Science Leadership Council

The MRI's Science Leadership Council (SLC) provides advice and impetus for the MRI's scientific activities. SLC members are observers of the strategic environment. They are also key contributors to research on mountain regions, and through their own activities carry forward the MRI's scientific agenda.

The Science Leadership Council meets on a regular basis to discuss the MRI's strategic and operational issues. 


National Autonomous University of Mexico
Mexico

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Irasema Alcántara-Ayala is former Director and current Professor and Researcher at the Institute of Geography at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). 

She previously served as a member of the Committee of Scientific Planning and Review (CSPR) of the International Science Council (ISC, former ICSU), and as Vice-President of the International Consortium on Landslides (ICL), the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG), and the International Geographical Union (IGU).

Irasema is currently a member of the International Geoscience Programme Council (IGCP) Scientific Board, UNESCO; Chair of the Disaster Risk Reduction Steering Committee of the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, International Science Council (ISC-ROLAC); and Vice-President of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk programme of the International Science Council (ISC-IRDR). Since 2000, she has also been working in collaboration with the National Centre for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) in Mexico.

Research Interests

KeywordsLandslides, Disaster Risk, Integrated Research, Forensic Investigations of Disasters, Hazards, Vulnerability, Risk Perception, Risk Communication.

Irasema Alcántara-Ayala’s research seeks to understand the root causes and drivers of disaster risk, and to promote an integrated research perspective on disaster risk. She is interested in disaster risk perception and communication, the development of early warning articulated systems for landslides and other hazards, and in bridging the gap between science and policymaking.

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Información Profesional - Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

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University of Zurich
Switzerland

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Christian Huggel is Professor at the Department of Geography at the University of Zurich, and leads the research group Environment and Climate: Impacts, Risks and Adaptation.

Christian Huggel has previously held positions at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, ETH Zurich, University of Geneva, and has been a visiting researcher at the US Geological Survey in Anchorage, Alaska and at a number of research institutions in South America. He has been a science advisor and member of the Swiss delegation at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties. Currently, he leads several projects on climate impacts and adaptation in the tropical Andes, the Indian Himalayas, and the Alps, in collaboration with the Swiss and other national governments and international organizations. He is a Lead Author of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report – working on Chapter 12: Central and South America and the Cross-Chapter Paper on Mountains – and previously also served as a Lead Author on the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report.

Research Interests

KeywordsClimate Change, Hazards, Risks, Adaptation, Glaciers, Socio-Environmental Systems.

Christian Huggel’s research focuses on climate impacts, and risks and adaptation to climate change – mainly in mountain regions. His interest is to understand how climate and climate change affects environmental and socio-environmental systems, how these systems respond in the context of multiple drivers of change, and what changes can be attributed to climate change and other drivers. To adequately approach these research fields, he stresses the importance of an interdisciplinary perspective. In the past he has looked into glacier and other mountain hazards, such as glacier lake outburst floods, avalanches, and landslides; volcano-ice interactions; hazard, vulnerability, and risk assessments; integrated monitoring and early warning systems, and climate adaptation more generally. His geographic research areas include the European Alps, the Andes, Alaska, the Caucasus, and the Himalayas.

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University of Reading
UK

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Maria Shahgedanova is a climate scientist with a strong interest in glaciers. Maria has a combined BSc/MSc degree in Meteorology from Moscow State University in Russia, and DPhil in Climatology from the University of Oxford, UK. She joined University of Reading in 1998, where she is currently Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science. 

Maria specializes in high-elevation climate change and in assessments and modelling of impacts of climate change on mountain glaciers and water resources. She led many international projects set in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Siberia funded by EU FP7, EU Horizon 2020, Newton Fund, UK Global Challenges Research Fund, and other national and international funding bodies. Most of her current work is conducted in the Tien Shan Mountains, Central Asia. Among her experimental field sites is Tuyuksu Mountain Observatory located at 3440 m a.s.l. in the northern Tien Shan. She works in close collaboration with many regional research institutions, universities, and stakeholders, including regional disaster risk reduction agencies.

In her role as an MRI Science Leadership Council member, Maria is coordinating our Mountain Observatories project. She is also a contributing author for the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) chapter on High Mountain Areas.

Research Interests

Keywords: Climate Change and Variability, Glacier Change, Climate-Glacier Interactions, Glacier-Related Hazards, Glacier Lakes, Regional Climate Models, Water Resources, Mineral Dust in the Atmosphere and At-Surface Radiative Forcing of Light-Absorbing Impurities.

