Jeffrey Stoike, PhD

2012 TRI Fellow in Brazil

Cultivating Conservation: A Political Ecology of the Restoration of Atlantic Forest of Brazil


The Atlantic Forest Restoration Pact (AFRP) is an expanding network of over 200 governmental, NGO and research organizations which together are currently undergoing attempts to restore native forest cover on 150,000 km2 of pasture and agricultural lands in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest over the next 35 years. My doctoral dissertation research examines the origins, processes and impacts of the political negotiations that underlie how the Atlantic Forest is re-conceptualized and biologically reconstructed.  The TRI award enabled me to extend my stay in the field in order to both deepen data collection at pre-existing sites, as well as establish new sites.  My fieldwork during this period included institutional-level study (NGO, government, funding agencies) and events, as well as rural field sites where projects are being implemented.  Driving my selection of restoration projects was a concern for including high-profile projects, projects that worked with so-called ‘traditional communities’ or agrarian reform settlements, as well as projects that were situated in areas of ‘ecological transition’ with neighboring biomes such as the Cerrado plains to the west, the semi-arid Caatinga to the north and the Pampas grasslands to the south.  While I was centrally concerned with native restoration projects that are signatories of the Atlantic Forest Restoration Pact, I did not limit myself to them exclusively. Network lines were traced across the Atlantic Forest, with emphasis on how actors are linked either materially or discursively through meetings, debates and project implementation.