Community Assembly and Landscape Ecology


In 2018, Cristina was shortlisted for the Early Career NERC Impact Award. NERC commissioned a video about her research and impact on policy which can be seen below. 

The impact was based on the main findings of Banks-Leite et al. Science 2014 which showed that 30% is the minimum amount of area required to preserve biodiversity in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. This threshold has been used to based one environmental resolution legislated at the São Paulo State and a federal decree in Brazil. This paper also developed a biome-wide set-aside programme based on Payment for Ecosystem Services, which was recommended by the ‘Conselho Nacional da Reserva da Biosfera da Mata Atlantica’ as an effective solution for evaluating costs of preserving biodiversity, and as a promising strategy for reaching the Aichi Target 2 in the Atlantic Forest.


In 2018, after the ECOFOR project had come to an end, Dr. Edicson Parra-Sanchez worked as a Knowledge Exchange Fellow for a few months translating to the general public, and specifically to the local farmers who kindly allowed us to collect samples within their land.

Edicson produced a very cool summary of academic work conducted by ECOFOR members in the Atlantic Forest and the Amazon region. The summary was then converted into a beautiful booklet (see below) and a report highlighting the main results and their importance for conservation. This booklet was delivered to the landowners and local people of the Atlantic Forest region personally, and results were discussed with each one of the farmers involved in the project. For the general public, an event was set up in Sao Luiz do Paraitinga to reach out local NGOs, community leaders and schoolkids. 

He also organised a one-day ecological fair called “Tesouros escondidos do vale do Paraiba” in São Luís do Paraitinga, the main town where the project was conducted. To this event, four other institutions joined in (payment for ecosystem services -PES-, “Serra do Mar” Natural Park, local municipality and NEPAM-Unicamp). Altogether there were nearly 200 participants between local leaders, two groups of schoolkids, tourists and local people.