Down to Earth

LFS Sessional Lecturer and Research Associate Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown

“I look at soil and water and how it affects – and how it’s affected by – the way we use and manage land,” said Brown, sessional lecturer and research associate in our Soil Sciences program.

Brown works in land and water resource management in mountain regions within Canada and internationally. From 2002 to 2008, she worked in Cali, Colombia on a joint research project between UBC and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture. She joined LFS in 2008 and continues to focus on South American-based research projects, including an eight-year integrated watershed management project in Nicaragua with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the goal of which is to build local capacity and provide tools for better watershed management.

“We’re helping rural Nicaraguan communities identify their priority issues and developing plans from farm scale to watershed and working with farmer organizations to improve land management and protect water supplies,” she added.

In 2011, Brown began working with Colombian partners on a three-year project focusing the role of water governance in adaptation to climate change (funded by IDRC). She will work with the team on the generation and use of information at the local scale to support management.

“Communities in the Andes Mountains typically have very limited water storage and depend on ecosystems for their water supply, making them vulnerable to shortages,” she said. “A municipality can try to make management decisions to address water quality and supply problems but science is needed to support those decisions, to see if existing practices really work, and to develop alternative strategies.”

Brown was recently awarded a University Sustainability Initiative Teaching and Learning grant that will allow her to incorporate more sustainability issues into her courses.

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