Wake Forest establishes research center in the Amazon

The Centro de Innovación Científica Amazónico (CINCIA) has been established through Wake Forest’s Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability (CEES).

Wake Forest has received nearly $10 million in support to establish CINCIA – the largest grant received by the University. The new research center aims to develop transformative solutions to promote sustainable use of tropical landscapes, combat environmental destruction and improve human health in the Amazonian province of Madre de Dios (MDD) in Peru.

CINCIA will be led by the efforts of Wake Forest conservation biologist and CEES director Miles Silman, who will serve as the associate director for science; longtime colleague and a leading expert on mercury in the Amazon Luis Fernandez, who will serve as executive director; and Michelle Klosterman, director of academic development and assessment in the Office of Global Affairs at Wake Forest who will serve as associate director for outreach and communication.

The center will serve as an international hub for Peruvian and foreign scientists and affiliates to collaborate on critical priorities in Madre de Dios – restoration and reforestation, the reduction of human health threats from environmental mercury, detection of deforestation threats, and sustainability.

“The research center is about making sure that the local people and institutions in one of earth’s last best places have the scientific, technical and entrepreneurial capacity to make sustainable decisions on issues from development to public health to governance,” said Silman, who has conducted research in the region for more than 20 years, focusing on understanding biodiversity and the response of forest ecosystems to climate and land use changes over time.

“For me, personally, I feel like we’ve been given a great opportunity and we have a chance to bring our expertise to bear, to help a country-sized region of the Amazon develop sustainably,” said Silman. “Wake Forest houses a lot of expertise that is working to make the world a better place. If ever there was a project we’ve been involved with that embodies the University’s guiding principle of Pro Humanitate, this is it.”

You can read the CINCIA news announcement for more information.