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Anthropological Center for Training and Research on Global Environmental Change

A Research Center of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Indiana University Bloomington
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ACT mourns the loss of colleague and friend, Professor Elinor Ostrom

Ostrom Memorial

Please click here to read the official IU announcement as well as to access other materials related to Dr. Ostrom's work.

Please click here to read the official IU Press Release.

Published Jun 22, 2012

Jornal Da Unicamp

Jornal Da Unicamp interviews Dr. Moran

"When it comes to environmental issues, we need a more honest debate about what are in fact human needs and therefore what it means to have a comfortable life and be economically viable. It is recommended by the anthropologist Emilio Moran, visiting professor in the graduate program in Environment and Society at the Center for Environmental Studies and Research (Nepam) at Unicamp. Moran is teaching a course this semester at the invitation of the coordinator of the Climate Project, Professor Lúcia da Costa Ferreira. The Climate Project Nepam and Center for Population Studies (Nepo), both from Unicamp, is a thematic project financed by FAPESP, whose goal is to understand how population dynamics interact with the social and ecological dynamics in a region of high environmental vulnerability - the coast of Sao Paulo - in the context of global climate change. In the following interview, Moran, who is from Indiana University (USA), also talks about deforestation in the Amazon, consumerism and the role of meeting in Brazil at Rio +20, among other topics..."

Click here for the article and interview! (available in Portuguese only)

Published Apr 16, 2012

ACT hosts "Fusion of Polarimetric Radar and Optical Data for Land Cover Classification" Workshop

Click on image to access its high-resolution version.

On October 7th and 8th, ACT hosted a workshop at Indiana University's Memorial Union on "Fusion of Polarimetric Radar and Optical Data for Land Cover Classification" at Indiana University's Memorial Union.  Presentations given ranged from topics on Land Use and Remote Sensing, Land Cover Classification, Data Fusion Techniques and Methods.

Drs. Emilio Moran, Eduardo Brondizio, Dengshend Lu, and Rinku Roy Chowdhury hosted Drs. Luciano Dutra, Corina Freitas, and Sidnei Sant'Anna from INPE, Brazil's National Institute for Space Research, as well as Dr. Mateus Batistella from EMBRAPA, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation.

Click here to access a copy of the workshop agenda.

Published Oct 20, 2011

Dr. Emilio Moran officially inducted into National Academy of Sciences

Dr. Emilio Moran

Dr. Moran and Pres. Cicerone

Moran, ACT's director, who was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in April 2010, was officially inducted to the NAS in a ceremony April 30, 2011, in which he signed the book and was then congratulated by the NAS President Ralph Cicerone. Congratulations to Dr. Moran!

Published Aug 22, 2011

Francisco Kennedy de Souza receives the prestigious Kleinhans Fellowship

Kennedy de Souza
Congratulations to Francisco Kennedy de Souza, named Rainforest Alliance ‘Steward of Western Amazônia’ this month. Kennedy is the recipient of the prestigious Rainforest Alliance Foundation Kleinhans Fellowship.

Kennedy is a Fulbright scholar at IU, a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA), and an active member of the Anthropological Center for Training and Research on Global Environmental Change (ACT) and the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis research communities.

Click here for the official Rainforest Alliance announcement!

Published Aug 22, 2011

IU ecological anthropologist Moran elected to National Academy of Sciences

Congratulations to Dr. Moran for his induction into the National Academy of Sciences!

Dr. Moran

Click here for full IU News Room article!

Published Dec 02, 2010

Summer 2010 Release of "Meio Ambiente & Florestas"

Meio Ambiente & Florestas

This book is aimed at the general reader in Brazil to inform them of the value of forests both economically and environmentally. It was released on the occassion of the Book Fair in Sao Paulo, Brazil, that lasted from Aug. 12-22, 2010.

Dr. Moran out shopping

The book can be obtained through the links below:

Editora SENAC, Sao Paulo

Livraria Cultura, Sao Paulo

Congratulations to Dr. Moran on the Summer 2010 release of 'Meio Ambiente & Florestas'!

Published Dec 02, 2010

CRES Grant Awarded to Dr. Catherine Tucker!

Congratulations to Dr. Catherine Tucker for obtaining a workshop grant from the Center for Research on Environmental Studies (CRES)!


“Climate Change, Plant Pests and Land Cover Transformation: Confronting challenges to sustainable coffee production in Mexico and Central America,” Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, September 26-30, 2010.

Published Dec 02, 2010

New Book and Publications from Dr. Catherine Tucker!