Maria Shahgedanova’s research interests focus on climate change and variability and their impacts on glaciated environments and water resources. These interests fall into the following themes: Climate change and variability, predominantly in the mountains of Eurasia; glacier change and climate-glacier interactions; impacts of climate change on water resources in glaciated catchments and arable agriculture downstream; glacial hazards (evolution of glacier lakes, glacier lake outbursts floods, debris flow); impacts of light-absorbing impurities on snow and glacier melt with emphasis on desert dust; environmental modelling including regional climate models, hydrological and glacier modelling.

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Web Link ImageDepartment of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading  

Université Savoie Mont Blanc
France

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Fabien Arnaud is Director of the Laboratory of Environment Dynamics and Territories of the Mountain (EDYTEM) at the Université de Savoie Mont Blanc, France, and Researcher for the National Center for Scientific Research, or CNRS, France.

Research Interests

Keywords: Lake Sediment, Anthropocene, Holocene, Erosion, Hydroclimate.

Fabien Arnaud’s research aims to reconstruct past interactions between humans, climate, and the environment in a changing world. In order to do so, he collects data lake sediment-based time-series (geochemistry, sedimentology, DNA, etc.), focusing mainly on the European Alps.

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Universidad Mayor de San Andres
Bolivia

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Elizabeth Jimenez Zamora is currently a professor and the academic coordinator of the Masters Program in Development Economics at CIDES – UMSA, the Graduate Center for Interdisciplinary Research that is part of Universidad Mayor de San Andres in La Paz, Bolivia. As coordinator, she is in charge of organizing the academic program, selecting the students, and in charge of the thesis’s seminaries. Her activities at CIDES – UMSA also involve lecturing for the MA and Ph.D programs offered by CIDES, supervising theses, and participating in research projects. Currently, she is Coordinator and Senior Researcher for a project aimed at studying the process of feminization and agricultural transformation among quinoa producers in the Southern Bolivian Highlands. This research is part of the R4D research projects financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and led by the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern in Switzerland.

Elizabeth Jimenez Zamora has also been Coordinator of the South America regional office JACS-SAM NCCR North South (a National Centre of Competence in Research) funded by the SNSF and SDC, and Co-Investigator and Research Coordinator in Bolivia of the SANREM CRSP project 'Adapting to Change in Vulnerable Ecosystems in the Andes' funded by NSF and led by the Department of Applied Economics of the University of Missouri, USA.

Research Interests

Keywords: Livelihood Strategies, Sustainability, Climate Change, Labor and Employment Issues

Elizabeth Jimenez Zamora's research interests centre around issues of sustainability in the overall process of development, and specifically in the management of natural resources and the processes of change, transformation, and resilience. She uses quantitative and qualitative mixed approaches to analyze specific case studies both in rural and urban settings. She is currently putting together a panel data set on livelihood strategies and management of natural resources among quinoa producers in the Bolivian Southern Highlands. Elizabeth aims at identifying 'differentiation' and its implications across different categories of analysis. She uses differentiation across livelihood strategies to examine the different roles of labor mobility and migration within and across communities and to assess sustainability and adaptation. Differentiation is also present in the analysis of management of natural resources. Some communities do better than others in managing collective access and the use of 'common pool' (Ostrom) resources such as water, forests, and common land.

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University of Florida
USA

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Catherine Tucker is Professor in the Department of Anthropology & Center for Latin American Studies and the University of Florida, Gainesville, USA. 

Research Interests

Keywords: Economic and Environmental Anthropology, Environmental Governance, Community-based Conservation, Institutional Analysis, Climate Change Adaptation, Coffee Production and Consumption, Value Chains, Belief Systems, Sustainability

Catherine Tucker's research explores human-environment interactions through a transdisciplinary approach encompassing environmental and economic anthropology, political ecology, institutional analysis, and participatory approaches. For the most part, she focuses on the Latin American experience, including community-based forest and water management, coffee production and value chains, interactions between people and protected areas, governance of common-pool resources, adaptation to climate change, sustainability, globalization, and belief systems.

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Department of Anthropology, University of Florida

University of Geneva
Switzerland


Colorado State University 
USA

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Julia Klein is Assistant Professor at the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability at Colorado State University in the USA.

