Biodiversity & Development in the Andes-Amazon


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Understanding Biological and Cultural Diversity in the Andean-Amazon Region

The unique ecosystems, habitats, and species of the region are threatened by urban and peri-urban development, road installation, destructive logging, unregulated mining, and high-input agriculture. The social fabric of local communities is jeopardized by significant inequities in socioeconomic development and environmental degradation associated with these industries. Rapid and unorganized growth in the region threatens biodiversity, cultural integrity, and economic development. The goal of this program is to contribute to the baseline knowledge of biological diversity and understand the impacts of the rapidly changing demands on natural resources.

  • Semester Programs

    Biodiversity & Development in the Andes-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 few years 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 Center’s long-term strategic 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 a focus on understanding and observing the cultural norms and social mores in the region.

Students have opportunities to interact with our neighbors in the nearby town of Pillcopata, with its large population of Andean migrants, as well as with two rainforest indigenous communities, Huacaria and Queros. SFS facilitates 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 offer data and recommendations that inform decision makers and build relationships between SFS and local 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 at the core of the SFS and ACCA collaboration.