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Fellows

CSF cultivates the next generation of environmental economists. Our Conservation Economics Fellows program selects 10 to 15 young economists per year and mentors them on conservation-focused research projects. The program delivers policy-relevant, technically rigorous research and enlarges the economics talent pool for key regions.
Picture of Marcela Aguirre

Marcela Aguirre

Southern Tropical Andes Fellows Program, Quito, Ecuador

Marcela Aguirre estimated the opportunity costs of avoided deforestation near the Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve in Ecuador. The results will guide the setting of the conservation payments actually currently by the Socio-Forest program. She is an economist who works in the Environmental Fund of Ecuador. This project was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Picture of Pierina Benites

Pierina Benites

Southern Tropical Andes Fellows Program, Lima, Perú

Pierina Benites conducted research to estimate the entrance fee to National Park Tingo Maria in Peru. This park is the third most visited in the country and current charges only apply to one of the many attractions of the park. The results will allow the charges to be adjusted to a demand function, which will contribute to greater revenues and more efficient management. Pierina is an economist at the Universidad Agraria La Molina in Peru. This project was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Elena Borasino

Southern Tropical Andes Fellows Program, Lima, Perú

Elena Borasino has estimated the environmental costs generated by the emission of greenhouse gases from hydroelectric dam Inambari. The 2,000 MW dam is the first of a series of hydroelectric dams planned in the Peruvian Amazon. The results indicate that the dam's construction and associated infrastructure would generate more emissions than alternative sources of electricity. Elena is an economist graduate from Pacific University in Peru and is pursuing a master's degree in economic development in the Netherlands. This project was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Picture of Sophia Espinoza

Sophia Espinoza

Southern Tropical Andes Fellows Program, Cochabamba, Bolivia

Sophia's research identifies the impacts of regulatory standards in hunting activities carried out by indigenous and peasant communities in Pilon Lajas National Park in Bolivia. The methods used in this study correspond to experimental economics and represent progress in implementing these tools in the region. Sophia is an graduate from the University of San Simon in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and holds a Masters in Economics from the University of Concepcion in Chile. This project was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Picture of Daniel Leguía

Daniel Leguía

Southern Tropical Andes Fellows Program, La Paz, Bolivia

Daniel Leguia has researched the opportunity costs of forest conservation within the margins of three roads in the Amazon region of Bolivia. The results are expressed in terms of cost per ton of carbon dioxide emissions avoided through forest conservation. This data can be used for the design of a REDD project or any financial incentive for conservation. Daniel is an economist graduate from Catholic University in La Paz, Bolivia. This project was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Picture of Carlos Solís

Carlos Solís

Southern Tropical Andes Fellows Program, La Paz, Bolivia

Carlos Solís' research was an econometric analysis to guide strategy for the expansion of tourism in the North of La Paz, Bolivia. The study evaluated the tourism demand for three sites - Madidi, Pilon Lajas and Yucuma Pampas. The results of this research will guide decision makers in shaping policies that will encourage an increase in flow of tourists to Pilon Lajas. These recommendations will be aimed to complement the attractions of the other two areas. Carlos is an economist who has a degree from the Universidad Mayor de San Simon in Cochabamba. He received an award from his university for the best thesis in economics in 2010. This project was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Picture of Venetia Hargreaves-Allen

Venetia Hargreaves-Allen

CSF Research Fellow, Nassau, Bahamas

Venetia is conducting environmental economics research in the Bahamas in partnership with the Bahamas National Trust and The Nature Conservancy. This research follows successfully completion of doctoral research with CSF in Belizean marine protected areas. She was recently a visiting scholar with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego and with the Marine Biology department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prior to pursuing her PhD, Venetia conducted economic and ecological fieldwork in the Caribbean, Indonesia and the Indian Ocean, filmed and produced conservation films for audiences in Kenya and Indonesia, and was a researcher and writer for The Ecologist Magazine. She holds a Bachelors in Biological Sciences from Oxford University and a Masters and PhD in Environmental Economics and Politics from the Imperial College London.

