Personal profile

Research overview

Community-based forest management is increasingly seen as a necessary approach for more effective conservation of tropical forests, but it is unclear how well existing strategies can adapt to emerging issues.  Recent recognition of the significant below ground carbon stocks in the Peruvian Amazonian peatlands poses new socio-ecological questions about how to avoid their deforestation and degradation, conserve the carbon stores and biological diversity they host while supporting and improving the livelihoods of the people who live there. Most of Peruvian peatlands have been found in northern Peru, in the Pastaza-Marañón Foreland Basin (PMFB), which is now thought to be the largest intact peatland complex in the Amazon basin and one of the largest in the world. 

A great diversity of conservation and sustainable development strategies have been implemented in in the Pastaza-Marañón Foreland Basin since the 1990s, but only recently have these been extended to incorporate peatlands, in recognition of their high spatial extent and carbon density. However, there has been little evaluation of how effectively existing measures meet conservation and livelihood aims or how readily they can accommodate the functional and cultural values of peatlands. This can be explained by the diversity of interventions, strategies used, the equally great diversity of actors involved (NGOs, governmental institutions, international organisations, academic unions, local community-based resource management institutions, private companies) and the wide range of different dimensions that need to be considered (i.e., economic, social, cultural, environmental). To fill this gap and inform conservation in the region, my research focuses on understanding to what extent existing conservation strategies can prevent deforestation and degradation of peatlands and improve local well-being.