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I thought you would be interested in this article from environment: YALE magazine, the Journal of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
By Steve Kemper
The Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama have joined forces in a novel initiative to improve the management and protection of tropical forests in Latin America and Southeast Asia. Funded by a five-year, $4.8 million grant from the Arcadia Foundation, this collaborative program, called the Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative (ELTI), is unique in its focus, target audience and emphasis on practical action.
In recent decades most conservation programs have concentrated on saving forests and biodiversity through parks and other protected areas, but ELTI is taking a different tack.
“What about all the biodiversity—which is the majority of it—that falls outside of these areas?” says Eva Garen ’97, Ph.D. ’05, ELTI’s coordinator for Latin America and a research associate at F&ES. “What can you do to protect those resources, which are basically working landscapes, while also understanding that people are integral parts of them?”
Those questions have shaped ELTI’s unusual approach to forest conservation. ELTI recognizes that many of the decisive campaigns against deforestation and its associated environmental perils—floods, drought, climate change, loss of biodiversity—will occur outside of protected areas.
“These working forests sustain local livelihoods and local communities,” says Mark Ashton ’85, Ph.D. ’90, Morris K. Jesup Professor of Silviculture and Forest Ecology at F&ES, who leads ELTI’s steering committee. “But they are under considerable threat from outside market forces through such things as logging and plantation agriculture.”
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