21 Mar

Joana Canelas: new master dissertation on Land-Use Intensity and Stability of Ecosystems

Joana Canelas presented her Master Dissertation entitled “Land-Use Intensity and Stability of Ecosystems”, on the 21th of March, 2014. The master dissertation was approved by the jury composed by Tiago Domingos (IST), Henrique Pereira (FCUL, supervisor), and Jorge Louçã (ISCTE-IUL).

Many organisms modify the surrounding environment in order to enhance the availability of resources, although the scale by which human societies do so is unprecedented. Through an ecological network model, we address the relation between ecosystem’s complexity, stability and productivity and how it is affected by land-use intensity, measured as the removal of biomass through harvest. We test different harvest intensities and distributions among species in order to assess the impact of land-use intensity in the ecosystem’s local stability, total biomass remaining and number of species extinctions. We found that land-use intensity triggers a decrease in the frequency of local stable communities. In this regard, our results support the hypothesis that a biomimetic harvest configuration could meet a rising food demand while halting biodiversity loss.

After concluding our Master in Complexity Sciences, Joana got a position of Research Associate at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig. More recently, she obtained a grant from the University of Kent for developing PhD research on Biodiversity Management, at the School of Anthropology and Conservation (University of Kent).