German-Brazilian workshop on research into the environment and water usage in Ouro Preto

Stausee in Nordostbrasilien

Reservoir in north-eastern Brazil

(05/16/13) From 13-16 May 2013, Ouro Preto in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais was the venue for a German-Brazilian workshop on “Environmental Impacts of Mining and Water Usage: Processes, Feedbacks, Impacts”. It was coordinated by Prof. Dr. Axel Bronstert (University of Potsdam) and Prof. Dr. Luiz Palmieer (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais). The workshop was funded jointly by the DFG, the Minas Gerais Research Support Foundation (FAPEMIG) and the Brazilian Federal Agency for the Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES). More than 30 researchers from Brazil, Germany and Spain participated.

The aim of the workshop was to formulate new questions about the effects of multiscale agricultural and mining activity in the catchment area of the Rio São Francisco in Brazil which will become the subject of research in joint German and Brazilian projects.

The Rio São Francisco is considered an ideal area in which to investigate the effects of (agricultural) water usage and mining as large parts of it are home to intensive mining operations and also agricultural usage, resulting in very widespread erosion of the soil and serious contamination of environmental compartments.

Presentations by experts and discussions focussed on multidisciplinary approaches to processes, feedback and the impact of water usage across a number of different geographic and time scales and on the potential for applying innovative multidisciplinary hierarchical approaches to research, integrated measuring processes and model concepts. The workshop was attended by researchers in hydrology, hydraulics, geochemistry, geomorphology, hydrogeology, town and country planning, remote sensing, soil science, vegetation ecology and agricultural sciences.