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Clara Roa-Garcia

Name: Clara Roa-Garcia    Degree: PhD Candidate (Associated scholar)

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I am PhD student of the Soil Science Program at the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC. I am interested in the field of environmental research in areas where the results can improve people lives. My research is focusing in the role of two different types of soils in the Colombian Andes (Inceptisols and Andisols) and the influence of land management in water regulation. I am comparing two watersheds of the central and western branches of the Andean moutains in Colombia. These watersheds are the sources of water for rural communities, but knowledge about soil characteristics in tropical zones and its relation with water regulation capacity is scarce. Because soils are the largest pool in the terrestrial water cycle and Andean communities are largely dependent on the capacity of soils to regulate water, this research is crucial for climate change adaptation and food security strategies. This theme is of current relevance in Colombia, because the Andean region suffers from water scarcity and floods related to climatic variability, with resulting economic and health consequences. I believe that researchers have the responsibility to involve the community where they are working, and to communicate their methods and results, so that the knowledge can be appropriated and applied to improve life conditions. I have utilized participatory research approaches since I began working in research in 2005 with my M.Sc. thesis. Today, with the power of web communication, is easier to reach a wider public, and researchers have more opportunities to influence policy makers and practices, communicating science using simple language and communication tools. This internship is an opportunity to learn web communications tools, which I can apply not only for my PhD, but for different projects today and in the future. My plan after completing my PhD studies is to work at an environmental research institution or at a university within Colombia. I am interested in soil-water relations for food security and water availability, climate change adaptation strategies, promoting educational and poverty alleviation in South America. I believe this opportunity is a great start in learning new communication possibilities for science that benefit local communities and authorities, tools that can have an impact in other regions and that these new tools will accompany me in my research career. Clara Roa-Garcia launches website for watershed communities

Thesis Topic: Focusing in the role of two different types of soils in the Colombian Andes (Inceptisols and Andisols) and the influence of land management in water regulation

Supervisor: Dr. Maja Krzic


Roa-García M.C. Brown S. Schreier H. 2011. The role of land use and soils in regulating water flow in small headwater catchments of the Andes. Water Resources Research Vol 47: doi:10.1029/2010WR009582



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