What We're Doing:
The Research Project:
The research being conducted by the team involves looking at the distribution of medicinal plants in the rainforest and seeing how climate change and deforestation are affecting this. This scientific initiative will be taught as part of a national outreach program in schools, at science festivals and other public events following the expedition.
From July until August, Deepesh Patel will visit the United Nation's Environment Program's Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal, Canada, and then visit the Peruvian Amazon. He will research into medicinal plants through the CREES Foundation at the Manu Learning Centre and Refugio Romero Rainforest. This will represent a sample of secondary distrubed and primary forest respectively.
Deepesh has been awarded a grant from the CREES Foundation's Amazon Scholarship Programme and a fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. As an undergraduate Natural Scientist (Environmental Biology) at Durham University, he is fully aware of the issues of deforestation and the extent to which untouched Amazonian Rainforest is being lost, regenerated or reforested.
The research will explore the diversity and distribution of medicinal plants in tropical rainforests. He will use diameter at breast height (DBH) studies along several transects in the pristine and degraded forests based within the Manu Biosphere Reserve. The study will explore how climate change and human impact (logging, environmental degradation) play a role in medical plant distribution and health. Data from the research will be complemented by sociological valuations of medicinal plants from a local (indigenous community) perspective.
Objectives of the Research Project:
- Increase our understanding of diversity and distribution of medicinal plants.
- Research the biodiversity and distribution of medicinal plants
- Study the uses of medicinal plants amongst indigenous people
- Teach and promote the importance of plants as natural remedies and broaden public understanding of plant science research
The project has value because it is a baseline study that can be replicated and thus expanded easily. Not only will this scientific project cohere with specific ethnobotanical research but also engage people from a range of fields: pharmaceuticals, economists, climate change specialists and governments. The easy-to-grasp nature of the project will make a great platform to communicate messages to a wider audience. The expedition will undertake to offset all of its emissions, through a local project in the Manu Biosphere Reserve.
What We Do For You:
One of the primary objectives of Canopy to Cures is to engage people from a variety of backgrounds into STEM subjects. The objective is to show others that science is a lot more exciting and diverse than it is generally perceived. By representing a generation of young scientists, Raghd and Deepesh hope to break barriers between scientists and young people, particularly by targeting people from non-scientific backgrounds. We will be undertaking outreach in County Durham, Cheltenham, Bournemouth, Bradford and Cambridge upon return from the Peruvian Amazon.
Contact us to get in touch about one of the team coming to visit your school.
At Science Festivals:
At science festivals and educational events Canopy to Cures will raise awareness that medicines are present in the rainforest. Above and beyond this, it is imperative to motivate people into science through highlighting one of the major world problems: deforestation. Such outreach projects will show young people in a simple way how medicines are derived and tested for their medicinal properties. The exhibitions will also show how medicines can be adjusted and modified to overcome problems such as side effects on a molecular scale.
Through Public Outreach Programmes:
Although not yet fully developed, Canopy to Cures' possibilities for public outreach programmes, through events, conferences, universities and such, are diverse. If you have any ideas or suggestions, or wish to talk to us about coming to your organization, contact one of the team.