Dr. Vanesa Rodríguez Osuna

Country of current residence

USA

Current position

Senior Research Associate & Project Manager

Current institute employer

CUNY Advanced Science Research Center, New York, NY

Since

2016

Website current institute
Previous positions

2014 Senior Researcher ZEF

Professional memberships
Profession

Environmental Scientist

Specialisation

Environmental engineer

Degrees / expertise

Dr.rer.nat. (Doctorate in Natural Sciences)

M.Sc. (Master of Science) in Technology and Resource Management in the Tropics and Subtropics.

Major: Land Use in the Tropics and Subtropics

Lic. Ing. (Environmental Engineer)

 

Project Manager (IHK Zertifikat: German Chamber of Industry and Commerce)

Specialisation in Foreign Trade Management (Bolivian Chamber of Industry and Commerce)

Professional experience

Lead Author for the regional assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services for the Americas, , Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)/UNEP, (07/2015-2017)

 

Independent Contractor, Conservation Strategy Fund, Brazil (01/2015-04/2015)

 

Invited Expert, IPBES/UNEP (07-10/14)

 

Senior Researcher, Cologne University of Applied Sciences (05/14-08/15)

 

Independent Contractor, Rare Inc, United States (02/14-05/14)

 

Project Assistant, Sequa gGmbH, Bonn - Germany (10/08-02/09 and 09/09-08/12)

 

Research Fellow, Amazon Initiative International Consortium (IA), Belém-Brasilien (03/09-07/09)

 

Commercialisation, Trade and Natural Resources Expert (GIZ Expert), GTZ /SERNAP (National Service of Protected Areas), La Paz – Bolivia (05/06 – 04/07)

 

Tourist Guide, Anaconda Tours, Madidi National Park, Rurrenabaque, Bolivia (dry season 01-04)

 

Interpreter and translator, Interlock Industries, Wellington, New Zealand (98)

2014

Rodríguez Osuna V., J. Börner, U. Nehren, R.B. Prado, H. Gaese, J. Heinrich. 2014. Priority areas for watershed service conservation in the Guapi-Macacu region of Rio de Janeiro, Atlantic Forest, Brazil. Ecological Processes, 1 (3). (Open Access) Download [PDF | 2.06MB]
Further Information
Rodríguez Osuna, V., Börner, J., Cunha, M.. 2014. Small-Scale Producers, Risk and Climate Change in an Amazonian Municipality. In: Lac, S., McHenry, M.P. (eds.): Climate Change and Forest Ecosystems. Climate change and its causes, effect and prediction. Nova Publishers Inc.. 135-151. Further Information
Rodríguez Osuna, V., J. Börner and M. Cunha. 2014. Scoping adaption needs for smallholders in the Brazilian Amazon: a municipal level case study. Change and Adaptation in Socio-Ecological Systems (CASES), 1: 12-25. (Open Access) Download [PDF | 2.83MB]
Further Information

2013

Rodriguez Osuna, V. 2013. Smallholder Production and Climate Risk: The Lower Amazon Region, Brazil. LAP Lambert Academic Publishing. ISBN 978-3-659-32187-0. Download [PDF | 1.13MB]
Download (english) [PDF | 1.13MB]
Download (german) [PDF | 1.13MB]
Further Information

Prado, R. B., Penedo, S., Schuler A. E., Künne, A., Rodríguez Osuna, V., Paiva, M. H., Ribbe, L.. Avaliação preliminar da qualidade da água em função do manejo agropecuário e cobertura vegetal na microbacia Batatal -Cachoeiras de Macacu – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Forthcoming

Rodríguez Osuna V., Prado R.B., Monteiro J.M.G.,.Gaese H., Börner J., Heinrich J.. Perfil dos sistemas de produção agropecuária: uma visão do produtor rural na sub-bacia de Batatal em Cachoeiras de Macacu, Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Boletim de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento Embrapa Solos, .

Additionals, Curriculum Vitae
and Downloads
Research themes
  • Governance
  • New Technologies
Research countries
  • Brazil
  • Bolivia
Research projects

-Determining Measurement Methodologies for Water Impacts of Global Equities, UBS Sustainable Equities/Asset Management

-Greening environmental impact assessments in Bolivia

-Payments for Watershed Services as a Driver of Climate Compatible Development: What Works and Why, CDKN

-Shaping Environmental Policies for Sustainable Tropical Forest Bioeconomies

-Integrated eco technologies and services for a sustainable Rural Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (INTECRAL)

-Climate change, landscape dynamics, land use and natural resources in the Atlantic Forest of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (DINARIO)

-Small-scale producers’ adaptation to climate risk in the Brazilian Amazon: Promoting knowledge-to-action through collaboration in research and technical cooperation, Brazil

-Management of Nature Preserves and Buffer Zones (MAPZA), Bolivia

Professional experience

Lead Author for the regional assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services for the Americas, , Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)/UNEP, (07/2015-2017)

 

Independent Contractor, Conservation Strategy Fund, Brazil (01/2015-04/2015)

 

