e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Past Recipients of Tropical Social Forestry Fund Award


Joanna Isadora Lumbsden Pinto


Isaias Martinez

2011 - 2015

No award was bestowed.


Haroun-Al-Rashid I. Jaji. Managing Conflict and Natural Resources in Conflict-Affected Watersheds in the Philippines: The Case of Agusan River Basin. PhD student in Environmental and Natural Resources Policy Program, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science & Forestry, Syracuse

Differences in the use of natural resources by people in many places have often caused conflict in a society. This is increasing and intensifying in the Philippines and in a majority of the rural areas has escalated to violence as manifested in the country’s insurgency problem, which is deeply rooted in the mismanagement of natural resources. The dimension, level, and intensity of conflicts vary from one place to another. Conflicts over natural resources generally cause “environmental degradation, disrupt projects and undermine livelihoods.”[1]

In the Philippines, problems related to natural resources are exerting tremendous pressure on society as a whole. Watersheds, which are a source of livelihood for rural communities, are continually degraded causing significant contribution to poverty, inequality, and loss of livelihood. The need to come up with an innovative approach to address the deteriorating problem of natural resources management is deemed imperative. Resource management through an integrated basin approach is indeed necessary to address the multidimensional problems brought about by human-environment interaction. This scenario is fairly exemplified by the Agusan River Basin which is the case under study. The problems in the basin are compounded by rapid population growth, demands for raw materials in the region, unsustainable agricultural practices, and inconsistencies in government policies.

Keywords: watershed, resource management, conflict management

[1] Food and Agriculture Organization, Conflict and Natural Resource Management, (Rome,Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization, 2005), 1-2.


No award was bestowed.


Toledo-Bruno, Angela Grace. 2009. Community water resource governance in Bukidnon, Philippines. Ph.D. student in Environmental and Natural Resources Policy Program, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science & Forestry, Syracuse.

Water governance illustrates some levels of complexity due to the equally complex dimensions of water – physical, chemical, biological, social, cultural, economics and political. Linking these dimensions can provide a deeper understanding of the role of governance in management and in sustaining the services of the water resources.

This study focuses on water governance in two communities in Bukidnon, Philippines. It is hypothesized that governance illustrates the link between values, institutions and management. Over time, governance changes in response to the changes in the water quality and quantity of the water resource/river, in a sense applying the concept of adaptive management, to improve or maintain the resource through institutions and management. The social-ecological approach of this study will utilize quantitative and qualitative research methods. Output of the study will hopefully contribute to the growing body of knowledge on water governance and provide input into the water governance of the community to be able to sustain the functions and services of their water resources.


Townsend, Jason. 2007. A socio-economic and environmental assessment of organic versus conventional cacao agroforestry in the Dominica Republic. Ph.D. dissertation, State University of New York,  College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse.

My research focuses on the overwinter ecology of migratory birds in the Dominican Republic.  Part of this research includes a comparison of bird abundance between intact rainforest and agroforestry cacao plantations.  Agroforestry projects can act as a forested buffer for remnant blocks of intact rainforest and provide an important alternative to slash-and-burn agriculture.  To encourage agroforestry cacao plantations in the areas immediately surrounding 2 scientific reserves in northeastern Dominican Republic, I am working with a colleague at the University of Vermont to import USDA certified organic cocoa powder.  We are able to offer farmers a premium price for growing in a sustainable manner.  In addition, portions of the proceeds from the sale of each tin go to The Bicknell’s Thrush Habitat Preservation Fund, a payment-for-ecosystems-services mitigation fund established to purchase conservation lands in the Dominican Republic.  Support from the Tropical Social Forestry Fund will go toward expanding this effort to improve the livelihood of Dominican farmers who engage in sustainable agroforestry.

Keywords: agroforestry, cacao, Bicknell’s Thrush, Dominican Republic


Buchholz, Thomas. 2007. Designing short rotation coppice based BIOenergy SYstems for Rural Communities in East Africa (BIOSYRCA). Ph.D. student in bioenergy sustainability assessment, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse.

Access to modern energy services, such as electricity, is crucial in order to achieve development goals of poverty reduction, improved education, and environmental sustainability.  However, in Uganda, about 84 percent of households are located in rural areas, but less than 1 percent of them have access to modern energy services.  East Africa has one of the greatest potentials for energy biomass production in the world.  The objective of the BIOSYRCA project was to conduct a feasibility study assessing the potential for a bioenergy system using biomass from fuelwood plantations to generate electricity at the Kwangali settlement in Uganda. 

