What do you enjoy most/what do you find most interesting about your research topic?
The Atlantic Forest is an important biodiversity hotspot that is in urgent need of reforestation. Only around 15% of the original area remains, and it is very fragmented and disconnected. The thing that makes this project different is that a rigorous monitoring scheme has been designed to study how mammals respond to the reforestation actions in REGUA, Rio de Janeiro State. Understanding how mammals use these new habitats is important ecological information. We will provide these data to the stakeholders in the reforestation effort, so they will be able to better manage these areas.
How does citizen science support your research?
Citizen scientists are an important work force in controlled monitoring study efforts. Once good people have joined and are trained on the fieldwork, we can collect much more data that we would have been able to otherwise. This information is very important to ecological and reforestation sciences. In this sense, anyone who wants a future with more trees and understanding, and with less intolerance and violence are the perfect people to help me study mammal ecology and save the Atlantic Forest.
What is one of your favorite moments in the field?
The best moment in the field, as an ecologist, is when you release a marked animal into the field and you can visually follow the animal walking sneaky through their natural habitat. When the work is done and all measurements are taken, the animal is healthy and often calm, and they start to recognize and track their natural habitat. A simple ear tag will allow us to get the most trustworthy data to estimate population sizes.
Another great feeling is putting your hand in the soil, filling your hands with dirt and mud, to plant trees for a better future for the planet.