From the high-elevation cloud forests of the upper Amazon watershed to the glacial lakes and tropical montane forests of the Andes, Peru’s dramatic elevation gradient easily earns it a place among the five most biodiverse countries in the world. Peru holds the second largest tract of Amazon rainforest within its boundaries, and the rich natural resources of the northern Peruvian-Amazon region have supported human populations for millennia, including indigenous groups who still live in these forests. This combination of social and ecological diversity has made Peru a leading destination for biodiversity enthusiasts, anthropologists, scientists, educators, and students from around the world. The region is critically important for researching the origin and fate of the Amazon as well as its relationships with the communities living beneath its great canopy.
Join SFS in Peru and investigate the conflicts and synergies of conservation and development in the north Peruvian Amazon region. Learn firsthand about the ecological patterns and processes that underpin the extraordinary biodiversity of the Amazon region along the catchment of the western Amazon River and tributaries. Explore biological diversity and conservation, ecological interactions, and the value of ecosystem services, as well as the effects of climate change and land use on regional and global biodiversity and human well-being.
The School for Field Studies (SFS) semester and summer programs in Bocas del Toro provides students with an exciting opportunity to conduct research and explore the rural Caribbean and the isthmus of Panama. Bocas del Toro is home to biologically diverse marine and terrestrial ecosystems, such as coral reefs, mangrove cays, white sand beaches, and tropical rainforests. However, poor management of both the development of these areas and the subsequent resource use by residents and tourists has put increasing pressures on these ecosystems, threatening the human, animal, and plant communities that depend on them.
The curriculum of the program focuses on defining key island systems, both natural and human, and how they interface. Our research in Bocas del Toro has already revealed patterns and processes at the nexus of biodiversity, conservation, and human welfare that merit ongoing study. Through field observations and research, students identify and understand the pressures, both direct and indirect, on the environment and social systems.
The central theme of the semester program is "islands as a delicate system," with emphasis on the resources of Panama's coastal and marine environments. Students will explore several key interfaces: human and natural systems, terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and conservation and development.
This 4-credit summer session may be taken individually or in combination with a Session II course.
Session I: Tourism and Island Systems: Assessment of Sustainable Practices
Students in this summer program examine key aspects of tourism and environmental assessment of tropical ecosystems, and explore sustainable development strategies for the Bocas del Toro Archipelago at local and global scales.
The School for Field Studies (SFS) semester and summer programs in Queensland, Australia, provide exciting opportunities for students to study and work hands-on in rainforest management and restoration in the country’s tropical rainforest. SFS students, in collaboration with local landholders and stakeholder organizations, focus on enhancing the condition of tropical rainforests, as well as determining how to regenerate and restore the rainforest in the region.
The program curriculum and research agenda address a critical local and regional environmental problem--loss and fragmentation of once extensive rainforests--and examine environmental policies related to the issue on local and national levels. SFS staff and students, in collaboration with local landholders and stakeholder organizations, focus on enhancing the condition of coastal rainforests, as well as determining how to regenerate and restore the rainforest on the Atherton Tablelands.
Each 4-credit session can be taken individually or in combination.
Session I: Rainforest Management Studies in Australia & New Zealand
Large areas of northeastern Queensland, Australia, and northern New Zealand were once covered in spectacular rainforests. In New Zealand, students discover its critically endangered flora and fauna and the impacts that have led to their decline. In Australia, students take their New Zealand experiences and examine similarities and differences in political structure, co-management arrangements, land-use patterns, and biogeography.
Session II: Techniques for Rainforest Research in Australia
Students explore Australia’s tropical rainforests, examine the effects of fragmentation in highly endangered rainforest systems, and develop effective field research skills in multiple disciplines while learning about rainforest restoration and conservation.