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Tracking Rapid Landscape Change: An introduction to Geoindicators
The 11th Brazilian Congress of Engineering and Environmental Geology, Florianopolis, Brazil, November 14-16, 2005


A three-day course entitled "Tracking Rapid Landscape Change: an Introduction to Geoindicators" was held during the 11th Brazilian Congress of Engineering and Environmental Geology. This took place in the southern city of Florianopolis, the capital of Santa Catarina State and a popular beach holiday resort. Antony Berger and John Ridgway illustrated the overall geoindicator concept by reviewing surface and groundwater quality, streamflow and floods, sediment sequence and composition, and shoreline position. Presentations were given of applications to assessing the environmental impact of mining, state-of-the-environment reporting, the management of national parks and stream response to engineering works.

Most of the participants were experienced Brazilian geoscientists and engineers who brought local examples to the discussions. Some of the issues concerned plans to divert a major river to provide water to a dry inland region, the contamination of groundwater from extensive pig farms, and the need to repeat environmental impact studies after a project, such as a new road or dam, has been carried out.

Of special interest was a short presentation by Dr. Noris Diniz, who reported on plans to re-start a national geological mapping program after some years in which no new maps were made. As part of this activity, she has been given the responsibility at the Federal Ministry of Mining and Energy of adding geoindicators to the new maps and to the extensive GIS databases which have been compiled to back up this work. The results of a quick scoping exercise carried out during the course to identify important geoindicators of particular importance to Brazil were presented to her as an example of a technique that might be of assistance.

One of the large dune fields of Florianopolis Island. To the right is the Atlantic Ocean from which sand is wind blown towards the lagoon on the left side. Blow-outs are common and roads along the lagoon are often covered by sand.

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