Welcome to the Neotropical Ecology: Science for Empowerment Lab!

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The Neotropical Ecology Lab members share concerns about environmental degradation and climate justice and an interest in advancing solutions agendas. It has been said that knowledge is power. As a research group, we strive to use science and knowledge co-creation to empower communities, decision-makers, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders on the road towards sustainable presents and futures. Right now, our main research project is Bacurú Drõa, an Old-Growth Forest Observatory:

 

 

The lab's research themes and approaches

 

Participatory Action Research

Our approach to science builds on the notion of the empowerment of all actors—from Indigenous Peoples to local communities and governments. Participatory research methodologies, developed by the Lab over 25 years, enable full partnership from research conception to implementation and results communication.

Read the Smithsonian Mag article featuring our lab here.

 

Science Outreach and Communication

To reach the public in Panama, the lab has supported the creation of the exhibition Los bosques de Darien from the Biomuseo of Panama City in which visitors learn about the rich biodiversity of the Darien forests as well as the value of big trees for carbon stocks and the impact of deforestation on climate change. The exhibit was inaugurated in early April 2023 and has since received over 80,000 visitors.

We have also participated to the exhibition Indigenous Ingenuity at the Montreal Science Center, which has since traveled in other places to share "how indigenous science is timeless" (Montreal Science Center, 2019). 

As part of our engagement strategy, since 2013, the Lab has been collaborating with Wapikoni Mobile, a Montreal-based NGO, to train youth in video-making as a way to share their own voices.

 

 

1 P. Potapov, et al., Science Advances, 2017, 3

2 J. E. M. Watson, et al., Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2018, 2, 599-610.

3 G. Vergara-Asenjo and C. Potvin, Global Environ Chang, 2014, 28, 205-215.

4 O. Herrera-MacBryde and ANCON, in Centres of Plant Diversity: A Guide and Strategy for their Conservation. , eds. S. Davis, V. H. Heywood, O. Herrera-MacBryde, J. Villa-Lobos and A. C. Hamilton, World Wildlife Fund For Nature (WWF) and IUCN-The World Conservation Union., Washington, D.C., 1997, pp. 226-232.

5 N. Myers, et al., Nature, 2000, 403, 853-858.

6 O. Herrera-MacBryde and ANCON, in Centres of Plant Diversity: A Guide and Strategy for their Conservation. , eds. S. Davis, V. H. Heywood, O. Herrera-MacBryde, J. Villa-Lobos and A. C. Hamilton, World Wildlife Fund For Nature (WWF) and IUCN-The World Conservation Union., Washington, D.C., 1997, pp. 226-232.

7 G. P. Asner, et al., Carbon Balance and Management, 2013, 8.

8 D. Bryant, et al., The Last Frontier Forests: Ecosystems and Economies on the Edge. What is the Status of the World's Remaining Large, Naturel Forest Ecosystems? , World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C. , 1997.

9 WWF, WWF Living Forests Report: Chapter 5. Saving Forests at Risk, World Wildlife Fund for Nature, Gland, Switzerland, 2015.

Download Formal Agreement with Traditional Authorities of Balsa convenio.pdf (754.15 KB)

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