Charcoal making as a driver of oak forests degradation in Mexico: beyond changes in aboveground biomass.

The proposed research project integrates forestrygenetics, and archival science, and could throw new light on environmental impacts of traditional charcoal production.

Timeframe: 2020-2024

Description:

We are looking for two highly motivated persons willing to pursue a PhD in earth sciences at UNAM.

The management of woodlands for traditional charcoal production is often considered renewable in the sense that the pace at which wood is being harvested is balanced with the rate of natural regrowth, especially when managed species re-sprout readily, such as acacias or oaks. Many oaklands across Mexico are a good example of this. For the past years we found evidence that charcoal making is not affecting aboveground biomass in the short run or at least is not easily detectable. However, current management practices prevent sexual reproduction (slower stand regrowth) in favor of asexual re-sprouting of stumps (faster stand regrowth). It would be expected that oaklands being managed for at least the last two centuries, will have lower genetic diversity as compared to similar patches that remained mostly untouched until much more recently. The research integrates forestry, genetics, and archival science, and could throw new light on less visible environmental impacts of traditional charcoal production.

Candidate mandatory requirements:

  • Be fluent in Spanish and English, as candidates will spend time in Morelia, Mexico and Vancouver, Canada, working and writing in collaboration with people who do not necessarily speak English or Spanish.
  • Dominar el español y el inglés, ya que los candidatos pasarán un tiempo en Morelia, México y otro en Vancouver, Canadá, trabajando y escribiendo en colaboración con personas que no necesariamente hablan inglés o español.

Candidate Preferred requirements:

  • Have experience in forestry, genetics, or archival science

Application and selection process: