Partnerships & Research Opportunities

TRI Partners & Research Opportunities

Below are partner institutions that seek research collaborations with F&ES master's or doctoral students through the Tropical Resources Institute. For related information about TRI research funding, see TRI Fellowships. Additional opportunities are listed in Other Research Opportunities. Viewers may also wish to learn about current TRI Fellows and their work. Contact the TRI Program Managers for more information on these opportunities.


Looking for ways to expand your practical experience in the tropics? Interested in taking classes, conducting research or doing an internship in Costa Rica? Did you know that Yale F&ES has a Memorandum of Understanding with CATIE, one of Latin America’s most well-respected institutions for education and applied work in sustainable agriculture, tropical natural resource management and rural development? CATIE has the oldest graduate program in agriculture and natural resources in Latin America (since 1946), and a training program with multiple course options, including the Cooperative Study Abroad Program. The institution has programs and professors studying a wide array of topics in sustainable agriculture and livestock, agroforestry, forest ecology and management, protected areas, value chains, watersheds and water resources, development practices, climate change science and planning – and it is home to dozens of programs that are putting this research to work to train professionals and improve the livelihoods of people throughout Central America.

Under the CATIE-Yale FES agreement, interested students can: (1) Take a semester of graduate level courses at CATIE in any of the above topics (in Spanish); (2) Design and conduct research projects under the supervision of CATIE experts; (3) Propose an internship with one of CATIE’s dozens of applied programs throughout Central America or at headquarters in Turrialba, Costa Rica;  or (4) Take advantage of CATIE’s facilities, which include laboratories, experimental farms and livestock operations, long-term permanent forest research plots, a botanical garden, tropical seed bank, and living facilities. If you are interested in learning more about CATIE’s academic offerings, programs, or facilities, please explore the website at and htpp:// For a glimpse of the beautiful campus in Turrialba, watch this short flyover video: Individual researchers and projects have different capacity for interns and short-term research, so it is best to inquire directly with the program that interests you. FES alum Andrea Johnson (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) can help you identify a point of contact with whom to explore options and craft a proposal and budget. A full list of courses is available upon request (in Spanish). For additional information about possible topics for 2014 research or internships with the Finfor project at CATIE, please see here.


PRORENA, the Native Species Reforestation Project (Proyecto de Reforestacion con Especies Nativas) is a collaborative research program led by the Tropical Resources Institute at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Center for Tropical Forest Science at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, with the active participation of more than a dozen other entities, including the Panama Canal Authority, Panama's National Environmental Authority, the University of Panama, and Panamanian NGO's, private companies, and private landowners. PRORENA's mission is the development of ecologically and socio-economically viable strategies for the restoration of native forest cover to degraded Neotropical lands. The project aims to establish diverse native forest cover across extensive areas of deforested Panamanian lands and to demonstrate that large-scale ecological restoration in the tropics is technically feasible, socially attractive, and financially viable. To do so, the project has established extensive field trials with more than 40 different species in more than 12 research sites throughout Panama. Measurements have been carried out on more than 600 hectares of trials and plantations, and more than 50,000 individual trees. Multiple oppsertunites exist for students to conduct research related to their interests within the framework of PRORENA – ideally the research will also contribute to PRORENA’s goals. Fifteen F&ES master students have conducted research with PRORENA, which has resulted in 5 publications. Multiple doctoral students have also conducted their dissertation research with PRORENA.

CIFOR: Center for International Forestry Research

CIFOR is an international research and global knowledge institution committed to conserving forests and improving the livelihoods of people in the tropics. CIFOR's high impact research helps local communities and small farmers gain their rightful share of forest resources, while increasing the production and value of forest products. CIFOR's mission is to contribute to the sustained well-being of people in developing countries, particularly in the tropics. It achieves this through collaborative, strategic and applied research and by promoting the transfer and adoption of appropriate new technologies and social systems for national development. CIFOR goals include: improving the scientific basis that underpins balanced management of forests and forest lands, developing policies and technologies for sustainable use and management of forest goods and services, and assisting partner governments improve their capacity to research and support the optimal use of forests and forestlands. CIFOR conducts research in Africa, Central and South America, and South-East Asia. CIFOR currently has six priority research domains: climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, forest-related trade and investment, small-scale and community-based forestry, biodiversity conservation and development, and sustainable management of production forests. Research programs are designed to address the needs of the rural poor as well as environmental concerns. The research programs are: 1) Environmental services and sustainable use of forests focuses on enhancing sustainable use and conservation of forests and forested landscapes through the generation and dissemination of best practices for the management of forest ecosystems for the benefit of rural poor. It oversees research on biodiversity, carbon, fires, watershed functions, and the sustainable management and harvesting of forest products. 2) Forest governance examines the process of making and implementing decisions about the management of forests by people and organizations beyond the scale of the individual household or small enterprise. 3) Forests and livelihoods focuses on how human well-being can be enhanced through improving local forest-based practices, promoting smallholder and community involvement in industrial forestry, increasing the forestry content of poverty alleviation policies, strategies and programs, and by improving the outcomes of conservation and development outcomes

