The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week recognized the research of Rachel Chelsea Nagy, a doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology, with a Science to Achieve Results (STAR) award. Nagy studies the complex interplay between farming and forest management in Brazil, where the environmental services of the forests include storing carbon that would otherwise contribute to global warming. “The Brazilian economy is growing rapidly and the country must balance economic development with conservation and restoration of tropical forests,” Nagy said. “How does the surrounding agricultural land use influence the structure, composition, and health of the remaining riparian forests and what ecosystem services do these forests provide? As the Brazilian government revises its national Forest Code, my research will inform the discussion on the consequences of reducing the mandated riparian buffer width.” The EPA award of $126,000 will help her answer such key questions.

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