Spring Course Application Now Available: Political Ecology of Conservation and Restoration of Tropical Forest Landscapes, EVST 285/FES 285

November 12, 2018

In this seminar, Professors Amity Doolittle and Eva Garen explore the ways in which various ideologies and global inequalities influence human-environment interactions and produce inequities with respect to access to natural resources. It examines the relationship between society and the environment, focusing on literature from the interdisciplinary field of political ecology. To illustrate the theoretical principles of political ecology in an applied setting, the seminar will explore the application and relevance of this interdisciplinary field to the conservation and restoration of tropical forest landscapes.

The seminar will focus on a forest landscape restoration program within a tropical dry forest ecosystem in the Republic of Panama. This landscape is a mosaic of small-scale agriculture, cattle ranching, and forest fragments. The restoration program was developed by the Environmental Leadership & Training Initiative (ELTI), one of the Centers and Programs of Yale F&ES, using a political ecology orientation. This case study has widespread implications for how national governments around the globe approach the implementation of their commitments to the Bonn Challenge, which is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration together by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.

During spring break, students will have the opportunity to participate in an intensive six-day field course in ELTI’s focal training site in Panama’s Azuero Peninsula. Students will learn from ELTI team members and local landholders about the ecology of tropical dry forests, how and why these ecosystems have been modified over time, and the distinct historical, cultural, and socio-economic factors that shape and influence land management practices in the region. Students will also visit a network of field sites that showcase a range of forest restoration and sustainable cattle ranching strategies that landholders are adopting in the region with support from ELTI’s training and leadership programs.

The field trip is optional for undergraduates, with funding provided by the Environmental Studies Program. Students interested in the social aspects of tropical forests should apply.  Preference will be given to EVST Juniors and Seniors with demonstrated previous academic interests in the topic. Little or no international travel or study experience is necessary.

The course will meet on Tuesdays from 1:30-3:20.

Questions and additional information:  Professor Doolittle

Interested Environmental Studies majors apply here!