Research Interests

Keywords: Climate, Grazing, Grassland and Alpine Ecosystems, Global Change

The broad goals of Julia Klein's research are to understand the interactions among climate, grazing, and the structure and function of grassland and alpine ecosystems and how human activities and global changes are altering these systems. She addresses these issues using a suite of study approaches, from experimental manipulations to ecosystem modeling. Her work considers multiple scales, from species-level investigations to landscape-scale processes. Moreover, she works across disciplines to understand the complex dynamics of the coupled human-environment system in grassland and alpine regions of the world.

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Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Colorado State University

University of Tsukuba
Japan

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Kenichi Ueno is Associate Professor at the University of Tsukuba in Japan. He has been engaged in process studies of land-atmosphere interactions and precipitation systems in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau since 1987 as part of the GEN, GEWEX/GAME, CEOP, and JICA international projects. Recently, he has also been involved in collaborative studies with JAXA on the validation of GPM satellite precipitation with data archives in the Japanese Alps. He is a key contributer to the MRI project Education for Sustainable Mountain Development, for which he is conducting a curriculum review and development study.

Research Interests

Keywords: Land-Atmosphere Interaction, Precipitation Systems, Weather Variability, Tibet/Himalayas and Japanese Alps, Data Archive, Education for SMD.

Kenichi Ueno's research seeks to explore a number of key questions: How do precipitation variabilities occur according to global climate changes, and how can its behavior be estimated in remote areas using satellite data? How do extreme weather events over mountains impact downstream habitats? And how can education on the dynamics of mountain sciences be conducted comprehensively and effectively?

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Universidad del Valle de Guatemala
Guatemala

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Edwin J Castellanos is Dean of the Instituto de Investigaciones at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. In addition to being an MRI SLC Member, he is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research, the External Advisory Council for WWF Latin America, and the Alliance for Climatic Resilience in Rural Latin America. He also represents the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala at the National Council for Climate Change, the highest decision making body on climate change issues for Guatemala.

He served as a Lead Author on the 5th IPCC Assessment Report and as Coordinating Lead Author for the 6th IPCC Assessment Report chapter on Central and South America (Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability). He also participated at COP 21 in Paris in December 2015 as Guatemala’s National Commissioner on Climate Change.

Edwin J Castellanos promoted the creation, and served for three years as the Secretary, of the Guatemalan System for Climate Change Sciences, a network of research centres that provides scientific advice to decision makers. He received the National Medal for Science and Technology in 2016, and was a Global Visiting Scholar at RTI International (USA) in 2017, conducting research on water modelling.

Research Interests

Keywords: Climate Change, Adaptation, Carbon Sequestration, Deforestation, Indigenous Communities.

Edwin J Castellanos has over 20 years of research experience in natural resource management and environmental sanitation, particularly in the area of climate change. Through his research, he seeks to explore climate change adaptation among rural communities, and understand processes of land-use change – particularly deforestation. His research also looks at carbon offset projects as a means of reducing deforestation and increasing the adaptation capacities of local communities.

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Lanzhou University
China

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Ruijun Long is an ecological and pastoral specialist with over 30 years of experience in educating, researching, managing, and implementing aspects of integrated ecosystem management and sustainable pastoralism development in the Asian high mountain regions. He is Theme Leader, Ecosystems Services at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), and serves as a Distinguished Professor and Director of Research at Lanzhou University, China. He previously held the national chairs of the National Undergraduate Education Steering Committee of Grassland Science and the National Professional Master Training Steering Committee of Grassland Science in China. Ruijun Long obtained his PhD in pastoralism from Gansu Agricultural University, China, and, as a postdoctoral fellow, worked at the Rowett Research Institute, Scotland, UK. He also served as a visiting scientist at the University of Western Australia.  
 
Ruijun Long has managed many projects as principal investigator under various national and international agencies, including the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Ministry of Science and Technology of China, Ministry of Education of China, Ministry of Agriculture of China, Chinese Academy of Sciences, the International Atomic Energy Agency/Food and Agriculture Organization, the European Commission , the World Bank/Global Environment Facility, the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), and AusAid. He has more than 400 publications to his name in a range of scientific, technical, and policy fields.
 

Research Interests

Keywords: Ecosystem Services, Yak Adaptation to Highland, Himalaya Pastoralism, Mountain Niche Products Value Chain

Ruijun Long's research interests range from mountain environment and ecology to agro-pastoralism and community development. He has also specialized in ruminant nutrition and rumen microbiology with a focus on yak and Tibetan sheep. 

