Dr. Robert Buschbacher is a Systems Ecologist who has been working with Conservation and Development in the tropics as a researcher, teacher and practitioner since the 1980s.  He conducted early studies on the impacts of converting Amazon rainforest to pasture, and forest succession following pasture abandonment.  While maintaining an ecological and systems worldview, his experience as a conservationist with World Wildlife Fund’s Tropical Forestry and Brazil programs demonstrated the inextricable links between socioeconomic development and nature protection.   At the University of Florida since 2001, he has coordinated the interdisciplinary Working Forests and Amazon Conservation Leadership programs; taught professional skills courses related to entrepreneurship and policy advocacy; and partnered with Brazilian universities and NGOs to build capacity of conservation and development practitioners in Collaborative Management of Socio-Ecological Systems.  Dr. Buschbacher has permanent residency in Brazil and a bi-lingual, bi-cultural Brazilian-American family.

Dr. Wendy-Lin Bartels has a background in science communication and anthropology.  She is interested in the conditions and mechanisms that facilitate knowledge exchange, dialog and social learning among diverse stakeholders.  During her graduate research in Interdisciplinary Ecology, she was a project team assistant for the Natural Resources Leadership Institute (NRLI) and brings expertise in collaboration, conflict management and pedagogy.  She has co-led 3 ACLI training programs in Mato Grosso, Brazil.  In her research position with the Southeast Climate Consortium and the Florida Climate Institute, she collaborates with crop, climate and hydrological modelers.  She designs engagement processes that promote meaningful interactions among researchers and practitioners (farmers, water managers and foresters) to co-develop adaptive responses to climate change.  To learn more, see the online learning platform that Wendy-Lin coordinates in the SE USA at

Dr. Denyse Mello is an Agronomist from Brazil with PhD in Interdisciplinary Ecology.  Her professional life is devoted to including gender in the Latin American development agenda, with a focus on Smallholder and Amazon Development.  Denyse worked for several years developing the Rural Women’s Collective Microenterprise Network in the Brazilian Amazon, and was also coordinator of the Amazon Technical Capacitation Program with extensionists and farmers from nine Amazon States, applying research and action methodologies for the diffusion of agroforestry systems. Complementing Denyse’s training efforts focused on rural women, she has also helped to improve the participation of women in public policy debates, such as the National Food Security Council.  Dr. Mello is a certified facilitator in entrepreneurship and gender (from Competency based Economies through Formation of Entrepreneurs – CEFE PROGESTION); has a certificate in planning, monitoring and evaluation from Brazil’s Environment Ministry; and has been a consultant to German Technical Cooperation (GIZ), the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment (MMA), and several NGOs.  Her Curriculum in Portuguese can be accessed here.