Picture of Pablo David Campoverde Varela

Pablo David Campoverde Varela

Fellow 2012-2013: Cooperation and Incentives to preserve the Amazon forest in Kichwa communities: An analysis from experimental economics, Ecuador

David has been selected for technical support proposed by Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) and within the framework of the Scholars Program of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA), a program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

David's research analyzes, through experimental economics, community cooperation and economic incentives as institutional arrangements to preserve the Amazon Rainforest of indigenous Ecuadorian communities.

The study results will provide important information about the behavior of communities to the application of different policies and can help affect government decision-making. In addition, this research will help with the creation of awareness workshops with communities about the conservation value of resources and environmental services they own.

David finished his studies in the Economics Department at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE) in 2012, specializing in natural resource management. He worked as a research associate at his university since 2010 and is currently a research associate at the Observatory of Social and Environmental Policy – PUCE. There, he collects and processes information to report on management and development in the environmental area, develops methodologies environmental policy, and monitors and reports on the national and international situation regarding environmental issues

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Picture of Enrique de la Montaña Andrés

Enrique de la Montaña Andrés

Fellow 2012-2013: Economic evaluation of wildlife hunting for food and illegal trade in the Amazon region of northeastern Ecuador, Ecuador

Enrique has been selected for technical support proposed by Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) and within the framework of the Scholars Program of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA), a program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

His research analyzes the economics of both the illegal trading as well as the household consumption of bushmeat, in order to identify management strategies that guarantee hunting sustainability and can help maintain the lifestyles of indigenous people. He and his team will evaluate economic relevance and sustainability of bushmeat in some indigenous communities of Ecuador, as well as the impact of key economic parameters on off-takes of bushmeat through a model of hunter behavior.

Enrique has both a PhD in Ecology and a Master’s degree in Global Change and Sustainable Development from the University of Alcalá in Spain. His research and work are focused in Conservation Biology, as he works to combine human activities with conservation planning. He has experience working on threatened species conservation projects where traditional resources use is a key tool as well a conservation goal itself.

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Karin Cecilia Gonzales

Fellow 2012-2013: Valuation and simulation of the attributes of the Cordillera Escalera Regional Conservation Area in the field of micro-basin Shilcayo for consumers of drinking water in the city of Tarapoto, Perú, Perú

Karin has been selected for technical support proposed by Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) and within the framework of the Scholars Program of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA), a program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

This study tries to understand how downstream water users need, identify, assess, and associate any of the attributes of drinking water service in Tarapoto, Peru with the conservation of water in Cordillera Escalera Regional Conservation Area. This will permit Karin and her team to implement a payment system for environmental hydrological services in the area, or any other space that involves these same consumers.

The team expects that people will be able to identify some relationship between the quality of their sanitation service and the maintenance of the environment, and decide with some environmental awareness and economic rationality how much they are willing to pay for both of them.

Karin received her bachelor’s degree in Statistics from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, and later went on to obtain a Master’s degree in Demography and Population at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia. She has more than 12 years of experience in analysis and coordination of quantitative studies. She has participated in the designing of samples, formulation of instruments for data collection, data statistics modeling, creating indicators and reporting on these findings. Currently, she is working as a consultant in market research and socio-environmental studies for the extractive sector.

Picture of Sandra Viviana Zamora Rivera

Sandra Viviana Zamora Rivera

Fellow 2012-2013: Opportunity cost analysis of early implementation of REDD+ in the Ariari-Guejar-Cafre sector, Department of Meta, Colombia

Viviana has been selected for technical support proposed by Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) and within the framework of the Scholars Program of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA), a program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

She and her team are going to analyze the opportunity cost of early implementation of REDD+ on the Ariari-Guejar-Cafre sector in the department of Meta, to provide technical and economic data to enrich the analysis of drivers and agents of deforestation. Her research will be used in the process of formulating the project design document of this initiative, by estimating the profitability and net benefit of land use, trend analysis of changes in use, and the estimation and mapping of opportunity costs.

She’ll be coordinating the development of activities during the investigation such as the application of socioeconomic survey tools, estimation of carbon content in forests of the region, and analyzing the results of socializing with communities. She looks forward to this incredible opportunity and to learning as much as possible.

