NEEDS - Spatial ecology and sustainable development group

For publications, please see: Publicações

The English version is under construction:


Prospective Graduate Students

I am a permanent professor at the Postgraduate Program in Environmental Sciences at UFSCar (São Carlos campus) in the research line: Landscape Management and Geosciences.

If you are interested in pursuing a masters or doctorate under my supervision, I am always open to receive new students. Please contact me via my email martensen (at) to schedule an appointment.



The Center for Spatial Ecology and Sustainable Development Studies (NEEDS) aims to develop research based on spatial ecology focused on biodiversity conservation, maintenance of ecosystem services and sustainable development.

Our focus is on the Alto Paranapanema basin, where the Lagoa do Sino campus is located. In the region we seek partnerships with local governments, companies, government institutions and NGOs in order to be able to apply the results of our research towards biodiversity conservation.

In addition, one of our priorities is raising awareness and capacity building on environmental conservation issues, particularly those involving spatial issues such as habitat loss and fragmentation. For this we give lectures and courses in various regions for lay people and professionals.


Governing the Atlantic Forest transition: Improving our knowledge on forest recovery for ecosystem services (FAPESP/NWO - The Netherlands) 

The historical decline of Atlantic Forest area in Brazil has now transitioned into a modest forest increase. The underlined voluntary nature of reforestation activities by landscape actors poses a large challenge to reforestation policy goals, since the vast agricultural areas in the state of Sao Paulo have a strong restorative effect on land rent prices. This makes reforestation highly expensive and as a result, mainly marginal land and degraded pasture land are restored. This will not always generate the desire effects in terms of biodiversity conservation and the provision of other ecosystem services. 

In the context of a landscape approach, governance of ecosystem services requires the creation of shared rules among landscape actors that should lead to fair and sustainable use of ecosystem services. Rules can include incentives, but the relations between services and their perceived (economic) values may not scale linearly, jeopardizing the marginal benefits payment systems might achieve. Payments may also cause conflicts among actors and can lead to leakage effects. To improve the effectiveness of restoration strategies, the enabling policy environments for payments of ecosystem services need to be improved and will be studied in detail. 

With increasing reforestation, the ecosystem processes and services may not be fully restored. Services are likely to be heterogeneously distributed in both space and time. Very often, spatial-temporal trade-offs are found among the various services provided by forests. To date, empirical evidence on the temporal and spatial distribution of ecosystem services delivered by reforestation and their trade-offs is largely unavailable, but new frameworks to study forest dynamics have been developed on which we will build further. We will adequately measure and model ecosystem services distributions to support landscape governance.

The project will therefore address the socio-ecological systems that drive forest change and the spatial distribution of ecosystem services in the landscape. The enabling policy environments will be assessed to develop proper incentives for forest restoration and provision of ES.




I am Assistant Professor C - I at the Federal University of São Carlos, on the Lagoa do Sino campus, where I teach at the Biological Sciences, Environmental Engineering and Agronomic Engineering courses.

The Lagoa do Sino campus was conceived from the guiding principles “Sustainable Territorial Development”, “Food Security” and “Family Farming”. These axes address issues that are important to the campus territory that are closely related to the courses I teach. 

Moreover, on our campus the courses work in an innovative way, where the contents (here we call them “Mesocontent”) are presented in thematic axes and in a totally integrated way, both within and between axes. 

For the Biological Sciences I teach Landscape Ecology and Restoration Ecology (EMA 3, Ecology and Environment for the 3rd year), Environmental Legislation (DTS 3, Development, Technology and Society for the 3rd year), Geoprocessing (CET 3, Exact and Earth Sciences for 3rd Year), Environmental Planning and Zoning (CET 4, for 4th Year), and Natural Resource Management (EMA 4, for 4th Year). For Environmental Engineering I taught Environmental Monitoring (AD 4, Environment and Development 4th year) in 2018, and for Agronomic Engineering I teach Environmental Legislation and Environmental Restoration (both on RN 5, Natural Resources for the 5th year). 

I use Google Classroom as a teaching tool, both for organizing courses and for distributing material, making extra content available, and communicating with students. If you would like to know more about any of these courses, please visit the meso content page that I teach (see links in Portuguese page - only in Portuguese so far), or contact me, and I can give you access to the course page you are interested in. 

In addition I am teaching an extra course in collaboration with Professor Fabio Grigoletto also from Lagoa do Sino. For this course we invited several teachers from our campus and from other educational institutions, and we are addressing issues related to the Lagoa do Sino Territory, which covers the Alto Paranapanema and Alto Ribeira basins. “The landscape of Alto Paranapanema and Alto Ribeira - PAPAR I” course, is covering everything from the biotic and physical environment to the history of land use and occupation and the social organization of the region, in an integrated and spatially explicit way. If you would like to contribute to this course, please contact me by my gmail (acmartensen). You can get more information about these subjects here

I am also working on an extra course that addresses some topics that I believe have still been relatively neglected in undergraduate courses and which I think will be vital concepts and tools for scientists 5 or 10 years from now. I believe that the science of the future will be built on collaboration between networked scientists, will be largely based on big data, as a rule obtained through automated remote sensors, which will require innovative filtering, organizing, storage and analysis tools. In addition, the science of the future will present a higher proportion of data driven questions and a smaller hypothesis driven portion, will use artificial intelligence, require knowledge of programming languages and tools not yet presented to our students. You can get more information about this course here and if you would like to contribute to this course please contact me at my gmail (acmartensen). Also, check the github page of this course:

I am also preparing a version of this course for postgraduate studies at the UFSCar Postgraduate Program in Environmental Sciences (