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University Catholique de Louvain
Belgium

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Veerle Vanacker is Associate Professor in Geomorphology at the Earth and Life Institute of the University of Louvain in Belgium. After graduating in Geography, she defended a PhD in Sciences at the University of Leuven, Belgium. She has been a visiting scientist at various research institutions abroad, including the University of Hannover, University of Colorado Boulder, MIT, and Arizona State University. Veerle received the Development Cooperation Prize for her involvement in sustainable development projects abroad from the Belgian Directorate-General in 2003, and the EGU Division Outstanding Young Scientist Award in 2012.

Research Interests

Keywords: Human-Landscape Interactions, Geomorphology, Natural Hazards, Land Use Change, Soil Systems

Veerle Vanacker's research activities focus on the anthropogenic and natural perturbations to geomorphic processes in mountain areas. She is interested in the anthropogenic control on weathering, soil erosion, and sediment budgets; and is currently working in mountain ecosystems with different land use systems.

Veerle's research is characterized by an integrated approach that combines spatial information from remote sensing data with erosion data and geomorphic models to quantify changes in sediment and solute fluxes due to human disturbances. Much of her research focuses on fundamental scientific questions that are relevant for ecosystem services management.

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World Agroforestry Centre
Kenya

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Aster Gebrekirstos has over twenty years of experience in research, tertiary level teaching, and consulting.  Currently, she is a scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), where she leads the Dendrochronology Laboratory, and she is affiliated with Erlangen University, Germany. She is also a principle investigator, representing ICRAF, at the USAID-funded Africa RISING project, and is involved in several other projects across Africa and Asia. She lectures at universities in Germany and as part of the West African Science Service Center on Climate Change (WASCAL) PhD programme in Cote d’Ivoire.

Aster Gebrekirstos holds a Diploma and a BSc degree in Forestry from Wondo Genet College of Forestry and Alemaya University in Ethiopia, respectively. She won the Netherlands Fellowship Program for her MSc at Wageningen University (1996-1998) and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for her PhD at Gottingen University (2001-2005). She has published over 80 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, and conference papers and book chapters. She has supervised PhD and MSc students from across Africa, and given keynote speeches and presentations at major international conferences. She also serves as a member of several editorial boards.

Aster Gebrekirstos has played an active role in developing science in Africa. She established ICRAF’s Dendrochronology Laboratory in 2013 and the laboratory at Ethiopia’s Wondo Genet College of Forestry in 2010. She also established an Agroforestry demonstration plot at Wondo Genet Forestry College in 2000.

In recognition of her research and contributions, Aster Gebrekirstos has received a number of distinctions. Notably, she was recognized for her outstanding contribution to the advancement of science in Africa by the African Academy of Sciences with the conferment of the status of Fellow in 2017, and received the prestigious African Climate Award for excellence in research in climate change adaptation and mitigation in 2014. In 2016, she was awarded a visiting professor position under the University of Dresden’s Eleonore Trefftz Programme for Visiting Women Professors. She also received the 2009 Special Award for Ground Breaking Science – African-wide Young Professionals and Women in Science Competition.

Research Interests

Keywords: Climate Change, Dendroecology, Restoration Ecology, Natural Resource Management, Sustainable Intensification, Stable Isotope Research, Plant Ecophysiology.

Aster Gebrekirstos’ areas of specialization and research include climate change (dendrochronology, plant-climate interactions and applications of isotopes to reconstruct climate history, the study of plant eco-physiological and hydrological processes and global climate changes), forest ecology and management (carbon, water, and nutrient balance of forest and agroforestry systems, and the effects and consequences of global change on biodiversity and livelihoods), silviculture, agroforestry, sustainable intensification, and restoration of degraded landscapes.

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University of York
UK

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Rob conducted his PhD research at the University of Hull, producing a 50,000-year record of forest history from Bwindi-Impenetrable Forest in Uganda to understand forcing mechanisms (climatic, human, and ecological) responsible for sedimentary and vegetation change. From this, he moved to the University of Amsterdam to pursue his interests in the spatio-temporal character of vegetation change, now focusing in Latin America through the Biome 6000 project. In 2003, Rob took a Marie-Curie research fellowship in the School of Botany, Trinity College, Dublin, where he has been developing and using a pollen database for Ireland. His main research area remains in tropical environments, and he is currently working on projects in Colombia, Amazonia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The research he has done has been funded by research councils (e.g., UK’s National Environmental Research Council, The Netherlands Foundation); international agencies (e.g. WWF, the EU); and national governments (e.g. United Kingdom and The Netherlands).

