Ted Lawrence, Ph.D.

Title

Resident Lecturer in Principles of Natural Resource Management

Location

Panama

Education

Ph.D. in the Science and Management of Natural Resources
Cornell University (N.Y., U.S.A.)

M.S. in Biodiversity Conservation and Policy
University at Albany (N.Y., U.S.A.)

M.A. in Ecological Anthropology
University at Albany (N.Y., U.S.A.)

M.A. in Ecological Economics
University at Albany (N.Y., U.S.A.)

M.A. in Public Policy Analysis
University at Albany (N.Y., U.S.A.)

B.A. in Political Science
St. John Fisher College (N.Y., U.S.A.)

Professional Certification
Associate Ecologist, Ecological Society of America

Professional Certification
Coleman Leadership Program, Cornell University

Professional Certification
Ecosystem Ecology, Cary Institute of Ecosystems Studies

Teaching

SFS 3740 Principles of Natural Resource Management
(The School for Field Studies)

SFS 4910 Directed Research
(The School for Field Studies)

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About

Faculty Profile


Dr. Lawrence is a conservation scientist with extensive training and experience in both the social and natural sciences. Additionally, he is a certified associate ecologist with the Ecological Society of America. He engages in basic and applied research with a focus on cross-scale societal factors that shape landscapes as dynamic social-ecological systems. Moreover, his research integrates local field studies with broad-scale geospatial modeling and analyses. He works closely with indigenous communities in the neotropics and with governments and local conservation NGOs, as well as collaborating with international nonprofits, such as The Nature Conservancy’s Global Lands Program to conserve local-to-global biodiversity. He is founder and president of Foundation for Developing Sustainable Societies, a conservation nonprofit working with rural Maya communities in Yucatán, México since 2009 to enhance land stewardship, while bolstering traditional livelihoods. He is also president of the Student and Early Career Scientist Chapter of the Association for Tropical Biology & Conservation. During his Ph.D. training at Cornell University, he created the Yucatán Conservation Lab for undergraduates to gain field research, community engagement, and service experience through his research and extension, he was course coordinator for Environmental Conservation (4 years), and he was a teaching assistant for Planning for Environmental Conservation and Sustainability (3 years). Prior to his Ph.D. training, Dr. Lawrence worked professionally for 7 years as an energy and environmental analyst with New York State government in statewide energy and climate action planning and policy development, and taught resource economics at Siena College.

Academics & Research

Areas of Expertise


  • Global Environmental change
  • Global political ecology
  • Tropical conservation science
  • Landscape ecology
  • Land change science
  • Landscape conservation planning
  • Indigenous community landscape conservation
  • Spatial modeling and analysis
  • Geography and geographic information science

Professional Activities


    • Reviewer: North American Congress for Conservation Biology
    • Reviewer: Sustainable Biodiversity Fund, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Cornell University
    • Reviewer: International System Dynamics Conference
    • Workshop: Science Communication, Cornell University, 2016
    • Workshop: Indigenous Community – Research Engagement, Cornell University, 2016
    • Workshop: Leadership in Conservation, Cornell University, 2015.
    • Workshop: Writing for Academic Journals in the Life Sciences, Cornell University, 2015
    • President, Student and Early Career Scientist Chapter - Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, 2018 – present.
    • Member, Capacity Building Committee - Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, 2018 – present.
    • Councilor, Tropical Biology and Conservation Graduate Student Association, Cornell University, 2017 – 2019.
    • President, Tropical Biology and Conservation Graduate Student Association, Cornell University, 2016 – 2017.
    • Coordinator, Neotropical Conservation Graduate Student Seminar, Cornell University, 2014 – 2016.
    • Vice President, Natural Resources Graduate Student Association, Cornell University, 2013 – 2014.
    • U.S. – International Association for Landscape Ecology, 2017 – present.
    • American Association of Geographers, 2017 – present.
    • Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, 2015 – present.
    • Society for Conservation Biology, 2015 – present.
    • International Society for Applied Anthropology, 2009 – present.
    • International Network of Research on Coupled Human and Natural Systems, 2009 – present.

