Tropical Systems Under Change

Working at the interface of ecology, anthropology, and economics, I am part of a collaborative group who has collected and synthesized political-economic, sociocultural, and ecological data from the Territory of the 12 Indigenous & Afro-descendant Communities of the Pearl Lagoon Basin, Región Autónoma de la Costa Caribe Sur, which encompasses 5200 km2 in Caribbean Nicaragua –  a rapidly developing area within the Mesoamerica Biodiversity Hotspot. The Basin is a microcosm of tropical globalization processes, in which extra-local political, economic, and social pressures are significantly altering local human-environmental relationships. With the recent completion of the region’s first transisthmian road came an influx of new goods, technologies, migrants, and markets putting pressure on an already declining fishery and potentially changing local agriculture, the two major livelihoods in the Basin. Our group has been investigating whether rapid globalization and the concomitant fishery decline are encouraging locals to turn inward to terrestrial resources. Changes in these key livelihoods have potentially major effects on marine and terrestrial resources. My research focus in this project is centered on studying the potential of local agroforestry systems as a way to couple agriculture to biodiversity maintenance and support soil quality among small-scale farmers in the region. 

Read more about our work here.

Sistla, S., A, Roddy, N. E. Williams, D. Kramer, K. Stevens, S. Allison. Agroforestry practices promote biodiversity and ecosystem services in Atlantic Nicaragua. PLoS ONE 11(9): e0162529.   

Kramer, D., K. Stevens, N.E. Williams, S. Sistla, A. Roddy, G. Urquhart. Coastal livelihood transitions and their trans-ecosystem implications in a region undergoing rapid globalization. In review: Conservation Letters.