SFS is partnering with the Amazon Conservation Association in both research and facilities in this new program, “Biodiversity and Development in the Amazon”. Where the Andes Mountains meet the Amazon rainforest in Peru, the Earth’s richest biological communities thrive. This is where the Amazon Conservation Association (ACA) has concentrated its work to protect biodiversity and this is where SFS joins ACA in partnership. Located seven hours northeast of Cusco, Villa Carmen’s infrastructure includes a classroom, a laboratory, organic gardens, satellite internet, and 40 km of trails. It is bordered by a town of 2000 people, Pillcopata, and two Wachiperi and Machiguenga indigenous communities.
Villa Carmen is strategically located, surrounded by natural forest an indigenous communities. The area was initially colonized for the purpose of timber extraction and commercialization, however, thanks to the positive influence of Manu National Park, coupled with other local organizations, this idea has been changing in recent decades. The most immediate result has been a return to agriculture as a form of income. Currently there are plantations of banana, yucca, pineapple, rice, coca and citrus. There has also been an increase of tourist activities in the form of guest houses, restaurants, and transportation services.
The main building at the Villa Carmen station has a kitchen, dining area, staff offices, breezeway with lounge chairs, showers, toilets, and some staff housing on the second floor. Next to the main building you will find the dorm building which has two floors and a row of showers, toilets, and sinks at the back of the building and hand-washing laundry and line drying area behind the building. There are local residents in Pillcopata who offer hand washing laundry service by weight, if you prefer not to hand wash your laundry yourself. Across from the dorm building is the open-air lab, and next to it, the lab and computer lab. Downhill from the main building is an open-air thatched roof classroom. On the other side of the main building are the staff cabins.
This program seeks to understand both the conflicts and synergies of conservation and development in western Amazonia, with a focus on Peru. Students gain a sense of the richness of the Andes-Amazon region—biodiversity, social and cultural diversity, and ecosystem services—while exploring strategies for sustainable livelihoods in this highly productive and diverse region of South America.
The interdisciplinary themes of resilience, environmental justice, and conservation guide our inquiry. Through coursework, field exercises, and Directed Research, participants study people’s dependence on the environment, examine the threats to the environment and to social networks, and explore the tools and strategies for mitigating the threats while promoting well-being among rural communities.
Students have a unique opportunity to learn first-hand about the extraordinary biodiversity of the Andes-Amazon region in the eastern slope of the Peruvian Andes. We look at the patterns and processes that contribute to the generation and maintenance of biodiversity of this region at multiple scales: landscape, ecosystem, communities, and species. Students discuss concepts of ecological resilience, multifunctionality, and redundancy in the context of the region, and explore the effects of climate change and land use on the regional and global biodiversity and human well-being.
The region’s rich ecosystems support a diversity of social actors and cultural groups who employ a suite of livelihood strategies that are both typical of resource-rich, rural areas and unique to Peru. We consider how nature-society interactions, such as agriculture, resource extraction, tourism, and rural development, shape both the natural landscape and the social and economic conditions in rural areas. Students may discover that conservation, then, is about managing people and our interactions with the natural environment.
Students engage in “conversation about conservation,” focusing on the practical aspects of conservation planning, implementation, and measuring outcomes. We identify the threats to the natural and human systems and explore strategies and tools to mitigate those threats through conservation measures.
SFS Pre-Approved Course List
. NOTE: Core curriculum designations on this list pertain to OLD core only.
Students are housed in shared accommodations in the station’s dormitory. The field station’s infrastructure also includes a classroom, lab, organic gardens, and many miles of trails.
To view the SFS webpage directly please click here
First impressions of the Peru Field Station here
a video of SFS Peru!