Yale in the Amazon

Yale Affiliates currently working on projects in the Amazon include…. 

Melissa Arias, M.E.M. ‘15 : Previously worked as an environmental consultant for various NGOs, government ministries and private clients in Ecuador and the broader Amazon-Andes region to improve conservation science, management and financial sustainability of protected areas. Melissa has also done work in Indonesia, and is currently conducting research as a Fox Fellow, investigating the impacts of protected area mosaics and other conservation governance strategies on avoiding deforestation and habitat degradation in the Brazilian Amazon using statistical analyses and geographic modeling. 
Paulo G. Barreto, M.F.S. ‘97: What are the causes of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon? What are the impacts of policies and market initiatives to curb deforestation and to improve land use in the region? How to improve the implementation of protected areas in the Amazon? These are the questions that guide Paulo Barreto’s work currently at IMAZON (Amazon Institute of People and the Environment). He has published 100 studies (scientific papers, technical reports, book, book chapters and policy briefs) about forestry, cattle ranching, environmental law and policy and drivers of deforestation. He engages with diverse stakeholders (such as prosecutors, ranchers, policy makers, journalists, environmentalists, environmental agencies staff) to help in the design and the implementation of conservation initiatives. For example, he has spoken several times at the National Congress in hearings about Amazonian issues and his research has been cited more than 200 times by major international and Brazilian news media. Paulo Barreto’s publications are available here: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Paulo_Barreto3
Andrew Brower M.E.S. ‘87: Studied evolution and biogeography of mimetic butterflies in and around the Amazon basin for over 20 years. Andrew is currently involved in a multidisciplinary project to reconstruct the Quaternary history of the Amazon basin with collaborators from the U.S. and Brazil, and is interested in testing the Pleistocene Refgium Hypothesis as a climatic mechanism driving recent diversification of butterflies and other taxa. 
Carolina Gueiros, M.E.Sc. ‘16: Carolina has been an environmental lawyer in the Brazilian Amazon for most of her career. Most of her work has focused on
 administrative procedures and litigation regarding the application of the Forest Code to cattle ranching and mining operations. Coming from her experiences as an environmental attorney, she has focused her academic research on the intersection between human rights and environmental protection, and on environmental policy solutions for the Brazilian Amazon. For her masters thesis at Yale F&ES, Carolina has looked into jurisdictional REDD+ policies uptake in Acre and Amazonas, two states located in the Brazilian Amazon.
Chris Hebdon PhD ’19:  Conducts research on energy politics and environmental semiotics in Ecuador. His research is based in Quito, among professional energy planners, and among Quichua-speaking Runa communities in the Amazonian province of Pastaza.
Sarah Lupberger M.E.Sc. ‘15: Sarah is currently completing a Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship in the National Forest Conservation Program in the Peruvian Ministry of Environment. At the Ministry, Sarah supports a number of internationally-funded initiatives to complete the institutional reforms and build the capacity needed to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in the Peruvian Amazon. She is also conducting research around the role of bottom-up locally-driven influences and top-down international influences in instigating the new 2011 Forest Law. (Photo is of Sarah with her team at COP21, moderating an event where they announced the transfer of $5 million from Norway to Peru to move into Phase 2 of the Peru, Norway, Germany Declaration of Intent. )

Florencia Montagnini, Senior Research Scientist and Director, Program of Tropical Forestry: Dr. Montagnini has worked with the Runa Foundation advising their Research Program on domestication of guayusa, Ilex guayusa, a wild species from the Amazon forest to be used in agroforestry systems as part of a productive chain to benefit local landholders in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon. Learn more about the Runa Foundation: www.runa.org (Photo of Dr. Montagnini with Runa director and an associated researcher). 
Leonora Pepper M.F. ‘17: As a U.S. Fulbright scholar, Leonora spent 2015 based in the estuarine city of Belém, Brazil exploring traditional açaí production. The açaí economy is driving development in many rural river communities and shaping the composition and reach of floodplain forest on a regional scale. Through work evaluating the commodity certification programs in Brazil that are most accessible and appropriate to açaí forest farmers and their cooperatives, Leonora seeks to understand how traditional production can persist as a viable source of income within the context of the growing global market.
Simon Queenborough, Faculty: Dr. Queenborough’s main field site is located in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador, one of the most biodiverse areas yet discovered on the planet with over 1,100 tree species documented in 25 ha of lowland rain forest. His research investigates: (1) how this many species can coexist in these forests compared to orders of magnitude fewer species in temperate forests, (2) what influences when trees flower and how many fruit they produce, (3) differences between plants of different breeding systems, and (4) the effects of drought on an aseasonal rain forest, all using a variety of long-term observational and experimental data. Read more about the work of the Queenborough Lab here.
Miguel Romero M.F. ’99: Does forest management, forest certification, and forest inventory in Yungas forest for Lignum company.
Robin Sears M.F. ‘96: Has been working in the Amazon region since 1998, in Peru and Brazil, where she works on issues related to forest management by smallholder farmers and residents. Recently she has been engaged with the Peruvian government at multiple levels working on the forest sector reform. She takes multiple angles on the topic, from policy and regulations, value chain actors and market dynamics, and silviculture.

