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Biodiversity and Development in the Amazon


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Understanding Biological and Cultural Diversity in the Andean-Amazon Region

This region is rich in natural resources, yet the ecosystems, habitats, and species that comprise the biodiversity and provide ecosystem services to residents local and global are threatened by rapid and unplanned urban and peri-urban development, expansion of road system, unregulated logging and mining, and high-input agriculture. The social fabric of local communities is threatened by environmental degradation associated with these industries and inequities in rural development. Poverty in rural areas remains high and there are stark differences in access to health care, education, and water and sanitation.
  • Semester Programs

    Biodiversity and Development in the Amazon


    This program provides students with the opportunity to study and work hands-on in the forests, fields, communities, and rivers along the elevational gradient from the Andes Mountains to the lowland Amazon rainforest. Students gain an understanding of the balance of conservation and development through examining strategies that aim to promote and protect this productive region of South America and its rich diversity of cultures.

During our first year of programming in Peru, our staff and students will be working with local actors and other stakeholders to identify a suite of conservation and development challenges in the region. Together we will define a list of priority issues that SFS can help to address through research, and this will comprise the new Center’s Five-Year Research Plan.

Peruvians are proud of their diverse cultures and have a very strong national identity. Appreciation of food, civility, and hard work feature strongly in the local ethics. Student engagement with the local residents is supported by studies of Spanish language and attention to understanding and observing the cultural norms and social mores in the region.

Students have many opportunities to interact with our neighbors in Pillcopata, as well as to participate in cultural exchange with self-identified indigenous communities. Students may get involved in community volunteer projects and social activities such as local environmental education, recycling and waste management, and teaching English.

As in all SFS programs, with the results of our research we will offer data and recommendations that inform decision-makers and build relationships between SFS and the stakeholders involved in biodiversity conservation and resource management.


Our Partner in Peru

Envisioning a sustainable world, an environmentally educated and responsible human population, and thriving, healthy ecosystems, SFS and Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazónica (ACCA) have joined together in an academic and research partnership which aims to strengthen the local scientific community and inform conservation decisions. Environmental research, reciprocity with the surrounding community, and education are the core of the SFS and ACCA collaboration.