The course will introduce students to the social and ecological complexities of biodiversity conservation in tropical ecosystems. Students will engage in a variety of field methods from the biological and social sciences to evaluate the causes, consequences, and solutions to biodiversity loss through the lenses of ecology, culture, and governance.
The course takes place in the Tambopata National Reserve and Bahuaja Sonene National Park in the Department of Madre de Dios, Peru. The region has some of the highest recorded levels of biodiversity in the world, but it is vulnerable to many new threats, including extensive agriculture, gold mining, illegal logging, and land speculation associated with construction of an Inter-Oceanic Highway.
Students will explore a variety of terrestrial and aquatic habitats, visit local communities, organizations, and ecotourism lodges, and talk with conservation practitioners and scientists. Interdisciplinary teams of students will examine all sides of complex issues surrounding the region’s conservation challenges. Working in collaboration, students will gather ecological, social, and economic data relevant to a particular conservation concern.
Donald J. Brightsmith (VTPB)
This course confers 4 academic credits from Texas A&M through WFSC, RPTS, or VTPB.
The estimated cost for this course is $3000. This cost does not include tuition, airfare to Puerto Maldonado Peru, or meals during 3 days in town. All other food, lodging, and local transportation will be provided. SEC students participating in this program will be charged the same program fees and related expenses as TAMU students. Students may either cover the costs themselves or seek funding from their department and other on-campus and external sources. Study abroad scholarships are available for TAMU students. Please contact study abroad’s Xiaoshuang Wei (firstname.lastname@example.org) and program director Donald Brightsmith (email@example.com) for more information.
All graduate and upper division undergraduate students (U3 or U4) with a strong interest in the social and ecological dimensions of biodiversity conservation are eligible. Students from the social sciences are strongly encouraged to apply. Students from Texas A&M and any other SEC University are eligible.
How to apply
Formal applications through the official TAMU Study Abroad Website will open when the next course is scheduled.