Partnerships & Research Opportunities

TRI encourages students to work with partner organisations or institutions to conduct their research. These organisations are often best-placed to identify questions that are among the most complex challenges confronting the conservation and management of tropical environments and natural resources, as well as projects that are achievable in one summer of research. TRI partners can also provide essential logistical support and advice for working in often remote areas of the world.

Below are partner institutions that have active research collaborations with TRI, and we encourage students to consider working this them. For related information about TRI research funding, see TRI Fellowships. Additional opportunities (not endorsed by TRI) are listed in Other Research Opportunities. Viewers may also wish to learn about current TRI Fellows and their work. Contact the TRI Program Managers for more information on these opportunities.

  • Environmental Leadership & Training Initiative
  • The Forest Dialogue
  • World Resources Institute
  • CATIE: The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center


The Environmental Leadership & Training Initiative (ELTI) contributes to the conservation and restoration of forest ecosystems and biodiversity in tropical regions of Latin America and Asia. ELTI achieves this by providing policy makers, individuals in technical positions, community representatives, indigenous leaders, and other key actors from relevant sectors of society with the knowledge, tools, skills, and contacts to advance the protection and management of these systems. ELTI’s long-term field sites are ideal locations in which to conduct research that addresses key questions in the conservation and management of tropical resource and environments. Please see the links below for specific project suggestions.


Panama’s Azuero Peninsula: This site in Panama draws upon 15 years of F&ES research with STRI in the Azuero Peninsula, a largely deforested dry tropical ecosystem that is a mosaic landscape dominated by cattle ranching and other agricultural practices. Tropical dry forests are the most endangered ecosystem in the Neotropics, with only 1.7% of the original cover remaining in Central America (Calvo-Alvarado et al., 2009). The conventional cattle ranching practices that dominate this region traditionally involved removing and burning forests, applying herbicides and planting of exotic pasture grasses, which are then often overgrazed. These practices have severely degraded the provision and regulation of the region’s ecosystem services, which as a result has also decreased on-farm productivity. ELTI is working to ameliorate these impacts with local landholders by integrating more forest cover in these landscapes via riparian forest restoration, agroforestry and silvopastoral systems. Since 2009, ELTI has collaborated with the Center for Research in Sustainable Production Systems (CIPAV) in Colombia to build the capacity of landholders in the region to practice sustainable farming and ranching practices, many of whom are now implementing these practices in their farms. Regional landowners that participated in ELTI’s Training and Leadership Programs formed one group in particular with the support of ELTI’s Leadership Program, the Association of Livestock and Agro-Silvopastoral Producers of Pedasi (APASPE). APASPE members (currently comprised of 38 landholders) have become leaders in implementing sustainable cattle ranching practices. They are implementing their second grant from the Global Environmental Facility’s (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) that focuses on recuperating riparian forests, native species reforestation and silvopastoral systems. APASPE now co-facilitates ELTI’s Ecological Restoration in Cattle Ranching Landscapes field courses in the region. In addition, APASPE members have received over 700 visitors to their farms, which have inspired the creation of other sustainable ranching associations and projects in the region. ELTI has a very strong relationship with APASPE members and, therefore, can facilitate student research projects with APASPE for those who are interested in themes that focus on restoration in human dominated landscapes. ELTI will integrate the results of the proposed student research projects into the field-based training program (contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)). Project details.


ELTI’s Indonesia permanent training site is a cooperative initiative of the ELTI, Balai Penelitian Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam (Balitek-KSDA, a branch of the Ministry of Forestry’s Forest Research & Development Agency), and Tropenbos International-Indonesia Programme (TBI, a Dutch nongovernmental organization). The training site is located around 1° S latitude and 157° E longitude in a lowland area of East Kalimantan, a province in the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo. The region is characterized by undulating hills and swampy depressions, which were historically covered by mixed hill dipterocarp forest. A significant percentage of the region’s forest was lost with the advent of large-scale logging in the late 1960s, followed by conversion to industrial timber and oil palm plantations, small-scale agriculture, and most recently coal mining. Large-scale fires have also had a lasting impact. The ELTI permanent training site consists of a network of smaller sites managed by partner organizations, including a 1800 ha forest restoration site owned by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (referred to as Samboja Lestari), a timber plantation and eco-tourism site managed by PT Inhutani I, Balitek-KSDA’s research forest, two protection forests managed by the city of Balikpapan, and PT Singlurus Pratama coal mine. ELTI has strong ties to these and other local organizations and can help facilitate research on a wide array of topics related to forest restoration and degraded land rehabilitation, payment for environmental services, community forestry, etc. ELTI has also begun collecting an extensive list of publications from the region, which can be made available on request (contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)). Project details.


