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 Bhutan give students a broad exposure to the core areas of environment, culture, development, and governance in Bhutan. Students apply conceptual, analytical, and technical skills to help address questions related to natural resource-based livelihoods, conservation of biodiversity, and ecological vulnerabilities.
The program curriculum and research agenda address issues related to modernization in Bhutan: the support of rural livelihoods and the conservation of biodiversity in the face of a changing society and landscape.
Environment and Society in Transition
In Bhutan, a Himalayan country characterized by towering mountains, lush forests, and a unique cultural heritage, progress and development is evaluated on the basis of cultural preservation and environmental conservation rather than purely economic achievements. Student research will focus on enhancing the condition of forest, river, and mountain ecosystems while balancing the processes of modernization and cultural preservation.
The summer course is 6 weeks.
Eastern Himalayan Forests and Rural Livelihoods
Traveling throughout Bhutan, students learn about culture and history, religious traditions, environmental issues, and conservation policies. Students explore the role environmental services and natural resources play in rural livelihood and national development. Students conduct research on Bhutan’s primary environmental concerns, including sustainable forestry, watershed management, and rural development.
This 4-week program focuses on the ecology and conservation of the Asian elephant. Due to a drastic decrease in wild elephant populations, the reality of a world without these charismatic megafauna is becoming a likely possibility. In Asia this is primarily due to a booming human population and increased demand for space. Elephants are of great scientific interest due to their complex behaviors associated with intelligence and social interactions, forming deep family bonds and displaying empathy by recognizing and responding to another elephant’s pain or problem and showing signs of grief after the loss of a family member. Saving the elephants requires improved scientific understanding of the species and the increasingly complex environment that they inhabit.
During part of the program, students are based at the NGO E.L.I.E and their sanctuary, the Elephant Valley Project, located within Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri Province. The Elephant Valley Project is an elephant sanctuary that cares for injured and overworked elephants in a landscape where they forage naturally and roam the surrounding grassy hilltops and lush evergreen and mixed deciduous forests. You will spend time each day with the skilled and professional Bunong elephant caretakers, known as mahouts, who are the core of the sanctuary and have a deep connection with their elephants. You will also join volunteers for meals and, in your free time, you will have the opportunity to participate in scheduled volunteer activities.