Yale Students and Alumni who have previously worked on projects in the Amazon include…


Matheus Couto M.F.S. ’15:  Matheus worked with forest restoration initiatives in the Brazilian Northeastern Atlantic Forest. He coordinated activities such as tree-seed collection, production of seedlings, and implementation of projects. In the Eastern Brazilian Amazon, Matheus coordinated a project where agroforestry systems were used to promote landscape restoration in a deforestation hotspot and in the Western Brazilian Amazon, he researched carbon stocks on secondary forests after indigenous swidden agriculture. 

Peggy Cymerys M.E.Sc.’91:Does research on wildlife management, community forestry, and bird conservation. Peggy worked in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil for her masters thesis, in the central Amazon prior to Yale and in the Eastern Amazon after. Read “Fruit Trees and Useful Plants in Amazonian Life”, co-edited by Peggy and another Yale graduate.

David Gonzalez M.E.Sc. ’15: Conducted research about mercury exposure from burgeoining artisanal gold mines in non-mining rural communities in Madre de Dios in Peru, through a combination of quantitative analysis and qualitative interviews that will explore pathways of mercury exposure in these communities and the impacts on health, in association with the Carnegie Amazon Mercury Project.

Celine Lim M.E.M. ’15: Celine worked on a project with rural and indigenous communities in the Amazon-Andes region that promoted forest conservation coupled with livelihoods improvement, working to assess the social impacts of a fund for conservation and social uses. In partnership with another Yale student, Celine designed a set of evaluation tools and later implemented them in communities. At Villa Carmen, ACCA’s biological station and organic farm, Celine was involved in biological monitoring, agricultural and environmental education projects. She also represented ACCA at REDD+ Roundtable meetings, participating in a numerous other meetings and workshops. Learn more about ACCA here: www.acca.org

Don Masterson M.F. ‘84: Don worked with the Mamirua Sustainable Development Reserve in the State of Amazonas on the reserve’s first management plan, which was one of the first protected areas in Brazil to embrace and develop a broad based community management approach and a research program for resource management, community development, and biodiversity research.

Robert Mowbray M.F. ‘63: Robert has conducted research on ecology of shifting cultivation in eastern Ecuador, worked on project management of USAID funded agroforestry activities in eastern Ecuador,  design of USAID biodiversity conservation project (SUBIR) which worked in landscapes in protected areas and buffer zones ir eastern and western Ecuador, and oversight of USAID natural resource management and agricultural programs in Bolivia and Peru (Central Selva project, and others).  He also has done work in Ecuador highlands and Paraguay (as Associate Director initiated Peace Corps programs in forestry, protected area management, and environmental education with Peace Corps.  

Giancarlo Raschio M.E.M. ’11: Giancarlo managed the development, validation and verification of two REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) projects in Para, Brazil. Recently, he is working on socio-environmental impact assessment in agri-food supply chains in Peru (coffee and cocoa) using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geostatistics. Giancarlo is currently living in Germany working as an independent researcher/consultant. Read more about the:  Allcot Group/Brazilian Rosewood Protected Forest Project and the Ecosystem Services/ADPML Portel Pará REDD Project

Pablo Reed M.E.M.’14: Did a research project and thesis centering on the feasibility/barriers in conducting REDD and other payments for environmental services projects on indigenous land in Latin America. Read more about his paper, “REDD+ and the Indigenous Question: A Case from Ecuador”

Tina Schneider M.F. ’12: Currently working as independent consultant for Chatham House and Conservation International. In the past, worked on projects for GIZ, TRAFFIC, and GRET - Professionels pour le devéloppement solidairePrior to attendingYale F&ES, Tina worked for Conservation International for 2.5 years, managing grants in Latin America, Oceania, and Europe. Spent one year working in Ecuador on cacao and coffee agroforestry in the Amazon with GIZ and integrated watershed management in Quito municipal Paymend for Ecosystem Services (PES) fund. Learn more about Tina’s work: www.linkedin.com/pub/tina-schneider/6/978/294/

Alexander Shenkin M.E.Sc.’14: Researched the response of tropical forest structure, composition and function to interactive disturbances. Read Alexander’s paper: Fates of Trees and Forests in Bolivia Subjected to Selective Logging, Fire and Climate Change