Previously, Sandra was a field coordinator who worked implementing an early REDD initiative. She also held an influential position in the National Park Sierra de la Macarena in Colombia. She is a forest engineer and a currently working to complete her Master’s degree at the University of Buenos Aires in Natural Resources. She has 8 years of professional experience working in education, environmental awareness, conservation, and the development of environmental management plans. She has been involved with the National Parks System of Colombia since 2006, working on ecological restoration in protected areas. Over the last two years, she has provided technical support for the early implementation process of a REDD mechanism in the Ariari-Guejar-Cafre sector of Colombia.

Picture of Paula Andrea Zuluaga

Paula Andrea Zuluaga

Fellow 2012-2013: Behavior of fishermen under different institutional arrangements in the Inirida Fluvial Star, Colombian Amazon, Colombia

Paula has been selected for technical support proposed by Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) and within the framework of the Scholars Program of the  Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA), a program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Fisheries in the Amazon are a fundamental element of life in communities, not only because they guarantee food security but because of their cultural and traditional importance. This is the case of the indigenous communities of the “Inirida Fluvial Star” (IFS), in the Department of Guania, Colombia, where fisheries are a source of both food and income, given the commercial value of ornamental fish species in the area. The importance of its fisheries, the singularity of its ecosystems, and the existing threats to its sustainability have motivated the protection and conservation of the IFS.

WWF Colombia and the National Authority of Aquaculture and Fishing (AUNAP) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support the development and formalization of fisheries management agreements among the IFS communities. This investigation is framed on this WWF-AUNAP MoU, and aims to study the behavior of IFS fishermen under different institutional arrangements that could be included in formal fisheries management plans.

To do so, Paula and her team will use experimental economics, participatory methodologies and an agents-based model. Paula is an ecologist with experience in natural resource management within rural communities.

She has experience using quantitative and qualitative methodologies, such as experimental economics, surveys, interviews, systems dynamic modeling, agents modeling and participatory methodologies. She has specific expertise in identifying socio-ecological conflicts, supporting the process of developing fisheries agreements, and in conducting studies about water use and management in rural communities in Colombia.

Picture of Guillermo Miguel Carlos Gómez

Guillermo Miguel Carlos Gómez

Fellow 2013-2014: Estimating economic losses due to the effects of climate change and correlation with the index of vulnerability of Indigenous Communities in the central forests of Peru, Peru

Guillermo has been selected for technical support proposed by Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) and within the framework of the Scholars Program of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA), a program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The indigenous communities in the central forests of Peru have limited economic and social development due to the difficulties in implementing improvements in these regions. Due to the extreme effects of climate change and their vulnerability to climate-related events, these economically disadvantaged communities cannot sufficiently adapt to changing weather events. Guillermo's research seeks to efficiently evaluate the vulnerability of these indigenous communities to the effects of climate change, and to determine the economic costs associated with this vulnerability. The objectives are the following: to identify and evaluate the economic losses; propose a methodology to assess vulnerability according to the local reality and physical-environmental indicators; and to estimate the index and produce maps of the vulnerability. Using this index, Guillermo will determine the economic value of the losses caused by climate change using historical data and climate scenarios. The generation of this information, distinct to each community, will be used to support the reorientation of investments and reduce vulnerability.

Guillermo Carlos completed his undergraduate studies in Forestry and Environmental Engineering at Universidad Nacional del Centro del Perú and holds a Master’s degree in Disaster Risk Management and Social Responsibility from Universidad Continental de Ciencias e Ingeniería. He has conducted research on community vulnerability to droughts, water scarcity, and the water infiltration into geological basins. He also works as a consultant on risk, hydrology and the formulation public investment projects.

Picture of Daniel Guerrero Bedoya

Daniel Guerrero Bedoya

Fellow 2013-2014: Evaluation of the opportunity costs of avoided ornamental fisheries in the Estrella River in the Inírida region of the Colombian Amazon, Colombia

Daniel has been selected for technical support proposed by Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) and within the framework of the Scholars Program of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA), a program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The goal of his project is to estimate the economic impact on ornamental fisheries caused by a reduction in ornamental fishing in the Estrella River region after implementing conservation strategies and sustainable resource management. The Estrella River river comprises 283,000 hectares and contains high levels of endemism and biodiversity. It also accounts for about 50% of Colombia's ornamental fisheries. The economic implications will include opportunity costs such as income that would have been derived from economic activity in communities who follow the conservation guidelines. This lost revenue becomes a direct opportunity cost to non-resource use and needs to be evaluated to determine a benchmark for compensation for the families involved.

