Nature and Culture International

Naturaleza y Cultura Internacional (; is a conservation NGO that protects biologically diverse ecosystems in Latin America in collaboration with local people.   NCI was founded in the southern Ecuadorian city of Loja in 1997 and has since expanded into six countries:  Ecuador, Perú, México, Colombia, Bolivia, and Brazil.  In its twenty years of existence, NCI has helped protect 5.6 million hectares of some of the world´s most biodiverse and endangered ecosystems.  

Naturaleza y Cultura Internacional (NCI) seeks student researchers to conduct biodiversity monitoring and research in the Andean, Amazonian, and Tumbesian dry forest ecosystems in southern Ecuador where NCI owns and manages nature reserves.   Students will have the opportunity to contribute significantly to development of NCI´s monitoring and adaptive management efforts, assessing the efficacy of our conservation programs and projects.   Specific priorities include development of relevant monitoring indicators and protocols for key ecosystems, monitoring of plant and animal species of conservation and/or economic importance, and monitoring financial and social impacts of various sustainable livelihoods projects.  See project descriptions for details of potential projects.   Students can also develop their own research projects in coordination with NCI staff, provided that they support and advance NCI´s conservation efforts.   

Please contact NCI's Matt Clark with questions.

Project 1

Assess population status and habitat usage of the Orange-throated Tanager (Wetmorethraupis sterrhopteron) in Nangaritza Valley in southeastern Ecuador.

Project 2

Assess local population status of the American Crocodile (Crocodilus acutus) along the Puyango River in NCI´s Cazaderos Reserve in southwestern Ecuador.

Project 3

Assess social and financial impacts of Palo Santo sustainable livelihoods project in NCI´s La Ceiba Reserve in southwestern Ecuador.

Project 4

Analysis of financial sustainability and replication potential of achiote sustainable livelihoods project near NCI´s Jamboe Reserve in Zamora Chinchipe Province. 

Project 5

Rapid bio-assessment (species lists) of new land purchases in Nangaritza Valley in southeastern Ecuador.