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A learning period in New Zealand

(18 March 2015)

From January to August 2015, I am temporally living in Dunedin, New Zealand. I work as a visiting researcher at the Botany Department of the University of Otago. This will give me the opportunity to academically approach the environmental policy issues I have been working with during the last few years. I will also try to contribute to New Zealand conservation issues, together with colleagues and long-term friends from the University of Otago: Alan Mark and Katherine Dickinson. Last but not least, it is a great opportunity to revisit and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of this country.

Evaluating Conservation Projects in the Amazon...and yet another book!

(28 November 2014)

From October to December 2014, I am leading a 7 person team to evaluate a broad programme on conservation of biodiversity in the Amazon region of  Colombia, Perú and Ecuador. This programme, financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), supports over 25 organizations that help indigenous communities, farmer organizations, local governments, small companies and producer groups to conserve forests, make wise use of forest products and engage in sustainable production. Thanks to this work, I am able to visit a number of wonderful pristine areas in the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Amazon and meet great people, committed to the survival of the nature in this region of key importance. However, I could also witness the horrible effects of illegal mining, the negative impact of ill-planned infrastructure and social consequences of uncontrolled urbanization.

This kind of assignments really show both sides of the medal: the impressive beauty and the enormous threats to the Amazon integrity. These two sides have been well described in a recent book that we published with WWF: State of the Amazon: Ecological Representation in Protected Areas and Indigenous Territories

A new book by my hand, on páramo and climate change

(5 September 2014)

Recently, I had the priviledge to coordinate a project (managed by IUCN) to elaborate a state-of-knowledge report on the páramo ecosystem, especially focusing on climate change. This study, executed in collaboration with partners from Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, was recently published. The online version of this book can be downloaded here. It includes a quite complete update of all ecological knowledge on páramo, its conservation and management and the actual impact of climate change on the ecosystem. It also includes a long list of publications and analyzed the progress in research in the Andean countries and elsewhere. I hope you will enjoy this!

(more on the Páramo Communities project here)