Oliver T. Coomes
I work on issues related to environment and development in tropical forests and forest communities of Latin America, including peasant livelihoods, forest resource use, the forest-poverty nexus, land cover change, adaptation to environmental change, and agrobiodiversity. At the moment, I have three research projects underway.
Peruvian Amazon Rural Livelihoods and Poverty (PARLAP) project
The Peruvian Amazon Rural Livelihoods and Poverty (PARLAP) Project is an international collaboration led by myself, Dr. Yoshito Takasaki at the University of Tokyo and Dr. Christian Abizaid (U. of Toronto) which examines the linkages between linkages between the environment, rural livelihoods, and poverty and their implications for conservation and development. We draw on the most extensive rural community and household survey as yet undertaken in Amazonia and complement these data with information derived from remote sensing and GIS analyses of natural resource availability. Findings from this research promise to provide policy-relevant insights for conservation and poverty alleviation, and among some of the most vulnerable peoples in Amazonia. For more information, see: https://parlap.geog.mcgill.ca/
Peasant Responses to Environmental Change
For the past 30 years, I have been following an unusual case of abrupt environmental change associated with the capture of a long reach of a blackwater (nutrient poor) river by a whitewater (nutrient rich) river in the Peruvian Amazon. My focus in this long-term study is on how peasants respond to new resource use and livelihood opportunities by changes in the hydrological and edaphic conditions along the floodplain.
Floodplain Agriculture in the Peruvian Amazon: Potential and Prospects
As the pressure on Amazonian forests builds, the search for more sustainable agricultural development pathways has intensified. The floodplain of the Amazon River and its Andean tributaries has considerable potential for agricultural development but remains sparsely used and studied. Moreover, we have found that access to floodplain soils can reduce pressure on upland forests and prevent them being cleared for agriculture. In this project we are assessing the potential of the floodplains in the northeastern Peruvian Amazon for agricultural production to provide information needed to develop risk mitigation tools for farmers.
- Coomes, O.T., Y. Takasaki and C. Abizaid. 2022. “Access to floodplain resources spares old-growth forests in Amazonia”, Nature Sustainability
- Takasaki, Y., O.T. Coomes, C. Abizaid and M. Kalacska. 2022. “Landscape-scale concordance between local ecological knowledge for tropical wild species and remote sensing of land cover”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 119(40): e2116446119
- Langill, J., C. Abizaid, Y. Takasaki and O.T. Coomes. 2022. “Integrated multi-scalar analysis of vulnerability to environmental hazards: evidence from extreme flooding in western Amazonia” Global Environmental Change 76, 102585
- Takasaki, Y., O.T. Coomes and C. Abizaid. 2022. “COVID-19 information and self-protective behaviors among rural communities in tropical forests” BMC Public Health 22:1394
- Coomes, O.T., T.R. Moore, S. Breau and C. Abizaid. 2022. “The academic job market in US Geography and the business cycle: the long shadow of the 2007-09 recession” The Professional Geographer 74(4): 602-619
- Florez Bossio, C., O.T. Coomes and J. Ford. 2022. “What motivates urban dwellers to adapt to water insecurity? An empirical study from Lima, Peru” Environmental Science and Policy 136: 136-146.
- Abizaid, C., O.T. Coomes and Y. Takasaki. 2022. “Lifeways and currents of change in the Peruvian Amazon: A 1000 km boat journey down the Ucayali River” Focus on Geography 65.
- Kalacska, M., J.P. Arroyo-Mora, O.T. Coomes, Y. Takasaki and C. Abizaid. 2022. “Multi-temporal surface water classification for four major rivers from the Peruvian Amazon” Data 7, 6.
- Zayonc, D. and O.T. Coomes. 2022. “Who is the expert? Evaluating local ecological knowledge for assessing wildlife depletion in the Peruvian Amazon” Conservation Science and Practice 4: e600.
- Coomes, O.T., M. Kalacska, Y. Takasaki, C. Abizaid and T. Grupp. 2022. “Smallholder agriculture results in stable forest cover in riverine Amazonia” Environmental Research Letters 17(1): 014024.
- Coomes, O.T., S. Rivas Panduro, C. Abizaid and Y. Takasaki. 2021. “Geolocation of unpublished archaeological sites in the Peruvian Amazon” Scientific Data 8, 290
- Coomes, O.T., Y. Cheng, Y. Takasaki and C. Abizaid. 2021. “What drives clearing of old-growth forest over secondary forests in tropical shifting cultivation systems? Evidence from the Peruvian Amazon” Ecological Economics 189, 107170
- Alejo, C., C. Meyer, W.S. Walker, S.R. Gorelik, C. Josse, J.L. Aragon-Osejo, S. Rios, C. Augusto, A. Llanos, O.T. Coomes and C. Potvin. 2021. “Are indigenous territories and community-managed areas effective natural climate solutions? A neotropical analysis using matching methods and geographic discontinuity designs” PLoS ONE 16(7): e0245110.
- Coomes, O.T., C. Abizaid and Y. Takasaki. 2020. “The Lower Ucayali river in prehistory: Cultural chronology, archeological evidence and a recently discovered Pre-Columbian site” The Geographical Review111(1): 145-167.
- McSweeney, K. and O.T. Coomes. 2020. “Who owns Earth? A challenge for the land change science community” Journal of Land Use Science 15(4): 482-488.
- Coomes, O.T., Y. Takasaki, and C. Abizaid. 2020. “Impoverishment of local wild resources in western Amazonia: a large-scale community survey of local ecological knowledge” Environmental Research Letters 15(7): ab83ad.
- Cadieux, N., M. Kalacska, O.T. Coomes, M. Tanaka, and Y. Takasaki. 2020. “A Python algorithm for shortest-path river network distance calculations considering river flow direction” Data 5(1), 8.
- List, G., S. Laszlo, and O.T. Coomes. 2020. “Mitigating risk for floodplain agriculture in Amazonia: an opportunity for index-based flood insurance” Climate and Development 12(7):
- Comptour, M. A. Cosiaux, O.T. Coomes, J-C. Bader, P-O. Malaterre, J. Yoka, S. Caillon, and D. McKey. 2020. “Agricultural innovation and environmental change on the floodplains of the Congo River”, The Geographical Journal 186(1): 16-30.
- Charette, M., L. Berrang-Ford, O.T. Coomes, E.A. Llanos-Cuentas, C. Cárcamoc, M. Kulkarnid, S.L. Harper, 2020. “Dengue incidence and sociodemographic conditions in Pucallpa, Peruvian Amazon: what role for modification of the dengue-temperature relationship?” American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 102(1): 180-190.