Research Projects by Region

Amazonian Deforestation and the Structure of Households

This 15-year project with Emilio Moran looks at how households manage forest resources in Brazil. The project studies the relationships between demographic change, land-use change and agricultural development in three sites in the Brazilian Amazon. Central to her work is the question of how the changing availability of family labor affects the extent to which farmers clear existing forestland. Recent work suggests that the process of learning and specialization in different activities also helps to explain the variation and timing of land acquisition and forest clearing.

Environmental Outcomes in Mexico and Brazil

Nagavarapu has interdisciplinary projects that examine environmental outcomes in Mexico and Brazil. In Brazil, he looks at the relationship between changes in agricultural prices, wages and forest cover with particular focus on the issue of uses of sugar cane for ethanol. In Mexico, he works with marine biologists Heather Leslie and Sheila Walsh to look at the management of fisheries resources. In particular, the team is examining the extent to which cooperatives can more effectively manage fishing resources through establishment of rights over certain fishing grounds.

Measuring the Social and Environmental Impact of the UHE Belo Monte Dam Complex in Pará, Brazil

In this interdisciplinary and collaborative project, VanWey coordinates a team that includes Andrew Foster and other colleagues from Brown, along with researchers from the Woods Hole Research Center, and Brazilian colleagues from the University of Campinas and the University of São Paulo.  The team will be evaluating the state of the Xingu River near Altamira, Pará, Brazil, before construction begins on what will be the world’s third largest hydroelectric project.

Rates and Drivers of Land Use Land Cover Change in the Agricultural Frontier of Mato Grosso, Brazil

In this new project, VanWey joins Brown Geosciences Professor John Mustard in leading a team of researchers studying agricultural development in Brazil.  The project focuses on the agricultural frontier of Mato Grosso, where there are not only rapid and large-scale land transformations (ex from natural land cover to agriculture, and from pasture to crop), but also the most rapid population growth in the country, the highest human development index in the country, and dramatic economic growth.