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Dr Filipe Machado Franca

Formerly at Lancaster University

Research overview

I am interested in understanding how biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in tropical ecosystems are influenced by human activities and climate-associated stressors. I am currently working on a 3 year (2020-22) BNP Paribas Foundation-funded BIOCLIMATE project, aiming to assess the fauna contribution to the post-disturbance trajectory of Amazonian rainforests.


Main research projects:

BIOCLIMATE: BIOdiversity responses to CLIMAte and land-uses change in Tropical forest Ecosystems.

BIOCLIMATE will break new ground in five ways: [i] building the biggest temporal database on Amazonian vegetation and carbon responses to local and climate-related stressors; [ii] assembling a huge amount of new information on species-specific contributions to ecosystem processes crucial to understanding climate resilience and post-disturbance forest recovery; [iii] the adoption of both next-generation (i.e. environmental DNA, ingested DNA, bioacoustics) and well-established techniques (i.e. camera traps and vegetation census) to monitor tropical forest fauna at broad temporal scales, and produce detailed species interaction networks; [iv] the timely opportunity to adopt multiple communication strategies for public engagement in forest recovery, climate resilience and biodiversity conservation; and [v] the translation of scientific knowledge into conservation planning to define specific climate-smart management strategies in a region where researchers already collaborate with stakeholders and forest managers. BIOCLIMATE is funded by BNP Paribas Foundation (Climate & Biodiversity Initiative; time span: Mar/2020 to Dec/2022).

BIOCLIMATE team: Prof. J. Barlow (PI; Lancaster University), Dr. F. França (co-PI; Lancaster University), Dr. Y. Bass (Co-PI; Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle); Dr. J. Ferreira (Co-PI; Embrapa), Dr. A. Lees (Co-PI; Manchester Metropolitan University), Dr. E. Berenguer (Co-I; University of Oxford/ Lancaster University), Dr. J. Sueur (Co-I; Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle), Prof. Y. Malhi (Co-I; University of Oxford), Prof. P. Galetti (Co-I; UFsCar); MsC. T. Medaglia (PP; Ambiental Media).

PELD-RAS: Long-Term Ecological Research Program of the Sustainable Amazon Network.

The main aim of PELD-RAS is to increase our understanding of the longer-term impacts caused by different local human-driven disturbances, such as understory fires and selective logging, and climate-associated stressors (e.g. El Niño droughts) on Amazonian biodiversity and related ecological processes; as well as to develop a better understanding of forest recovery through time. For this, we have been monitoring a network of 35 study sites distributed along a gradient of human-modified forests, ranging from preserved primary forests (control sites), to disturbed primary forests and also secondary forests in the Santarém region (Pará state), eastern Brazilian Amazon. The results to be obtained through our intensive fieldwork are likely to be of great relevance to environmental public policies in the Brazilian Amazon and, as such, has been followed by a strong component of dissemination to different audiences. PELD-RAS is funded by CNPq-PELD-CAPES (grant code: 441573/2020-7; time span: Mar/2021 to Feb/2024).

PELD-RAS team: Dr. J. Ferreira (PI), Dr. F. França (Vice-Coordinator/ Co-PI), Prof. J. Barlow (Co-PI), Dr. E. Berenguer (Co-PI), Dr. A. Lees (Co-PI), Dr. N. Moura, Dr. T. Gardner, Prof. R. Solar, Dr. L. Aragão, Prof. F. Vaz-de-Mello, Prof. R. Fadini, Dr. L. Anderson, Dr. R. Cosme, Dr. F. Elias, Dr. Raquel Carvalho, MSc. L. Rossi, and MSc. R. Oliveira.


SYNERGIZE: SYNthesising Ecological Responses to deGradation In amaZonian Environments

The SYNERGIZE aims to foster a multi- and trans-disciplinary network to understand how human-driven and climate-associated forest disturbances affect Amazonian aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystem resilience. The project brings together researchers with complementary expertise and uses modelling approaches of large multi-scale datasets pertaining to distinct Amazonian regions to synthesize knowledge and promote cost-effective and integrative solutions for landscape management, biodiversity conservation, and ecosystem recovery. Our specific objectives are to [i] assess the vulnerability of Amazonian terrestrial and freshwater systems to climatic and anthropogenic disturbance; [ii] produce scientific evidence to inform and improve environmental policies and practices for the conservation of the Amazon; and [iii] communicate lessons learned to policymakers, practitioners and wider society. SYNERGIZE is funded by CNPq/MCTIC/Sinbiose (grant code: 442354/2019-3; time span: Jan/2020 to Dec/2021).

SYNERGIZE team: Dr J. Ferreira (PI; Embrapa), Prof. J. Barlow (Co-PI; Lancaster University), Dr F. França (Co-PI; Lancaster University), Dr E. Berenguer (Co-I; University of Oxford/ Lancaster University), Dr A. Lees (Co-I; Manchester Metropolitan University), Dr. R. Carvalho (Embrapa/ Lancaster University), Dr A. Resende (named PostDoc); Prof. L. Castello (Co-I; Virginia Tech), Dr F. Costa (INPA), Prof. O. Phillips (University of Leeds); Dr L. Aragão (INPE); Prof. J. Schietti (UFAM); Prof. L. Juen (UFPA); Prof. V. Isaac (UFPA); Prof. E. Venticinque (UFRN); Dr J. Zuanon (INPA); Dr I. Vieira (MPEG); Prof. H. ter Steege (NBC); Dr C. Leal (USP/ESALQ); Prof. F. Z. Vaz-de-Mello (UFMT); Prof. F. Baccaro (UFAM); and Prof. F.A. Schmidt (UFAC).

Selected media, blogs and news:



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