Research Interests

Keywords: Tropical Ecosystems, Climate Change, Palaeoecology, Ecosystem services, Livelihoods

Rob Marchant's research and teaching interests focus on the theme of vegetation dynamics and ecosystem change. In particular, Rob uses palaeoecology, vegetation modelling, and archaeological, biogeographical, and ecological data to determine the role of past events in shaping the present day composition and distribution of tropical vegetation. 

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Web Link ImageDepartment of Environment and Geography, University of York

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York Institute for Tropical Ecosystems (KITE)

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University at Albany - State University of New York
USA

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Mathias Vuille is a climate scientist in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY). He has been involved in adaptation projects on behalf of UNESCO, the Interamerican Development Bank and the World Bank, and served as a senior fellow for the U.S. State Department’s Program on Energy and Climate Partnerships in the Americas. He is a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles on global climate change. Vuille received his Ph.D. from the University of Bern in Switzerland in 1995 and then worked as a research professor at the University of Massachusetts before joining UAlbany in 2008.  He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on climate change, paleoclimate, and major topics in environmental science.

Research Interests

Keywords: Tropical Glaciers, Andes, South America, Climate Change, Paleoclimate.

Mathias Vuille's research interests focus on better understanding processes and impacts related to both natural and anthropogenic climate variability and change in tropical mountain regions, with a special emphasis on glacier retreat and its impacts on water resources in the tropical Andes. He employs both dynamical and statistical downscaling techniques to study how glacier extent in the Andes will change in the future under different emission scenarios.

He is also interested in past climate change in tropical mountain environments, especially during the Last Millennium. He relies on natural archives (tree rings, speleothems, ice cores) to reconstruct past changes in climate over the South American Andes and the Amazon basin, and combines these reconstructions with simulations from paleoclimate models to understand the underlying dynamics and forcing mechanisms.

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Web Link Image Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University at Albany, State University of New York.

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Article: We’ve been studying a glacier in Peru for 14 years – and it may reach the point of no return in the next 30

ListenPodcast: A Case Study of Peru's Quelccaya Ice Cap

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National University of Tucumán
Argentina

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Ricardo Grau is an Agronomy Engineer from the National University of Tucumán (1989), and holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA (1999). Since 2000 he has been based in Tucumán, Argentina. Currently he is Director of the Institute of Regional Ecology, Professor of Landscape Ecology at the National University of Tucumán, and Principal Investigator of CONICET, the Argentine Research Council. In addition to his role as an MRI SLC member, he is also a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Global Land Programme.

Research Interests

Keywords: Land Use/Cover Change, Vegetation Dynamics, Andean Wetlands, Andean Forests, Fire-Climate-Land Use Interactions, Land Use Efficiency, Urbanization, Globalization and Influence on Ecosystems.

Ricardo Grau's research seeks to explore the following questions: 

• What are the drivers, patterns, and consequences of globalization-driven land use change in Latin America?
• How do climate, mining, tourism, and land use determine vegetation dynamics and biodiversity conservation in high Andean ecosystems?
• How does the interaction between climate change and disturbances (fire, grazing) affect montane forest dynamics?
• How do global and local priorities/decisions interact to drive socioecological processes?

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University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna
Austria

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Andreas Muhar is Professor at the Institute of Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria. 

Research Interests

Keywords: Inter- and Transdisciplinarity, Sustainable Landscape Development, Tourism and Recreation Planning, Outdoor Recreation, Land-Use Planning.

The central object of Andreas Muhar's research is to achieve a better understanding of social-ecological systems as a foundation for transformation towards sustainable development.

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Institute of Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning  

Sichuan University
China

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Jun Xu is Professor of History and Culture at Sichuan University in China, and a senior researcher at Sichuan University's Anthropology Institute and its Tibetan Studies Center. Since 2014, she has served as Executive Chair of the Himalaya Multimedia Database Project, and as Executive Chair of the Station of Cambridge Rivers Project at Sichuan University. In 2013, she was made Assistant Director and Consultant at the Ethnic and Religious Bureau of the Sichuan Provincial Government. Between 2012 and 2013 she also served as Vice-Director of the Ethnic and Religious Bureau of the Chengdu Municipal Government.  She has been a visiting scholar at the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit at the University of Cambridge, UK, and the Harvard-Yenching Institute at Harvard University, USA. 