ELTI’s permanent training site in the Philippines is located on the island of Leyte and is being developed in cooperation with the Institute of Tropical Ecology and Environmental Management of Visayas State University (VSU). ELTI has been working with VSU since 2008 to promote the dissemination of knowledge and skills on native species reforestation (locally known as “Rainforestation”). The permanent training site takes advantage of a series of demonstration sites that were developed in the 1990s, when VSU pioneered native species reforestation in the Philippines as part of a GIZ-supported project. Thirty-eight such demonstration sites were developed in cooperation with local community groups and private landowners, showing a number of different forest rehabilitation strategies, including those focused on biodiversity, timber production, agroforestry, and landslide risk abatement. These sites were established in a broader landscape matrix that consists largely of coconut monocultures, small-scale agriculture, and degraded uplands. ELTI is also working with VSU and other partners on the development of a Community-based Forest Ecology for Restoration Trail and a 50-ha Long-term Ecological Research plot in Silago, Southern Leyte, which constitutes one of the remaining primary forest areas on the island. VSU has hosted many foreign students in the past, including F&ES students, Tina Schneider and Erica Pohnan (2011); many of the resulting publications are available at (contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)). Project details.

The Forests Dialogue

The Forests Dialogue (TFD) was created in 1998 to provide international leaders in the forest sector with an ongoing, multi-stakeholder dialogue (MSD) platform and process focused on developing mutual trust, a shared understanding, and collaborative solutions to challenges in achieving sustainable forest management and forest conservation around the world.

The goal of TFD is to reduce conflict among stakeholders over the use and protection of vital forest resources. Over the past twelve years, TFD has brought together more than 2,500 diverse leaders to work through compelling forest issues in what we call Initiatives. TFD utilizes the multi-stakeholder dialogue (MSD) model to progress from building trust among participants to achieving substantive, tangible outcomes. A primary reason for TFD’s success is that participants are committed to advocate for and work to implement those consensus-based outcomes. TFD is governed by a steering committee composed of a diverse group of individuals representing key stakeholder perspectives from around the world. Project details

World Resources Institute

The World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization that works closely with leaders to turn big ideas into action to sustain a healthy environment—the foundation of economic opportunity and human well-being.

The WRI Global Restoration Initiative has three projects that would benefit greatly from collaboration with Yale expertise.

Global restoration initiative

Restoring lost forests and degraded lands is essential for human livelihoods and well-being, long-term food security, climate stability, and biodiversity conservation. In order to counteract land degradation and to improve livelihoods, we need to restore forests and increase the productivity of existing agricultural land at the same time. Only then can we create carbon intensive landscapes that are also diverse, productive, and resilient.

WRI’s Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) program aims to regain ecological integrity and enhance human well-being in deforested or damaged landscapes. Combining existing principles and techniques of development, conservation, and natural resource management, FLR integrates site-specific forest restoration activities with desired landscape-level objectives. WRI, in conjunction with its partners, is working to motivate, enable, and implement Forest and Landscape Restoration around the globe. Project details


The Centro Agronomico Tropical de Investigavion y Ensenanza (CATIE) is one of Latin America’s most well-respected institutions for education and applied work in sustainable agriculture, tropical natural resource management and rural development. CATIE has the oldest graduate program in agriculture and natural resources in Latin America (since 1946), and a training program with multiple course options, including the Cooperative Study Abroad Program. The institution has programs and professors studying a wide array of topics in sustainable agriculture and livestock, agroforestry, forest ecology and management, protected areas, value chains, watersheds and water resources, development practices, climate change science and planning—and it is home to dozens of programs that are putting this research to work to train professionals and improve the livelihoods of people throughout Central America.

Yale F&ES has a Memorandum of Understanding with CATIE. Under the CATIE-Yale F&ES agreement, interested students can: (1) Take a semester of graduate level courses at CATIE in any of the above topics (in Spanish); (2) Design and conduct research projects under the supervision of CATIE experts; (3) Propose an internship with one of CATIE’s dozens of applied programs throughout Central America or at headquarters in Turrialba, Costa Rica; or (4) Take advantage of CATIE’s facilities, which include laboratories, experimental farms and livestock operations, long-term permanent forest research plots, a botanical garden, tropical seed bank, and living facilities.

If you are interested in learning more about CATIE’s academic offerings, programs, or facilities, please explore the website. For a glimpse of the beautiful campus in Turrialba, watch this short flyover video. Individual researchers and projects have different capacity for interns and short-term research, so it is best to inquire directly with the program that interests you. F&ES alum can help you identify a point of contact with whom to explore options and craft a proposal and budget. A full list of courses is available upon request (in Spanish).

Owl Monkey Project of the Argentine Chaco

Dr. Fernandez-Duque (Department of Anthropology, Yale University) is pleased to invite student researchers to collaborate with us on studies of subtropical gallery forest ecology at our research site for Azara’s Owl Monkey, a center of multidisciplinary research since 1996. Project details

Updated: 2015-02-09