Dr. Catherine Tucker

Congratulations to ACT affiliate and Assistant Professor of IU Anthropology, Dr. Catherine Tucker, on the forthcoming release of her new book, Coffee Culture: Local Experiences, Global Linkages, on December 17, 2010 by Routledge Press' "Anthropology of Stuff" series!

She also has two recent publications:

Tucker, Catherine M. 2010 “Learning on Governance in Forest Ecosystems: Lessons from Recent Research.” International Journal of the Commons 4(2):687-706.

Click for article

Tucker, Catherine M. 2010 “Private Goods and Common Property: Pottery Production in a Honduran Lenca Community.” Human Organization 69(1):43-53.

Click for article

Published Dec 02, 2010

Two new books released this past March!

This past March, two books edited by Drs. Emilio Moran, Mateus Batistella, Diogenes Alves, and Elinor Ostrom hit the shelves!

The Press of the University of São Paulo, Editora SENAC Sao Paulo, and the Livraria da Vila hosted a release event and book signing that took place at Livravia da Vila - the announcement is posted below:

Amazonia Ecossistema

The Press of the University of São Paulo, and Editora SENAC Sao Paulo, together with the Livraria da Vila, invite you to the release of the books:

Amazonia: Nature and Society in Transformation Edited by Mateus Batistella, Emilio F. Moran, and Diogenes Alves


Forest Ecosystems: Human Environment Interactions Edited by Emilio F. Moran and Elinor Ostrom

On March 24, 2009, between the hours of 18:30 and 21:30:

The editors will present the two books from 19 to 20 hrs, and then there will be a book signing and reception in the Bookstore:

Livravia da Vila
Rua Fradique Coutinho 915
São Paulo, SP
Phone +55-11-3814-5811

Book Signing

Purchase Amazonia - Natureza E Sociedade Em Transformaçao

Purchase Ecossistemas Florestais

Published Sep 14, 2009

ACT featured in the inaugural issue of The College

The College

Indiana University's College of Arts and Sciences has just released the inaugural issue of "The College", a full-color magazine devoted to showcasing the research, profiling the people, and covering the events happening at COAS. One of the featured articles in this issue is on Dr. Moran and ACT. Check out the Spring/Summer 2009 online edition here (Flash required):

The College

If you'd like to download the PDF of the ACT article click here:

Watching the Rainforest

Printed copies of the magazine will be available starting with the next issue.

Published Aug 06, 2009

Dr. Moran presents 2007 Herman B Wells Distinguished Lecture


The Institute for Advanced Study has provided the full text of Dr. Moran’s lecture to the Society for Advanced Study (which he presented in the Fall 2007) on the topic “Human-Environment Interactions in the Amazon Rain Forest” here:

Lecture Transcript

Published Aug 04, 2008

New book published by Dr. Eduardo Brondizio

The Amazonian Caboclo and the Açaí Palm: Forest Farmers in the Global Market

Congratulations to Dr. Eduardo Brondizio, on his new book, The Amazonian Caboclo and the Açaí Palm: Forest Farmers in the Global Market, which was published by the New York Botanical Garden, and launched on June 5, 2008, in New York City. IU Bloomington Anthropology Chair Eduardo Brondizio tells the story of the boom in the açaí fruit economy -- from a rural staple to a chic health food delicacy in national and international markets -- and examines the development of the production systems and commodity chains required to supply the burgeoning demand for this fruit. His new book also carefully reconsiders the contested and stigmatized history of the social identity of caboclos -- Brazilians who are descended from both Amerindians and Europeans. Brondizio explains how the Amazonian caboclos who inhabit the Amazonian estuarine floodplains are forest farmers who have been transforming their forest environment, sometimes imperceptibly, for generations. The boom in açaí provides an invaluable window through which the society, ecological knowledge, and economic life of those who produce the fruit can be viewed. Brondizio is known for combining many aspects of life in his studies and books, from the unique cultural practices of the people he studies to their economy and ecological relationships. The Amazonian Caboclo and the Açaí Palm: Forest Farmers in the Global Market is published by The New York Botanical Garden Press. Charles Peters, editor of the press' series Advances in Economic Botany, said, "Author Eduardo S. Brondízio's treatment of caboclos and açaí sets a new standard in the study of people and plants." 

Click here to purchase

Published Aug 03, 2008

"People and Nature" by Dr. Emilio Moran Out Now!

Book Signing

Congratulations to Dr. Moran on publication of the Portuguese version of PEOPLE AND NATURE: NOS E A NATUREZA - UMA INTRODUÇAO AS RELAÇOES HOMEM-AMBIENTE, recently released in Brazil. Above is a picture from the book launching on June 23rd.