Agua Salud

The Agua Salud Project, an integrated ecosystem services project, is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the Panama Canal Authority, Panama’s National Environmental Authority, and the HSBC Climate Partnership. The project seeks to understand and quantify the diverse set of ecological, social, and economic services provided by tropical forests in the Panama Canal Watershed. The Agua Salud Project research design is driven by the need to understand hydrological services. The Agua Salud Project has three key research questions: 1) How does land management affect carbon storage, water quality and quantity, dry-season water supply, and biodiversity? 2) Do different land-management approaches, including plantation forestry, influence groundwater storage, which is thought to be critical to maintaining dry-season flow in the Panama Canal region? 3) Can management techniques be designed to optimize forest production along with ecosystem services during reforestation? These questions will be examined within the focal research catchments in the Agua Salud and adjacent watersheds. The project seeks to understand how land use affects the distribution and dynamics of local flora and fauna. Toward that end, the project compares water-related soil and plant phenomena to carbon processing and storage in (1) a stable forest, (2) a stable deforested landscape, and (3) landscapes under various types of regrowth, including native-species and exotic plantations. In addition, the project is intended to expand to address the social and economic values of these forests. Plantations of native tree species were established in 2008. The project has established transects in the mature forest. Master students are welcome to design their own projects that contribute to the Agua Salud Project as a whole. Research applications will also have to be submitted to Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Proficiency in Spanish is strongly encouraged.

Center for Biodiversity Studies, Michelin Ecological Reserve

The Center for Biodiversity studies is located in, Igrapiúna, Bahia, Brazil. The center contains over 1,500 ha of the Atlantic forests. In order to preserve and enrich the biodiversity of this zone, the center is working on establishing one of the largest ecological corridors in Brazil. The 3,000 ha ecological corridor will link up existing blocks of forestland on the estate. Currently the center is working on reforestation through native tree species seedling plantings under rubber trees. The seedlings are grown by the center in its nursery. The Center is willing to host doctoral and master students that will be conducting research on the biodiversity of the Alantic rainforests. Contact Dr. Kevin Flesher, Director.

World Agroforestry Centre

The World Agroforestry Centre works in six regions of the world (East Africa, West and Central Africa, Southern Africa, Latin America, South Asia and Southeast Asia), with research focused on six global priorities. These include: Quality Trees, On-farm productivity, Marketing and extension, Land health, Climate change, and Environmental Services. Much of the Centre's research is focused on Africa, where "persisent poverty and environmental degradation are particularly acute".

African People & Wildlife Fund

The African People & Wildlife Fund (APW) works to conserve Africa's wildlife, protect their natural habitats, and to promote village development through innovative, multidisciplinary strategies that emphasize coexistence with the natural world.  The African People & Wildlife Fund was developed in response to increasing concerns over the threatened global status of large carnivore populations in Africa. The Fund helps provide new conservation solutions for Africa’s large carnivores. APW grew out of the realization that most protected areas are not large enough to protect genetically viable large carnivore populations, and therefore, the survival of Africa’s large carnivores depends upon the people utilizing land outside protected areas.  The Fund is currently active in the Tarangire ecosystem and the Selous-Niassa Corridor, both in Tanzania. APW is working towards a vision where healthy human communities live among and alongside healthy carnivore populations. The Fund has identified six key strategies for achieving its goal: Human-carnivore conflict resolution, building community capacity, training environmental leaders, collaborative carnivore conservation, non-protected area conservation, and African Lasting Landscapes. APW has an internship program through which Tanzanian and international master and doctoral students are welcome to collaborate and conduct research. Students that are fluent in Kiswahili are preferred.

University of Georgia - Costa Rica, San Luis Research Station

The UGA San Luis Research Station is on a 170-acre working farm adjacent to the Monteverde Cloud forest Preserve in Costa Rica. The Station is situated in the upper catchment of the Guacimal River watershed that extends from the cloud forest to the Gulf of Nicoya, crossing multiple life zones and land-uses. Campus facilities include a climate-controled wet-lab, computer center, dining hall and residential center, and "casita village" for our graduate researchers and Resident Naturalists. The farm also has organic vegetable gardens and cattle, which supply produce, milk, and meat for the Station. UGA offers graduate students the opportunity to conduct research on the farm. The San Luis Research Station offers an excellent opportunity for F&ES students to carry out summer field research in areas such as ecology, hydrology, anthropology and social ecology. Students interested in carrying out research projects at the SLRS should contact Quint Newcomer, Station Director and Resident Scientist, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 706-583-0303.

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