Human-Environment Interactions in Central America
This research takes a multi-faceted approach to identifying solutions to key challenges in land use and water use in response to climate change and tourism growth in Guatemala and Nicaragua.
We work with students and communities high in the Cuchumatanes Mountains of Guatemala to provide rural households with water in the dry months by utilizing cloud-capture methods.
We also seek to provide sustainable solutions to potable water in Guatemala's return refugee communities.
Using household surveys and measurement of firewood consumption we are investigating the relationships between migration and changing patterns of natural resource consumption in order to gain an understanding of the evolution of land use in Guatemala.
Land-use research extends into our study of the impacts of the increase in cultivation of non traditional agricultural crops (like broccoli and snow peas) on maize diversity and maize culture among the Maya in Guatemala. This particular project is investigated in collaboration with Mike Steinberg's lab at the University of Alabama.
In addition, we work to identify alternative sustainable living options for southern Nicaraguans. Working with community members we are finding ways to incorporate locals into the booming tourist economy.