Nos E A Natureza

Synopse: Emilio F. Moran, estudioso das questões ambientais e professor da área de meio ambiente na Universida de Indiana (EUA), traz uma abordagem fundamentada e com diversos insights a respeito das relações entre o homem e o ambiente. Discute, por exemplo, como muitas comunidades provocam impacto bem menor no planeta do que as sociedades urbano-industriais e possuem conceituações muito diferentes de como tratar a natureza. 

Click here to purchase

Published Jul 23, 2008

“GEOINFORMAÇÃO MONTORIMENTO AMBIENTAL NA AMERICA LATINA," edited by Drs. Emilio Moran and Mateus Batistella out now!

Book SigningBook Cover

Congratulations to both Drs. Moran and Batistella on their edited volume “GEOINFORMAÇÃO MONTORIMENTO AMBIENTAL NA AMERICA LATINA” which was launched on July 15th in Brazil.

  Purchase here

Published Jul 22, 2008

Student Awards!

Jessica Chelekis has been awarded the NSF Cultural Anthropology Doctoral Dissertation Improvement. The title of her project is: "Women and Direct Selling as a Household Economic Strategy in the Lower Brazilian Amazon." She will be working in Ponta de Pedras, Marajó, Brazil, and the research will take a year (Sept 08-Sept 09). She will examine the impacts of direct sales through corporations like Avon and Tupperware in household economies in the Brazilian Amazon. She is also concerned with how economic changes associated with direct sales transform and/or reinforce traditional gender relationships.

Tony Cak received the NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant from the Geography and Regional Science program. The title of his project is "Changing the Amazon Landscape: Dynamics of Land Use and Ecological Change in Small Watersheds". He will be working in Altamira, Pará, Brazil, from August 2008-May 2009, and will be examining the role of household needs and activities, land and water use, and perception of water quality in affecting the water quality of small watershed streams. Tony also received notice that he is a recipient of the National Security Education Program's David L. Boren Fellowship to aid funding of his project.

Rodrigo Penna Ferme Pedrosa has been awarded the Inter American Foundation Grassroots Fellowship to pursue a year-long field work research among quilombolas in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo). His project is titled: "Poverty, Identity and nature conservation in Brazil". This work will be initiated in mid-September and will last for at least 8-10 months. He will collect ethnographic, household survey, interviews, and land use/cover change data to understand the impacts of cultural and environmental policies on people's livelihood, identity and the environment.

Published Jun 17, 2008

ACT’s Paula Dias (undergraduate researcher) is only the 5th IU student to win Beinecke award!

Paula Dias

May 12, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Paula Dias, an Indiana University Bloomington junior, has been selected as a 2008 Beinecke Scholar. Dias, of Bloomington, Ind., is one of only 22 students nationwide to receive the $34,000 award, which supports graduate study in the arts, humanities or social sciences. She is the fifth IU student to receive the award. An anthropology major, Dias is currently studying abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France. She was born and grew up in Brazil, South America. Her research interests include women, contraception and urbanization in the Brazilian Amazon. Dias has worked at the Anthropological Center for Training and Research on Global Environmental Change (ACT) since her junior year of high school. She spent two months in the Amazon conducting fieldwork and has spent the last two years analyzing the data from her research there. Dias hopes to continue studying the Brazilian Amazon and to earn her doctorate degree. "This award means that people believe in my potential as a researcher, and that my ideas can develop into interesting issues in my field of study," Dias said. "This award is a great way to give support and encouragement to undergrads with graduate study aspirations." The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 by the Sperry and Hutchinson Company to honor Edwin, Frederick, and Walter Beinecke. The three brothers shared a strong belief that businesses should support educational institutions. The endowment was created to assist students who display strong motivation and exceptional potential. Since 1975, the program has selected more than 410 college juniors from 97 different schools. For more information, please contact Edward Gubar at 812-855-2827 or gubare@indiana.edu.

Published May 12, 2008

Avon in the Amazon: Women and Direct Selling in Marajó, Brazil

Avon in the Amazon Presenter: Jessica Chelekis
Ph.D. Student, Anthropology

Friday, October 12 @ 11:30 a.m.
ACT Conference Room, Student Bldg. 331


Over the past 30 years, direct sales corporations have increasingly penetrated rural markets in the Third World, offering a new, flexible way for women to earn money while fulfilling traditional expectations and performing domestic tasks. Although much research has been conducted on land use and agricultural systems among poor rural farming populations in the Amazon, few studies have focused on women’s contributions to the household economy. An array of national and multinational direct sales companies is present in this region, offering an ideal opportunity to investigate how women have taken an urban-oriented sector and made it a part of their livelihood strategies. I will examine the relationship between women’s participation in direct sales—such as selling Avon or Tupperware—and traditional gender roles, and how direct sales fits into the household economy. I will also talk about the ways in which direct sales systems link local and global economies.