I assessed feedstock supply, biomass conversion technology, socio-economic factors of the settlement, and overall sustainability of such a system.  Tree species with the ability to resprout after being cut (coppice) and native to Kwangali were investigated with regards to their fuelwood potential.  I studied a biomass gasifier producing electricity at an Ugandan tea plantation and investigated its application potential for Kyangwali.  In Kyangwali, I worked with local stakeholders and decision makers to integrate their views on sustainability in a bioenergy impact assessment for the community.  Preliminary results suggest Kyangwali to be a promising site for a bioenergy pilot project.

Keywords: bioenergy, sustainability, short rotation coppice, rural electrification, Uganda


Castello, Leandro. 2007. Ecology and Conservation of the pirarucu (Arapaima gigas) in the Amazonian Floodplains. Ph.D. Candidate in Conservation Biology, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse.

This PhD study addresses the conservation of the giant pirarucu (Arapaima gigas), a top-of-the-web fish endemic to the Amazon basin that is vulnerable to extinction though overfishing.  This study will generate information on: (1) the migration, nesting ecology, and population dynamics of pirarucu, (2) the knowledge of local fishers and their integration into management, and (3) the production potential of food and non-food products of the Amazon floodplains where pirarucu live. All of these results will contribute to the conservation of both the pirarucu and the Amazonian floodplains.

Keywords: Arapaima gigas, pirarucu, Amazon floodplains


Boley, Jeremy D. 2005. Soil chemistry under primary forest, active pasture, teak (Tectona grandis) and mixed native plantations in Costa Rica. Master of Science thesis, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse. 119 pages.

Former cattle ranchers in Costa Rica can opt to establish teak or mixed native plantations on abandoned pastures, yet the plantations' effect on soil fertility or their capacity to rehabilitate degraded sites may vary. In this study, soil samples from the O/A and B horizons were analyzed from a chronosequence of primary forests, active pastures, and 10-year-old teak and mixed native plantations. Significantly higher base forming cation concentrations were found in the teak plantation compared to primary forest (Mg, K in the B horizon) and active pasture (Ca in the O/A horizon). SOC concentration was significantly higher in the active pasture than in the teak plantation. SOC content in the O/A horizon was highest in the primary forest, lower in the plantations, and lowest in the active pasture. Total SOC content (O/A + B horizons) was similar for all land uses. Bulk density was significantly lower in the primary forest than all other land uses. Teak plantations had more high fertility plots than other land uses, but this may be a result of management activities. The importance of understory recruitment in nutrient cycling with respect to forest fertility and forest restoration is discussed.

Keywords: Tectona grandis, soil chemistry, soil fertility, abandoned pastures, mixed native plantation, Costa Rica


Simmonds, Derek C. 2005. Implementing Natural-Resource Based Enterprise Projects in Malawi. Master of Science thesis, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse. 126 pages.

One technique for donor organizations to encourage non-degrading uses of natural ecosystems that provide direct cash benefits to local communities is by promoting Natural Resource Based Enterprise projects. This research identifies factors that effect the implementation and outcomes of these projects in Malawi, focusing more narrowly on how community participation affects these outcomes. Fieldwork utilized key informant interviews with project stakeholders and PRA techniques to provide data on the seven projects examined in this report. Project documents and reports were also collected for these projects. The analysis uses a multiple case study approach to compare and contrast the various projects, identifying four factors that effect project implementation - Participation Level, Complexity, Commitment and Potential Corruption. The research goes on to document their impacts on the three major outcomes - Livelihoods, Environmental Protection and Community Empowerment.

Keywords: Community Based Natural Resource Management, Africa, Participation,

Malawi, Natural Resource Based Enterprise Projects


Gutiérrez-Mariscal, Liliana. 2003. Public Participation in Mexican Biosphere Reserves: A Comparative Case Study. Master of Science thesis, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse.

An appropriate conservationist strategy in México should be multi-objective to integrate the environmental with the social, cultural and economic factors. Hence, it is critical to achieve meaningful public participation. This work reviews the evolution of the Mexican environmental policy framework that controls the utilization of public participation: analyzes selected examples of public participation in Natural Protected Areas ( NPAs); and examines the appropriateness of research methods designed to assess the role of public participation in US and Canadian cases, for use in Mexican settings. A comparative case study in two NPAs (Mariposa Monarca and Ría Largartos) in México was used. It was observed that in both scenarios public participation shares common features. This work shows that lessons from previous experiences may not translate directly to a different economic and cultural context and that there is no consensus among sectors as to whether the local/indigenous public actively participates in the policymaking.

Keywords: Public Participation; Case Studies; Natural Protected Areas; México.