Biodiversity & Development in the Amazon
August 27 - December 5
January 28 - May 8
The greater Iquitos region, with its numerous towns and villages, forms an island of human development surrounded by a vast sea of Amazon rainforest. Iquitos is the largest city in the world not reachable by automobile, accessible only by boat or airplane.
Our Center is located along the only road leaving the city, which runs 100km to the port town of Nauta. From the Center, we have access to large tracts of primary and secondary forest, as well as the amenities and unique culture of the city of Iquitos and surrounding communities. And, of course, the mighty Amazon River is ever-present.
August 27 - December 5
January 28 - May 8
Resident Lecturer, Political Ecology
One of the key objectives of the political ecology course is to prepare students for their final, independent Directed Research projects.
The course teaches them the skills required to create, organize, and execute a field work project using qualitative research methods, applied through Indigenous principles, paradigms, and practices.Read More
As development encroaches into the Amazon, buffer zones of protected areas become increasingly critical for ensuring the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services of these rich forests. Therefore, understanding the dynamics of conservation buffer zones is critical to determine how they function and to inform policymakers on their design and management.
Can protected areas adequately mitigate the impacts of development and climate change on the biodiversity, ecosystem services, and traditional livelihoods of the region? We address this broad question through a number of perspectives, informed by faculty expertise. Recent lenses include: primate conservation, sustainable use of medicinal plants, and environmental health perceptions and attitudes among the local community. Every semester, with the contribution of student interests, creativity, and ingenuity, we ask new questions, explore new approaches, refine research methods, and expand our ever-growing databases.
Tejedor, A. and Calatayud, G. (2017). The tree ferns of Andean Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Field Museum Guides 876:1-19
Helenbrook, W., Susan E. Wade, W. Shields, Stephen V. Stehman, and C. Whipps (In Press). Gastrointestinal parasites of Ecuadorian mantled howler monkeys, Alouatta palliata aequatorialis, based on fecal analysis. Journal of Parasitology.
Helenbrook, W., W. Shields, and C. Whipps (In Press). Molecular phylogenetic analysis of Blastocystis in sympatric human and nonhuman primate populations. Parasitology Research.
MacDonald, K. (Accepted) My Experiences with Indigenist Methodologies. Geographical Research.
Nothing I’ve ever done can compare to the feeling of looking out over the green sea of tree canopy.
You can learn about the layers of the rainforest, watch nature documentaries, or look at pictures all you want, but nothing I’ve ever done can compare to the feeling of looking out over the green sea of tree canopy, or standing under 100 foot tall trees while monkeys leap from branch to branch over your head.Lexi Donahue
Collaborating with those who live and work in the greater Iquitos region is imperative to the success of this program. One of our greatest strengths is offering students the opportunity to interact with local people, researchers, and conservation organizations in the area. It is widely known that the Amazon is facing various threats, but it is not until we have a more complete understanding of the reality on the ground, that we can begin to develop successful conservation initiatives.
Outside of academics, relationships with communities are strengthened through soccer games, visits to local towns, and running environmental education programs for local students.
The Center is located along the Iquitos-Nauta highway. Upon entering the Center, you pass our soccer and volleyball areas set amidst short coconut palms before arriving to the dining area, kitchen, classroom, and swimming pool. The dorms and staff housing are set back from the pool area. Continuing behind the housing areas, you can enter a circuit of trails through the forest.
June 15, 2018