Join us and bring your lunch!

Published May 12, 2008

Poverty, Identity, and Nature Conservation in Brazil

Rodrigo Penna Firme PedrosaPresenter:
Rodrigo Penna-Firme
Ph.D. Student, Anthropology

Friday, September 28 @ 11:30 a.m.
ACT Conference Room, Student Bldg. 331

Abstract: On one hand, multicultural policies in Brazil and Latin America have had enormous positive impact on the empowerment of hundreds of rural and “traditional communities” by recognizing rights over land and knowledge, based on ethnic identity. On the other, environmental policies have created restrictions and opportunities to resource use by these communities (i.e quilombolas) through mechanisms such as the establishment of protected areas. I argue that the socio-economic and environmental outcomes created by the juxtaposition of these policies may either threaten or empower quilombolas. It may also lead to environmental degradation or conservation. Upon being transformed into “traditional population” and granted land rights, quilombolas may benefit directly from access to resources and new economic opportunities, but they risk being kept poor since “traditional populations” are not expected to develop strong market links and high consumption rates. I call the paradox commodification of poverty, given that the goal of nature protection schemes might contribute to maintaining these “traditional populations” under continuing economic constraints. The question is whether this is creating a contradiction. Namely, empowering groups such as quilombolas (Brazilian maroons), but limiting their freedom to use local resources, develop market connections and self-governing local institutions. The big challenge, however, is to understand how the superimposition of ethnic-based and environmental policies has affected people's poverty and the environment. Similarly, how granting land rights for people living in protected areas have affected both people’s livelihood and the environment? In this presentation I will take you to a short trip to Cambury, a quilombola community located within the Parque Estadual da Serra do Mar (Serra do Mar Sate Park, São Paulo, Brazil). I will talk about the challenges of doing this kind of research and some of the major preliminary findings and data collected from this community, government offices and NGOs in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

Join us and bring your lunch!

Published September 26, 2007

Dr. Catherine Tucker organized and chaired a panel for the Latin American Studies Association

Catherine TuckerDr. Catherine Tucker organized and chaired a panel for the Latin American Studies Association in September on “Natural Resource Management, Science and Spirituality: Intersections Shaping Latin America’s Environment” which won the School for Advanced Research (SAR) Session Prize for the outstanding panel on Nature, Science and Religion in Latin America. The award includes a SAR-sponsored workshop in Santa Fe with the session participants during Spring 2009.

Published September 9, 2007

ACT welcomes new graduate students and visiting faculty for 2007-08

ACT welcomes the following new students and visiting scholars for the coming 2007-08 academic year:

ACT group photo

Director Emilio Moran (center) with Gilvan, Sandra, Angela, and Kennedy

Gilvan Guedes is a visiting research associate from the Federal University of Minas Gerais. Gilvan will be working with Paula Sauer Dias and Dr. Emilio Moran on a project involving the use of formal demography to create fertility estimates for Altamira using data from 2005. He will also be working with Bernardo Lanza Queiroz from the Federal University of Minas Gerais and ACT’s Leah VanWey on a project on economic and sociological motivations for intergenerational private transfers in Altamira in 1997-98 and 2005. Gilvan will be with ACT for the entirety of the 2007-2008 academic year.

Visiting professor Dr. Sandra da Costa comes to ACT from the Universidade do Vale do Paraiba where she teaches urban geography. At ACT Sandra will be studying the urban growth of the municipality of Ponte de Pedras over the span of thirty years. She will be working here with Dr. Eduardo Brondizio for the next year. ACT also welcomes her husband Andre Becker and her daughter Barbara da Costa Becker.

Angela Siqueira is a new SPEA Environmental Science Ph.D. student from São Sebastião in northern São Paulo. Angela earned a master’s degree from INPE (Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research), with a focus on remote sensing. She then worked with the Brazilian federal institution of SIPAM (Amazon Protection System) for several years. She will be working as a graduate research assistant with Dr. Tom Evans, Dr. Emilio Moran, and Scott Hetrick on the NSF-funded research on regeneration of forests in the state of São Paulo and Indiana.