Research Interests


Dr. Lawrence investigates causal linkages extending from global political-economic processes through local indigenous and community-managed landscapes to patterns of biodiversity in the tropics. He believes that solutions to landscape degradation typically require an understanding of spatial processes and patterns of social-ecological systems across multiple spatial and temporal scales. Therefore, he integrates concepts of political economy and development from geography with concepts of ecological change from landscape ecology and global change science. He also provides indigenous land managers with skills and tools for restoration and conservation that enable them to become better landscape stewards. In all, his research spans the continuum from basic to applied work. However, he focuses primarily on the restoration and conservation of cultural and natural heritages, while providing a strong scientific basis for natural resource management decisions.

Research Projects


Dr. Lawrence’s research explains how global and national political-economic processes drive changes to Maya community-managed landscapes across Yucatán, México. Specifically, he examines how community-managed lands shift away from community management and toward individualized land tenure systems, while traditional subsistence-based agroforestry livelihoods shift away from subsistence and toward market-oriented and modernized agricultural livelihoods, and in turn, how these changes influence land use and land cover change. To examine the changes to these social-ecological landscapes, he integrates field studies of Maya community-managed lands across the State of Yucatán with geospatial modeling and analyses of all 710 Maya landscape that comprises over 50% of land across the State.

Dr. Lawrence also engages Maya communities in forest restoration and conservation planning and action. For example, he works together closely with Maya communities to reintroduce native species into their forests, such as the melipona honey bees and native plants that the bees pollinate. Additionally, local people are trained in traditional Maya beekeeping to conserve their traditional ecological knowledge. He also conducts kin-based conservation workshops with the Maya people as a two-way exchange of knowledge and natural resource management techniques.

SFS Projects
Dr. Lawrence’s SFS Directed Research examines differences in land use and land cover across varying land tenure regimes, such as community-managed lands, protected areas, overlapping community-managed and protected areas, and individually-owned and managed lands.

Outputs

Publications

Lawrence, T. J., Morreale, S. J. and Stedman, R. C. (2019). Distant political-economic forces and global-to-local pathway to impacts on forests of ejido landscapes across Yucatán, México. Land Degradation and Development, In Press. https://doi.org/10.1002/ldr.3400
Lawrence, T. J. and Robinson, G. R. (2014). Reckoning perverse outcomes of resource conservation policies using the Ecological Footprint. Ecological Indicators, 41, 87 – 95. https://doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.ecolind.2014.01.026
Lawrence, T. J., Stedman, R. C., Morreale, S. J. and Taylor, S. R. Rethinking landscape conservation: linking globalized agriculture to changes to indigenous community-managed landscapes. Tropical Conservation Science, In Review.
Lawrence, T. J., Morreale, S. J., Stedman, R. C., and Louis, L. V. Changes to ejido land tenure and impacts on land use and land cover across Yucatán, México. Remote Sensing of Environment, In Review.
Lawrence, T. J. (2019). Commodity market influence on ejido land tenure regimes and the impact on forest cover across Yucatán, México. In Exploring Property Rights and Tenure in Integrated Landscape Management: A Scoping Study from the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative. Buck, L. E., Scherr, S. J., Chami, B., Goldman, M., Lawrence, T. J., Mecham, J., Nevers, E., & Thomas, R. (Eds). EcoAgriculture Partners, Washington, D.C.
Lawrence, T. J. (2019). Globalized agriculture as a driving force of change to Maya community-managed landscapes across Yucatán, México. Ph.D. Dissertation, Cornell University.

Presentations

International Society of Tropical Foresters, Yale University, 2018. New Haven, Connecticut.
Conservation Social Science – Graduate Student Seminar, Cornell University, 2018. Ithaca, New York.
Tropical Biology and Conservation – Graduate Student Association, Cornell University, 2018. Ithaca, New York.
Natural Resources – Graduate Student Association Research Symposium, Cornell University, 2018. Ithaca, New York.
Engaged Scholarship Consortium, 2017. Birmingham, Alabama.
International Society of Tropical Foresters, Yale University, 2017. New Haven, Connecticut.
Tropical Biology and Conservation – Graduate Student Association Lightning Symposium, Cornell University, 2017. Ithaca, New York.
Human Dimensions Research Unit, Cornell University, 2017. Ithaca, New York.