PhD student presents work supported by TCD Program

PhD student presents work supported by TCD Program

Ana Luiza Violato Espada, a 2nd-year PhD student of School of Forest Resources and Conservation with concentration in Tropical Conservation and Development at University of Florida (UF) is participating in the 24th Annual International Society of Tropical Foresters Conference at Yale University, New Haven, February 1-3, 2018.

Ana is representing a UF-based group (faculty, students, alumni) and Brazilian partners that had TCD Program support  through the Schmink Innovation Award 2016. In June 2017, the group organized a 3-day information exchange workshop in the state of Acre in the Brazilian Amazon, centered on timber management in extractive reserves (a category of sustainable use protected areas).

Timber extraction for commercial use has been introduced as a strategy for tropical forest management and conservation. Despite the achievements championed, forest management in the Amazon region has faced a spectrum of challenges, to which forest livelihoods within conservation units such as extractive reserves are precariously sensitive. However, regional cases of community forestry paired with institutional alliances have emerged with hopeful lessons for the future of forest communities. For example, communities from three extractive reserves in the states of Pará and Amazonas are thriving since initiating timber management projects, each structured around distinct local needs and visions of community forest management with technical and governance support from government and non-governmental organizations. Key community members and others from these Eastern Amazonian reserves have worked to incrementally build community forest management. They shared their experiences with stakeholder groups in Acre positioned to strengthen forest management, particularly as related to timber. This event was based on a collaborative governance approach to strengthen natural resource management networks allowing stakeholders from the forest sector to better understand the context and main constraints of community-based timber management in extractive reserves.

Collaborative multisector governance is an approach that can deal with the socio-ecological complexity of tropical forest systems. Forest degradation and deforestation remain the biggest challenges to mitigate biodiversity loss, climate change, and negative impacts on livelihoods; however, cross-sector, multi-level stakeholder interactions can facilitate the necessary assessment of the challenges and context-appropriate actions to address the needs of dynamic local diversity across tropical landscapes. Based on a practical experience using collaborative and multidisciplinary methods, Ana will present a social learning framework proposed by the UF-based group in the Yale Conference. The framework can inform practitioners, academics, and forest users to explore innovative approaches to promote forest conservation, empower traditional communities, and address complex challenges in the tropics.




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