Francisco Kennedy de Souza is a Fulbright Fellow from the Federal University of Acre who will pursue a Ph.D. at SPEA in Environmental Science. His doctoral research will examine the impact of environmental governance policies on the economic-ecological system of the Amazonian region. He will also be focusing on forest fragmentation analysis using GIS and remote sensing techniques through satellite images. Kennedy will be working with Dr. Eduardo Brondizo.

Published August 21, 2007

Doris Navarro Awarded Fellowship

Doris NavarroIn the beginning of May 2007, one of our ACT graduate students, Doris Navarro was awarded with a research fellowship from the InterAmerican Foundation. This fellowship is directed to PhD. candidates whose research proposals are related to grassroots development in Latin American Countries.

Ms. Doris Navarro is interested in understanding the role of community organization on household economy and land use/land cover change in colonization areas of the Lower Brazilian Amazon. Right now she is in Santarem, Para State, conducting her dissertation fieldwork.

Published July 27, 2007

Bryn Bakoyéma Awarded Fellowship

Bryn BakoyémaBryn Bakoyéma, Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology, has been awarded the J. Stewart and Dagmar K. Riley Graduate Fellowship (formerly COAS dissertation fellowship) from the College of Arts and Sciences for 2007-08.

This fellowship carries a stipend of $15,000 and will provide support for her while she completes her dissertation. Congratulations, Bryn!

Published April 27, 2007

Emilio F. Moran Awarded Distinguished Professorship

Dr. Emilio F. MoranAs an anthropologist, Emilio Moran has always been concerned with how people and the environment interact in complex and sometimes unanticipated ways. His more than 30 years of scholarly study of that interaction have put him at the forefront of a new interdisciplinary field: environmental anthropology. "When we think of pioneers in ecological/environmental anthropology, Dr. Moran is certainly one of them," says Robert E. Rhoades, Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Georgia. "He is addressing some of the most challenging theoretical issues that anthropology needs to address and is doing so with great rigor." Moran's extensive work in the area of global environmental change has brought him international recognition. While studying Amazonian populations and land use in Brazil, his work with local communities led him to focus on the social causes of tropical deforestation. His research on the changing ecosystems of Amazonia has become a model for interdisciplinary collaboration, helping bridge the gap between the social and biophysical sciences. "Indeed, in many ways he has been instrumental in not only defining and expanding our contemporary understanding of what ecological anthropology is, and should be, but also in setting standards for large-scale, integrative social science," says Jeanne Sept, vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the faculties at IU Bloomington. Moran is one of only a few anthropologists worldwide who have addressed the importance of the human dimensions of global environmental change. His research into the human causes and consequences of environmental change ultimately debunked some long-standing myths about human interaction with the environment, such as the idea that the soils of the humid tropics are uniformly poor or that human population growth drives deforestation. He is also widely recognized as one of the first social scientists to integrate the use of satellite remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) into anthropological research. His use of remote sensing and GIS to help map changes over time in land-use practices added new technologies to traditional research methodologies, providing new insight into the dynamics of human-environment interaction. Moran's ability to obtain funding for his work is unmatched among his peers. In the past 15 years at IU, his research has received more than $18 million in external grant funding-an extraordinary figure for a social scientist. His research has been supported by most major grant agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Social Science Research Council. His publication record reflects his remarkable productivity, with seven books and monographs, 12 edited and co-edited volumes, and 144 research articles to his credit. He has also served on the editorial boards of 16 national and international journals and presses. Moran has received numerous awards and honors. In 1985, he was elected as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1989, and in 1999 was elected as a Linnean Society of London Fellow. Most recently, in 2002, he received the prestigious Robert McC. Netting Award from the American Association of Geographers in recognition of his work to bridge geography and anthropology. He is also a Fellow of the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology. Despite the demands of his intense research agenda, Moran has remained committed to educating the scholars of the future. He has established two internationally recognized research centers on the IU Bloomington campus, both of which he directs: the Anthropological Center for Training and Research on Global Environmental Change (ACT) and the Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change (CIPEC). The centers, which are funded through external grants, serve as training grounds for young researchers studying global environmental change. "Emilio Moran is more than an outstanding scholar. He is an institution builder and educational leader," says Gary D. Libecap, Donald Bren Distinguished Professor of Corporate Environmental Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "In a time of concern about global environmental change, he is bringing new insights and approaches for our understanding of the processes involved, the adaptations required, and ways in which societies can mitigate harmful effects." His colleagues who formed the committee nominating him for distinguished rank summed up his talents: ". . . it is his ability to successfully blend analytical constructs across spatial science, population studies, ecological and environmental studies, as well as anthropological perspectives and empiricism that makes his contributions to knowledge so profound and important." [Indiana University press release, March 2007]

Published March 27, 2007