Daniel holds a Master's degree in Economics with a focus on Natural Resource Economics and Hydrobiological Fishing. He began his research in this field by designing a bio-economic model for the extraction of Anadara tuberculosis in the municipality of Tumaco, Colombia. From 2007-2013, he worked at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali teaching microeconomic theory to both undergraduate and graduate students. He has also worked as a research assistant in the field and has designed economic experiments to apply in the Gulf of Tribugá Nuquí, Colombia.

Picture of Marco Renán Robles Morillo

Marco Renán Robles Morillo

Fellow 2013-2014: Strengthening the incentives for forest conservation in Ecuador, Ecuador

Marco has been selected for technical support proposed by Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) and within the framework of the Scholars Program of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA), a program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

His research will analyze aspects of the Socio Bosque conservation implementation scheme and determine how to increase its impact in areas of agricultural expansion in the province of Orellana, an area which is managed by both indigenous and non-indigenous populations under individual ownership schemes. The aim of the research is to obtain information on the opportunity costs of adopting conservation incentives and to analyze production systems and other factors that influence or limit the adoption of incentives for forest conservation.

Marco has over fifteen years of academic and professional experience and has worked on projects related to conservation and management of natural resources, specifically forests and moors, in countries such as Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru. He has worked for the Ministry of Environment in Ecuador, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Organization of Tropical Timber, Conservation International Ecuador, The Nature Conservancy, EcoCiencia, University of Freiburg, and the Institute for the Ecological Development of the Amazon Region (ECORAE). He currently works as a professor in environmental biology at the Universidad Internacional del Ecuador and is an independent consultant for government agencies as well as NGOs. His interests revolve around the analysis, design and formulation of proposals to allow rural communities to manage their natural resource use while considering long-term impacts. He is particularly interested in the design and evaluation of incentive schemes for the conservation and management of forests and other natural resources, as well as monitoring processes to analyze the impact of conservation policies and management practices in natural resource use. Marco completed his undergraduate studies in Geographical Engineering, holds a Master's degree in Environmental Socioeconomics. He is currently pursuing his doctoral studies at the University of Freiburg, Germany, where he is researching local timber resource use by small farmers in the Amazon.

Picture of Javier Gustavo Montoya Zumaeta

Javier Gustavo Montoya Zumaeta

Fellow 2013-2014: Designing incentives for forest conservation Nanay basin, Peru

Javier has been selected for technical support proposed by Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) and within the framework of the Scholars Program of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA), a program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

His research project takes place in the Nanay basin, which provides drinking water to Iquitos, the most populous city in the lower Peruvian Amazon. His research will contribute to a database that combines GIS data with statistical and econometric estimates to help design an effective system of incentives for forest conservation. The results will be used to model projected deforestation in the basin, estimate socioeconomic impacts on the inhabitants, and produce guidelines for the design of an incentive strategy for forest conservation in the area.

Javier has six years of professional experience, primarily in rural areas of the Peruvian Amazon, where he participated in various applied research projects in the context of conservation incentives, the sustainable management of biodiversity, and agricultural innovation. He has also taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has worked for various organizations including the Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon (IIAP), Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), the WWF's Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN), and the World Agroforestry Centre. He currently serves as a technical advisor to the Sustainable Rural Development Programme of the German Development Cooperation (GiZ) in collaboration with the Peruvian Ministry of Environment on the application of economic instruments for managing natural capital. Javier obtained his Master's degree in Environmental Socioeconomics at CATIE in Costa Rica and completed his undergraduate studies at the Universidad Nacional de la Amazonía Peruana (UNAP), where he specialized in Economic Valuation of Natural Heritage in collaboration with the Universidad del Pacífico (UP).

