December 11, 2016

Bahia student wins environmental award in Spain


Janielle Souza Pereira, graduate student in Agricultural and Environmental Engineering at the Universidade Federal do Vale do São Francisco, or UNIVASF (Federal University of the San Francisco Valley), received the International Prize for Forest Fires research, awarded at a ceremony in Spain. Janielle is a Seventh-day Adventist and attends the church of Santo Antônio, in Juazeiro, north of Bahia.

"Effect of Controlled Burning on the Physical, Chemical and Microbiological Aspects of Soil"

She presented her studies in Spain through the Science without Frontiers project, a program of the Brazilian federal government that seeks to promote the consolidation, expansion and internationalization of science and technology in the country. Janielle won the corresponding award for best graduate work with the research "Effect of Controlled Burning on the Physical, Chemical and Microbiological Aspects of Soil," conducted under the direction of David Badía, a professor at the Polytechnic School of Huesca, University of Zaragoza, in Spain. The award is an initiative of FPC, an international foundation of studies on the ecology of fire and fire management.

The project involved two components: the written part was held in Brazil, while the presentation took place in Spain. "I was surprised and very honored at the same time for winning the prize. Today I see that it was worth every second spent in the laboratory, in the field and every night lost. God was very good to me," Janielle said.

Through its website, the University of Zaragoza spoke about the study. The publication pointed out that the research served to present "the effects caused by the loss of plant cover and organic matter after a fire, which is manifested in the reduction of dry soil water, retention capacity, nutrient volatilization or reduced microbial population," the site described.

In Brazil, where burnings by rural producers are still common to prepare the land for planting, Janielle's study can contribute reconsideration of this practice, particularly concerning economic issues. The research serves as an alert on the damage caused by fires, not only for biodiversity and the ecosystem, but also for soil erosion, air quality and other environmental damage.