The School for Field Studies (SFS) semester program in Peru seeks to understand the conflicts and synergies of conservation and development in western Amazonia and the adjacent Andean highlands. Students learn firsthand about the ecological patterns and processes that underpin the extraordinary biodiversity of the Andes-Amazon region along the eastern slope of the Peruvian Andes, as well as the effects of climate change and land use on regional and global biodiversity and human well-being. Through coursework, field exercises, and Directed Research, students experience the richness of the Andes-Amazon region, study community dependence on the environment, examine threats to the environment and to social networks, and explore the tools and strategies that both mitigate threats and promote well-being among different communities. Our research projects are geared towards identifying the range of socio-ecological issues, as well as basic questions about biodiversity, that help us guide and inform the program's research agenda.
Atenas, Costa Rica
The School for Field Studies (SFS) semester and summer programs in Costa Rica provide the opportunity for students to examine the effects of globalization on classic development issues such as agriculture, biodiversity protection, economic development, urban sprawl, population growth, waste management, and water resources. Student research analyzes different development and resource management models that protect the biodiversity of Costa Rica’s ecosystems while promoting socioeconomic benefits for its people. SEMESTER PROGRAM The semester program focuses on evaluating the actual success of Costa Rica’s world-renowned conservation systems and developing alternative strategies for economic development and biodiversity conservation, such as land-use planning, organic agriculture, and conservation outside of protected areas. SUMMER PROGRAMS Each 4-credit summer session may be taken individually or in combination. Session I: Sustaining Tropical Ecosystems: Biodiversity, Conservation, & Development Student research will focus on examining the impacts of development on the environment and on society by understanding key historical and current aspects of sustainable development strategies in Costa Rica, coupled with knowledge of tropical ecosystem function and connectivity. Session II: Applied Research Techniques & Strategies Toward Sustainability The focus of this program is on developing relevant research questions that address these local issues related to sustainability. Students will be directly involved in designing and conducting field research on a topic of immediate relevance to local clients and proposing alternative approaches toward sustainable development in an effort to help address challenges to conservation goals.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
The School for Field Studies (SFS) program in Cambodia focuses on the Lower Mekong Basin, which extends over most of Cambodia and incorporates the great Tonle Sap Lake. The Basin hosts diverse ecosystems, including lowland evergreen forests, dry dipterocarp forests, seasonally flooded gallery forests, and estuarine mangroves which give rise to the Indo-Burma global biodiversity hotspot. Students examine the dynamics and ethical challenges surrounding environmental change and development in the Lower Mekong Basin. They also learn about the complexity of Cambodia's struggle to balance biodiversity, development, and human needs and livelihoods.