Picture of Janeth Lessmann Escalona

Janeth Lessmann Escalona

Fellow 2013-2014: Integrating economic costs to determine priority areas for species conservation in the Western Amazon

Janeth has been selected for technical support proposed by Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) and within the framework of the Scholars Program of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA), a program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Her research project will identify priority areas for conservation in the Amazon region of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, with the objective to increase the diversity of protected species in the area at the least possible opportunity cost. Sets of birds, amphibians, mammals and plant species will be selected as conservation targets and their estimated distributions will be established using niche models. Both management and opportunity costs associated with the establishment of reserves will be evaluated.

For almost three years, Janeth has been working in Venezuela and Ecuador on GIS projects to determine potential threats, levels of biodiversity, and to identify priority areas for conservation. Her master's thesis, which examined the protection of different areas in Ecuador based on species diversity, used software distribution models to design the protected areas. This sparked her interest in the field, and in 2012 she began working as a researcher in GIS at the Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica in Ecuador. She has worked on projects understanding patterns of species diversity in the Ecuadorian Amazon, documenting oil expansion in this region, and identifying conservation alternatives within the context of the expanding mining industry. She currently works as a GIS research associate in a conservation project in the Napo Basin in the Ecuadorian Amazon, led by Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica and Universidad San Francisco de Quito.

This project will attempt to characterize environmental and biodiversity patterns and offer a portfolio of conservation alternatives for this important watershed. She completed her undergraduate studies at Universidad Simón Bolívar in Venezuela, and earned her Master's degree in Biodiversity in Tropical Areas and International Conservation at Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo in Spain. She hopes to continue her professional growth in the study of biodiversity and increasingly integrate economic and social elements into her studies to generate both feasible and effective conservation proposals.

Picture of Isaí Victorino Cubillos

Isaí Victorino Cubillos

Fellow 2013-2014: Development of an economic incentive scheme for wildlife-derived ecosystem services, Colombia

Isaí has been selected for technical support proposed by Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) and within the framework of the Scholars Program of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA), a program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

His research project seeks to design a PES strategy as well as to determine economic incentives for conservation in Churuco, Colombia. The project will also identify the opportunity costs incurred by the inhabitants of the community as they take action to promote primate conservation. Isaí's project also seeks to identify the willingness to pay (WTP) for wildlife viewing, and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of this ecosystem service as a conservation tool.

Isaí is an ecologist who specializes in the issues of environmental governance and ecosystem management. He has experience in the design and implementation of integrated strategies for the management and conservation of ecosystems and ecosystem services. He has led the design of management plans in Indigenous Territories, considering the needs of all the stakeholders in the region. He has also co-led the design and implementation of payments for ecosystem services, and analyzed the environmental policy of the 1993 Colombian Law 99 and the national REDD+ strategy. He has worked on the design, analysis and implementation of socio-economic monitoring, as well as biological and environmental valuation studies in the Amazon Basin. He has worked as an independent consultant for numerous NGOs, from international organizations to small to small indigenous groups. He has substantial knowledge of participatory tools for building constructive dialogue amongst various indigenous groups, farmers and public and private stakeholders. He currently works developing activities for the group PROTERRA, leading the design and implementation of REDD+ strategies with indigenous people with OPIAC, supporting the construction of the environmental strategy of EPM with the support of WWF, and co-leading the project "State of the Art of Knowledge of Wetlands" in Colombia.

Picture of Diego J. Lizcano

Diego J. Lizcano

Fellow 2013-2014: Effects of complexity and institutional weakness on deforestation in the Andean Amazon

Diego has been selected for technical support proposed by Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) and within the framework of the Scholars Program of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA), a program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

His research focuses on the identification of theoretical and econometric models driving the processes that effect deforestation patterns, with an emphasis on institutional and government factors as underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation.

Diego is biologist from Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia and has a doctoral degree in Biodiversity from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology in the University of Kent, UK. His research interests are wide including mammals, habitat use, conservation biology and forest. Several of his researches have been focus on his favorite species, the mountain tapir. Diego was professor and director of the biology department in Universidad de Pamplona at Colombia and visiting fellow in the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network at Conservation International, where he developed analytic tools to study and monitoring terrestrial vertebrates using camera traps. He is also an avid photographer.