Maria Fleury '22 Awarded MapBiomas Prize for Innovative Research on Water Availability in the São Francisco River Basin
Maria Fleury, a graduate of the Class of 2022 in Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been awarded the MapBiomas Prize for her pioneering research titled "Changing Water Availability in the São Francisco River Basin, Brazil: Exploring the Role of Expanding Agriculture and Climate change."
Fleury's research, which creatively harnesses MapBiomas data, sheds light on how the combined influences of climate change and large-scale agriculture impact water dynamics. By analyzing data on land-use change, water surface area, and center pivot irrigation, Fleury analyses water availability patterns across the São Francisco River Basin and its sub-basins.
Maria was first introduced to MapBiomas and its platform during a lecture held at Princeton by MapBiomas' coordinator Tasso Azevedo in 2019. After attending the Wintersession worskshop “Safeguarding Amazonia” hosted by the Brazil LAB, she was motivated to use their data for her senior thesis.
"I would like to thank Miqueias Mugge at Princeton’s Brazil LAB for connecting me with the research team at MapBiomas, without whom this research would not have been possible. Carlos Souza and Juliano Schirmback at MapBiomas Água were essential in clarifying all my doubts and supporting me with my extra data requests," said Fleury, acknowledging the collaborative efforts that contributed to her research. “I’m immensely grateful to my thesis advisor Prof. Reed Maxwell who pushed me to find a research topic that truly interested me.”
Fleury's innovative approach advances the understanding of the basin's environmental dynamics and highlights the significance of interdisciplinary collaboration in addressing critical global challenges.