My research draws from political ecology to explore the conflict over the Alto Mayo Protected Forest, a national protected area in Peruvian Amazonia that is co-managed by Conservation International and the Peruvian National Service of Protected Areas. While conservation initiatives with participating farmers living in the park may have slowed deforestation over the past decade, many other farmers in the protected area oppose the park administration, viewing it as a threat to their land rights and livelihoods.
Through semi-structured interviews and other qualitative social science methods, my research seeks to understand how and why local farmers of Andean origin, state officials, indigenous Awajún people, and conservation NGO staff construct different narratives of the same landscape and its inhabitants. The case study examines how conservation projects in the Alto Mayo, funded by international corporate investments in the carbon market, potentially impact the lives and livelihoods of local people, and how a seemingly local environmental conflict is tied to national and global political and economic processes.
This research is conducted in partnership with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). In San Martín, I presented preliminary findings to the Alto Mayo Protected Forest Management Committee, and contributed to the development of a CIFOR tool that multi-stakeholder forums on land use can use to self-monitor for effectiveness and equity. I am also collaborating with CIFOR on research about the livelihood and land tenure security challenges indigenous Amazonian communities face in Peru, even after they receive formal title; we analyze these challenges through the lens of environmental (in)justice.