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Bullard Spotlight: Robin Sears on Small-Scale Farm-Forestry Systems in Peru

October 19, 2019
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Bullard Fellow Robin Sears stands on a mountaintop in southern Peru, with rocks in the foreground and grass and forest-covered mountains in the distance

Bullard Fellow Robin Sears spent eight months at Harvard Forest in 2018-2019 working on three projects: a research manuscript on the value chain for timber from small-scale farm-forestry systems in the Peruvian Amazon; data analysis and production of popular and scientific communication deliverables on the ecological and social dimensions of high-elevation remnant Polylepis forest patches in the Peruvian Andes; and work on several manuscripts and reports for a project on ecosystem services of forests in Bhutan.

Sears describes gratitude for a fruitful fellowship, particularly in the realms of networking and collaboration. She notes a donation of decommissioned field equipment and the technical support of HF research assistant Mark VanScoy to set it up; engagement with HF senior ecologist Neil Pederson’s Tree Ring Lab, who offered ideas, encouragement, and equipment to collect tree cores and tree cookies from Peru; and engagement with Harvard Forest associates at the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy and Harvard’s Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, which resulted in her serving as moderator for a conference session on climate change, “Amazonia and Our Planetary Futures.” She also developed a relationship with the Family Forest Research Center at the University of Massachusetts. "I was really looking forward to interacting both formally and in the hallways with scientists, educators, communicators, and I was not disappointed," she says. "The structure of weekly seminars and lab meetings stimulated interesting and productive conversations."

Explore publications from Sears' fellowship:

(Photo of Sears in the southern Peru altiplano, where she worked on the Polylepis project with colleagues.)

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