Invited Expert, IPBES/UNEP (07-10/14)

 

Senior Researcher, Cologne University of Applied Sciences (05/14-08/15)

 

Independent Contractor, Rare Inc, United States (02/14-05/14)

 

Project Assistant, Sequa gGmbH, Bonn - Germany (10/08-02/09 and 09/09-08/12)

 

Research Fellow, Amazon Initiative International Consortium (IA), Belém-Brasilien (03/09-07/09)

 

Commercialisation, Trade and Natural Resources Expert (GIZ Expert), GTZ /SERNAP (National Service of Protected Areas), La Paz – Bolivia (05/06 – 04/07)

 

Tourist Guide, Anaconda Tours, Madidi National Park, Rurrenabaque, Bolivia (dry season 01-04)

 

Interpreter and translator, Interlock Industries, Wellington, New Zealand (98)

Degrees

Dr.rer.nat. (Doctorate in Natural Sciences)

M.Sc. (Master of Science) in Technology and Resource Management in the Tropics and Subtropics.

Major: Land Use in the Tropics and Subtropics

Lic. Ing. (Environmental Engineer)

 

Project Manager (IHK Zertifikat: German Chamber of Industry and Commerce)

Specialisation in Foreign Trade Management (Bolivian Chamber of Industry and Commerce)

Funding institutions

German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF):IPSWAT Programme Scholarship for a PhD Degree;

 

Scholarship from the Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation (BMZ)-DAAD Scholarship for a M.Sc. Degree;

 

Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF)/USAID Scholarship for Trainee in Economic Tools for Conservation and Natural Resource Management

Thesis title

Targeting watershed protection in the Guapiaçu-Macacu region of the Atlantic Forest, Brazil: An environmental and economic assessment of the potential for a payment for ecosystem services scheme

Thesis abstract

Land-use intensification and urbanisation processes are degrading ecosystem services in

the Guapiaçu-Macacu watershed in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Paying farmers to

forgo agricultural production activities in order to restore natural watershed services might

be a viable means of securing water resources over the long term for the approximately

2.5 million urban water users in the region. This study quantified the costs of changing

current land-use patterns to enhance watershed services. These costs are compared to

estimates of the avoided water treatment costs for the public potable water supply as a

proxy of willingness-to-pay for watershed services. Farm-household data was used to

estimate the opportunity costs of abandoning current land uses in order to allow natural vegetation succession; a process that is very likely to improve water quality in terms of reducing erosion and subsequently water turbidity. Opportunity cost estimates were extrapolated to the watershed scale based on land-use classifications and a vulnerability analysis for identifying priority areas for watershed management interventions. Water

quality and treatment cost data from the primary local water treatment plant (principal water user in the study area) were analysed to assess the potential demand for watershed

services.

The conversion of agricultural land uses for the benefit of watershed service provision was

found to entail high opportunity costs in the study area, which is near the city of Rio de

Janeiro. Alternative, relatively low-cost practices that support watershed conservation do

exist for the livestock production systems. Other options include: implementing soil

conservation techniques, permanent protection of areas that are vulnerable to erosion,

protecting and restoring riparian and headwater areas, and applying more sustainable

agricultural practices. These measures have the potential to directly reduce the amount of

sediment and nutrients reaching water bodies and, in turn, decrease the costs of

treatment required for providing the potable water supply.

Based on treatment costs, the state water utility company’s willingness-to-pay for

watershed services alone will not be sufficient to compensate farmers for forgoing

agricultural production activities in order to improve the provision of additional watershed

services. The results suggest that the opportunity costs of land-cover changes at the scale

needed to improve water quality will likely exceed the cost of additional investments in

water treatment.

Monetary incentives conditioned on specific adjustments to existing production systems

could offer a complementary role for improving watershed services. The willingness-topay

analysis, however, only focused on chemical treatment costs and one of a potentially

wide range of ecosystem services provided by the natural vegetation in the Guapiaçu-

Macacu watershed (water quality maintenance for potable water provision). Other

ecosystem services provided by forest cover include carbon sequestration and storage,

moderation of extreme weather events, regulation of water flows, landscape aesthetics,

and biodiversity protection. Factoring these additional ecosystem services into the willingness-to-pay equation is likely to change the conclusions of the assessment in favour

of additional conservation action, either through payments for ecosystem services (PES)

or other policy instruments.

This effort contributes to the growing body of related scientific literature by offering

additional knowledge on how to combine spatially explicit economic and environmental

information to provide valuable insights into the feasibility of implementing PES schemes

at the scale of entire watersheds. This is relevant to helping inform decision-making

processes with respect to the economic scope of incentive-based watershed management

in the context of the Guapiaçu-Macacu watershed. Furthermore, the findings of this

research can serve long-term watershed conservation initiatives and public policy in other

watersheds of the Atlantic Forest biome by facilitating the targeting of conservation

incentives for a cost-effective watershed management.

Vanesa Rodríguez Osuna

Former Senior Researcher

Former Department:
ZEF C: Department of Ecology and Natural Resources Management