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 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.
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.
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.
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.