Law as an instrument to regulate people’s actions and relationships in society has always interested me, especially when it comes to the role that law and policies can play on reconciling agricultural development and environmental conservation. Over the past three years I have developed knowledge of public policy across multiple geographic world areas, including Brazil, Europe, and the U.S, seeking to explore how they address the sustainability challenges in agriculture. While serving as a Research Associate at the Energy Biosciences Institute (USA) and developing my master's thesis research at the University of Illinois European Union Center (USA), I conducted legal research on sustainability metrics and agro-environmental-and-energy law and policies that both affect the successful commercialization of sustainable biofuels and promote agricultural multi-functionality.
As a natural extension building on my master’s thesis research and working toward developing a research agenda on comparative law at the nexus of agriculture, environment and energy, my Ph.D. research focuses on the implementation of public conservation policies on private land in Brazil, with an emphasis on the Brazilian Forest Code.
Well-known for its biodiversity and pristine ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest and the Cerrado, Brazil’s uniqueness goes beyond its diverse tropical ecosystems. The country has one of the most comprehensive land conservation laws in the world, the Brazilian Forest Code. By mandating conservation activities for rural private landowners the Forest Code represents a novel approach to balancing agricultural development and environmental protection in a country that has one of the largest and fastest-growing agro-industrial sectors in the world. First enacted in 1934, the Brazilian Forest Code has been recently amended in 2012, after a long and contentious legislative process. Recent changes embody the tension between balancing the stringency of the law’s private land conservation requirements with efforts to narrow historical gaps in compliance. Under the supervision of Dr. Diaz-Chavez and Dr. Jeremy Woods, my research seeks to explore whether and how this new legal framework will deliver promises of making the law more attainable in practice, while ultimately driving environmental sustainability amongst Brazilian agricultural producers.