainforest.

Stephanie Spera, Assistant Professor of Geography, David Salsbury, Chair of the University of Richmond Department of Geography and the Environment and collaborators in Peru and Brazil will research how land-use change has affected the rainforest and create analytical and education tools.

Spera’s research focuses on land-use and climate change in the Brazilian Cerrado, a biodiversity hotspot and agricultural breadbasket.

“Through fieldwork in eastern Peru, we will monitor changes in temperature, soil moisture, stream height, and relative humidity using simple handheld field sensors,” Spera said. “The goals of this research are to understand how forest degradation, deforestation, and road-building affect the ecosystem services provided by the water cycle in the Southwestern Amazon and then develop data and tools to improve water management in the region.”

Salisbury’s research focuses on the balance between conservation, development and Indigenous rights in the Amazon. Salisbury’s work has been supported through a grant from the Pan-American Institute of Geography and History to research environmental challenges in the Amazon.

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