Why a course in Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation at UESC?

The State University of Santa Cruz (UESC) has a long history with projects and actions towards biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. Despite being a relatively new university, UESC has always had an important institutional role in practically all actions and strategies related to biodiversity conservation in southern Bahia, be it through governmental demand (federal, state and municipal) or organized society (NGOs). The main contribution UESC has made in this process has been the technical referral of these actions, providing society and government with the information obtained through research, as well as actions from extension projects together with the community.

The Post Graduate Course in Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation is a natural result of this process, coming from our commitment with environmental research. With this course, the university hopes to form a critical mass to act within the ecology field, and to continuously expand our acting scale within biodiversity conservation.

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Serra da Capivara, northeastern Brazil, 6000 years ago. Human presence in the Americas is reported through archaeological remains, of which the most impressive are by far the rock paintings found in several caves at the Serra da Capivara National Park, southern state of Piaui. And what does that have to do with ecology and biodiversity conservation? Well, everything!

Through those paintings, pre-historic civilizations could document their everyday life, and essentially how they interacted with their environment and natural resources. Like every other species in the planet, the hunter-gatherer man depended in animals such as reptiles and mammals for their survival. More importantly, these images make clear the fundamental differences between humans and other animals - the technological ability to use primitive weapons as hunting gear.

The symbolic image of a primitive man wielding his spear surrounded by various elements of his environment is a reference to the clear importance of nature’s balance and its impact in primitive populations. The study of Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation helps us understand important questions deriving from this consumer-resource relation recorded in the early Amerindian civilization, in the flat lands today occupied my Brazil’s caatinga territory.