Karen DeMatteo is a biologist that has used a broad range of techniques to understand basic biology and ecological interactions that occur at both the species and community level. For the majority of the year, she can be found at Washington University in St. Louis teaching courses on the applications and use of GIS (Geographic Information System) for the Environmental Studies Program. The rest of the year, she can be found applying these spatial mapping techniques and genetic analyses to data collected with conservation detection dogs in Misiones, Argentina, as a co-Director of Proyecto Zorro Pitoco. In addition to this research focused at conserving the largest fragment of Atlantic forest, she is involved with directing hands-on training courses with Argentinean students, securing the participation of private landowners in the biological corridor, and supporting the anti-poaching efforts of provincial park guards.
Topic brief: This talk will highlight ongoing efforts to conserve the largest remnant of Atlantic forest, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. While, the province of Misiones occupies only 1% of Argentina’s surface, it is classified as the nation’s capital of biodiversity. However, 50% of the region’s unique ecosystem is unprotected, in a fragmented landscape matrix, and in one of the country’s poorest provinces. Using a collaborative, multipronged, bottom-up approach there is hope to stop the loss of native forest, protect watersheds, promote reforestation, improve human health, and ensure long-term survival of its flora and fauna.