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Biodiversity & Development in the Andes-Amazon


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Understanding Biological and Cultural Diversity in the Andean-Amazon Region

The rich natural resources of the Andes-Amazon region have supported human populations for millennia, including indigenous groups who still live in these forests. Today, populations in the highland region are declining due to migration, while the Amazon region draws people looking for opportunities to engage in both extractive and productive activities. These changes to the Peruvian social landscape threaten the unique ecosystems, habitats, and species through urban and peri-urban development, road installation, destructive logging, unregulated mining, and high-input agriculture. In addition, effects of climate change and loss of traditional knowledge are impacting resource availability and use. 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 in order to help promote the sustainable management of the unique and globally important Andes-Amazon region.

  • 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.


Peer Reviewed Publications

For more information on the research conducted by the faculty and staff of this Center, please visit The SFS Center for Andes-Amazon Studies page and click on individual biographies.

For a complete list of peer-reviewed publications by SFS faculty, staff and students, click here.

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.