Research Staff

I. Foster Brown, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist
Woods Hole Research Center
149 Woods Hole Road
Falmouth, MA 02540-1644

Dr. Brown is an environmental geochemist whose research interests focus on global environmental change and sustainable development in the southwestern Amazon Basin. He coordinates the Center's program dealing with climate change and land use in the trinational southwestern Amazonia. Dr. Brown spent over twenty years as a faculty member of the Graduate Program in Environmental Geochemistry at the Federal Fluminense University in Niteroi, Brazil, and is currently on the faculty of the Federal University of Acre, Brazil. He earned his doctorate in environmental geochemistry at Northwestern University.


Ph.D. - Northwestern University
1981, Department of Geological Sciences

M.S. - Northwestern University
1979, Department of Geological Sciences

B.A. - Amherst College
1973, Independent Scholar

Professional Experience

  • 1987 - present: Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Research Center
  • 1996 - present: Professor, Graduate Program in Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Federal University of Acre (UFAC), Rio Branco, Brazil
  • 1981 - 2002: Associate Professor, Graduate Program in Geochemistry, Federal Fluminense University (UFF), Niteroi, RJ, Brazil

Research Interests

Generating knowledge of global environmental change, particularly in the areas of land use and climate change, so that regional societies can decide their future.

Selected publications

Shimabukuro, Y. E., V. Duarte, E. Arai, R.M. Freitas, A. Lima, D. Valeriano, I.F. Brown and M., Maldonado. 2009. Fraction images derived from Terra Modis data for mapping burnt areas in Brazilian Amazonia. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 30: 1537-1546

Brown, I. F. 2008. Learning to question: the roles of multiple hypotheses, successive approximations, balloons and toilet paper in university science programs of southwestern Amazonia. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 17: 236-241.

Marengo, J. C. Nobre, J. Tomasella, M. Oyama, G., Sampaio de Oliveira, R. de Oliveira, H. Camargo, L. Alves, and I.F. Brown. 2008. The drought of Amazonia in 2005. Journal of Climate, 21: 495-516.

Brklacich, M, I.F. Brown, E. Campos, A. Krusche, A. Lavell, K. Liu, J. Jimenez-Osornio, S. Reyes-Knoche, and C. Wood, C. 2007. Stakeholders and global environmental change science. In Linking the Sciences of Global Environmental Change to Society and Policy, edited by Tiessen, H.; Brklacich, M.; Breulmann, G. and Menzes, R.. Washington, D.C.: Island Press

Brown, I. F., W. Schroeder, A. Setzer, M. Maldonado, N. Pantoja, A. Fonseca and J. Marengo. 2006. Monitoring fires in southwestern Amazonia rain forests. EOS Transactions. American Geophysical Union, 87: 253,264.

Brown, I.F. S. Brilhante, E. Mendoza, and I. Oliveira. 2002. The highway from Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil to Pacific ports: How to maximize the benefits and minimize the adverse impacts for sustainable development of southwestern Amazonia. Encuentro Internacional de Intergracion Regional - Bolívia, Brasil y Peru. Arequipa, Peru, 2 a 4 de setembro de 2001 Editora CEPEI (Centro Peruano de Estudios Internacionales) Lima. In Portuguese.

Brown, I.F., K. Kainer, A.S. Alechandre, and E.F. do Amaral, 2001. The role of extractive reserves in the biogeochemistry of the Amazon basin. In: McClain, M., R. Victoria, and J. Richey. (eds.) The Biogeochemistry of the Amazon Basin. Oxford University Press, New York. 122-138.

Carvalho, F.M.M. and I.F. Brown. 1996. Polarization of biotic and economic wealth: the world, the tropics, and Brazil. International Journal of Environment and Pollution 6(2): 160-171.

Brown, I.F., L. Martinelli, W. Thomas, M.Z. Moreira, C.A.C. Ferreira, and R.A. Victoria. 1995. Uncertainty in the biomass of Amazonian forests: an example from Rondônia, Brazil. Forest Ecology and Management 75: 175-189.

Brown, I.F., A. Alechandre, H.S.Y. Sassagawa and M. A. de Aquino. 1995. Empowering local communities in land-use management: The Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve, Acre, Brazil. Cultural Survival Quarterly. Winter: 54-57.

Brown, I.F., B. Turcq, and A. Alechandre. 1995. Teaching concepts of accuracy, precision, and opportunity cost in environmental sciences: arms, legs, and significant figures. Ciéncia e Cultura 47 (1/2): 41-44.

Brown, I.F., D. Irvine, T. Macdonald, N. Gonzalez and I. Bastidas. 1992. Applications of geochemistry and training programs for indigenous land-use planning in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Interciéncia 17(5): 284-292.

Brown, I.F., D.C. Nepstad, I. Pires, L. Luz and A. Alechandre. 1992. Carbon storage and land-use in extractive reserves, Acre, Brazil. Environmental Conservation. 19(4): 307- 315.

Achievements and Awards

  • 2006. Honorary Citizen of Acre, Brazil. Proclamation by the Acre State Legislature.
  • 2006. Recognition by the Public Ministry of Acre of contribution during the drought and fires of 2005.
I. Foster Brown