Jun Xu has written and edited eight books and published more than 50 papers (in Chinese and English). Her scientific research and teaching have won several major provincial and national awards in China. 

Research Interests

Keywords: Cultural Diversity; Gender; Migration; Historical, Social and Cultural Changes; Multimedia Database; Resettlement Issues; Social and Economic Development in Tibetan Areas.

Jun Xu's reseach focuses on exploring new areas of interdisciplinary research, opening up new perspectives and new methods for studying Tibetan areas.  She has presided over more than 10 major scientific research projects, national social science fund projects, and provincial and other projects commissioned by the Ministry of Education. Her major research projects include:

1. The National Social Science Fund's project 'Financing and Supporting Tibet: Zhao Erfeng and the Qing Dynasty Chuanbian Management.'

2. Ministry of Education project 'Anthropological Investigation on Ecological Restoration and Construction of the Sanjiangyuan District on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau – Focusing on Ecological Migration.'

3. Ministry of Education project 'Study on the Social and Economic Development and Changes of Sichuan and Chongqing Adjacent to Tibetan areas.'

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Russian Academy of Sciences
Russia

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Alexey Gunya is Professor at the Institute of Geography at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, where he also serves as Head of the Mountain Group MAB-6. He is a part-time Professor at the Chechen State University in Grozny, and part-time Professor at the Sanct-Tikhon Orthodox Humanitarian University in Moscow.

Research Interests

Keywords: Geography, Sustainable Development, Conflict, Governance, Knowledge Transfer.

Alexey Gunya's research focuses on the geography of mountain regions and landscapes. He is interested in the interaction between development and conflicts, and in indicators of regional development trends and the sustainable development of mountain regions. He explores quantitative and qualitative approaches to problems of conflict, governance and development, and West to East knowledge transfer. Alexey has strong regional expertise in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

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Centre for International Forestry Research
Kenya

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Esther Mwangi is a Principal Scientist with Forests and Governance at CIFOR. Esther’s current research portfolio includes research on benefit sharing arrangements in REDD+ schemes; how to strengthen women’s tenure rights; and research into tenure reform implementation and effects on the tenure security of local men and women. Esther works globally, including in Uganda, Tanzania, Indonesia, Peru and Nicaragua. She is also the Team Leader of CIFOR’s Nairobi Hub. A citizen of Kenya, Esther has a Bachelor’s degree in education (botany, zoology) from Kenyatta University, a Master of Philosophy in environmental studies from Moi University and a PhD in public policy from Indiana University, Bloomington.

Research Interests

Keywords: Property Rights/Tenure, Gender, Collaborative Forest Governance, Multi-Level Linkages in Resource Governance; Linking Research to Policy and Practice.

Through her research, Esther Mwangi seeks to understand the factors that influence tenure security, especially of rural, forest-adjacent/dwelling communities. She also looks at ways to strengthen women’s rights to forests and trees and their participation in decision making, and conditions that support cross-scale and cross-level coordination in natural resources management, and ways and means of effectively linking knowledge to on-the-ground action.

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Chinese Academy of Sciences
China

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Linxiu Zhang is Professor and Deputy Director at the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP), Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). She obtained her PhD from Reading University in the UK. In 2003 she was awarded the Outstanding Young Scientist Award by the China National Natural Sciences Foundation (NSFC). 

In 2007 she won the Chinese Academy of Sciences 100 Talents award.  She oversees a research programme on Integrated Rural Urban Development Strategy and Policy at CCAP. She is also the Co-director of a program named Rural Education Action Programme (REAP). REAP is an umbrella programme initiated by a group of scholars from Stanford University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Northwest University in Xi’an, and Tsinghua University, among others, to address rural-urban gaps in the areas of healthcare and education. 

Research Interests

Keywords: Rural Development, Labour Migration, Livelihoods, Human Capital (Health and Education).

Linxiu Zhang's research concentrates on policy relevant studies on rural development in China, including growth, poverty and inequality, gender, and household nutrition. She is also interested in integrated resource management at the community level, public goods investments, rural basic education, and the New Cooperative Medical System (NCMS). She has published widely both in domestic and international professional journals.

 

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