Abstract accepted for presentation at the Routes 2018 Symposium

Dr. Shaw Lacy’s abstract on “What defines a river? Modelling the interplay between physical and social driving factors in characterising the waterways in Chile” was accepted for oral presentation at the Routes towards Sustainability 2018 Symposium, whose theme is “Cultures and local practices of sustainability: Intersecting multiple footprints and the environmental humanities” in Session 1: The Environmental Humanities, which is described as:

Life as we know it can be sustained only if we understand and significantly mitigate the forms of pressure relentlessly exerted on our planet. Although innumerable scientific measurements and alarming reports have been produced, the impact of humans on Earth remains massive. Scientific reports per se fail if they remain disconnected from rhetorical, political, social, cultural, and affective forms through which climate change is experienced and figured by diverse communities.

At the Puerto de Ideas Festival in 2014 Bruno Latour proposed that scientists, artists, and social agents bring together a “composition”, the only feasible mode of conveying messages that can permeate our imaginaries, help us take responsibility for the global crisis, introduce cultural changes, and stimulate creative relationships with the environment. Such composition can be achieved by means of interdisciplinary collaborations. Latour’s metaphor of composition is on e that suggests how the environmental humanities can go forward.

This panel, dedicated to innovative dialogues among the humanities, the arts, and ecological sciences, will serve as a platform for creative and critical thinking that can inspire cultural changes.

The Symposium will be held between the Casa Central and Villarrica Campus of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile from 10 to 14 December, 2018.

Journal Article Published

Dr. Shaw Lacy has published research in The Geographical Journal, together with Prof. Luca Mao (University of Lincoln, formerly at the Departamento de Ecosistemas y Medio Ambiente), and Prof. Piergiorgio Digiminiani (Programa de Antropología) titled, “What Defines a River? Modelling the interplay between physical and social driving factors in characterizing the waterways in Chile.” The article is available at DOI: 10.1111/geoj.12262. The research examines the ways in which Chilean rivers are categorized from the arid north, through the Mediterranean center, to the subpolar south of the country.

Although climate, topography, and geology can create a large spectrum of waterways, societies have categorized this variety of waterways into different categories, with “river” (río) generally being determined as the largest set of waterways in an area. However, this is a highly relative definition, and fails to adequately account for the variety of ways in which climates can shape hydrological regimes. Indeed, Chile presents a great example in which to examine the ways in which society and climate have mixed together to define the narrow waterway of the Lluta in Northern Chile as “río” even though its active channel is narrower than even an average sized estero in the Biobío basin.


Graphical Abstract

The categorization of natural landscape features places a socialized and ordered lens on the landscape. In the case of natural waterways, it creates a regional hydrologic vocabulary, based in physical processes and cultural history. This study uses the unique combination of hydrological and cultural characteristics found in Chile to determine the degree to which local waterway classifications of waterways as rivers (río in Spanish) provides insights to the cultural role in perceiving and describing such important landscape elements. The results indicate that waterway classification is strongly influenced by different regional cultural perspectives, which are also affected by their regional climates and specific historical processes of cartographic systematization and nation-making. This variety of hydrologic vocabularies presents distinct zones of waterway classification throughout Chile, with implications of these differences affecting territorial planning, water management, and even international relations.


Seminario Internacional: Advances and Challenges for Technology Use in Climate Smart Agriculture

Invitamos al seminario internacional “Advances and Challenges for Technology Use in Climate Smart Agriculture”  colaboración entre Washington State University y la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. El director del laboratorio, Dr. Francisco Meza,  estará dictando la charla “Building Climate Smart And Resilient Agriculture in Chile”.

Fecha: 15 marzo de 2018

Lugar: Auditorio Facultad de Agronomía en Ingeniería Forestal. Vicuña Mackenna 4860; Macul.

Inscripciones: Arlene Castro aacastros@uc.cl +56223544137


Seminario - WSU-FAIF_Agenda.png

Sobre los expositores visitantes:

Claudio Stokle (https://bsyse.wsu.edu/people/faculty/stockle/)

Dr. Claudio Stöckle’s research is in the Land, Air, Water Resources and Environmental Engineering (LAWREE) research emphasis area. His focus is on the development and application of analytical tools to study, understand and manage the interaction between soil, weather, and crops. He is particularly interested in modeling the environmental impact of agricultural production at the field and water shed levels and in further enhancement and support of the Agricultural Crop Systems Modeling Software (CropSyst) he as developed.

Lav Khot (https://bsyse.wsu.edu/people/faculty/khot/)

Dr. Khot works in the Agricultural Automation Engineering  research emphasis area of the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. His research and extension program focuses on “Sensing and automation technologies for site specific and precision management of production agriculture”. Special emphasis is towards integration of

  • Remote Sensing (Unmanned and Manned Aerial Systems)
  • Ground-based (Proximal) Crop Sensing
  • Decision Support Systems and Information Delivery Technologies
  • Precise Applications of various Production Inputs
  • Agricultural Machinery and Processes
  • Data-based Modeling

Troy Peters (https://bsyse.wsu.edu/people/faculty/peters/)

Research and Teaching Interests

Troy’s research work is in the Land, Air, Water Resources, and Environmental Engineering (LAWREE) emphasis area.  His primary focus is on agricultural irrigation.  This includes deficit irrigation, irrigation water hydraulics, irrigation scheduling and management, irrigation automation, irrigation water quality, and crop water use estimation.  Troy is located at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, WA, and is also affiliated with the Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems.

Melanie Oertel at Water Security and Climate Change Conference 2017

Melanie Oertel presented her ongoing research on drought propagation at the Water Security and Climate Change Conference 2017 , which was held in Cologne (Germany). The title of the presented work is: “Propagation of Drought in Semi-Arid River Basins in the Americas, Revisiting the Report of Changnon (1987)”. Understanding propagation patterns in a river basin serves to improve drought management, and to identify early warning signals. Results are currently prepared to be published as a paper, meanwhile the abstract can be found here [abstract].


Key messages of the Conference are summarized in the Cologne Declaration, facing challenges on e.g. nexus-thinking, human migration, and nature based solutions.

Proyecto sobre Integración de Modelos de Simulación de Cultivos e Imágenes Satelitales generará información clave para el pronóstico de rendimientos, uso de agua y evaluación de impactos del cambio climático.


En esta iniciativa se busca adaptar y asimilar información sobre el crecimiento y desarrollo de cultivos y el uso de agua que pueden tener frente a distintas condiciones ambientales. Con esto se dispondrá de información clave para el desarrollo de predictores de rendimiento y de evaluación de impactos y medidas de adaptación frente al cambio climático. Los cultivos modelos serán: Maiz, Papa y Vid. A través del proyecto se colaborará con las Universidades de Washington State, el Joint Research Center de la Unión Europea y la Universidad Austral, además de una activa colaboración con la Escuela de Ingeniería en un proyecto Fondecyt sobre uso de Scintilómetros.

2017-09-29 11.08.00

El trabajo implica la medición y registros fenológicos de especies en terreno y con imágenes de satélite, el monitoreo del intercambio de gases (CO2 y H2O) y la evolución del índice de área foliar y la modelación de cultivos con el software CropSyst.

El proyecto ofrece la posibilidad de realizar tesis de magister y de residencias de pregrado. Interesados en unirse a este equipo de trabajo interdisciplinario y de aportar en este proyecto contactar el profesor Francisco Meza (fmeza@uc.cl tel 223544137)