Anthropology | Empirical Theory & Methodology: IFRI
E622 | 27395 | Tucker/Fischer


Both popular and scientific concern over deforestation is at a
historically high level. Yet standard macro-level explanations for
deforestation such as population growth, poverty, conversion of forest
to agriculture, and the penetration of global markets do not account
for much of the variation found in forest condition and forest use at
the micro (local) level.  This course explores theoretical
and methodological approaches for exploring human-environment
interactions, especially deforestation. It provides training in data
collection methods, including participatory techniques, individual and
group interviews, and forest measurement. Students apply their
training in field research in a forest community in Southern Indiana.

The course specifically exposes students to the International Forestry
Resources and Institutions Research Program (IFRI). The program is an
interdisciplinary, cross-national effort to explore the factors
affecting forest conditions at the local level, especially those that
influence a community's relationship to its forest. The methods used
are drawn from the social, natural, and physical sciences in order to
achieve a comprehensive understanding of local-level processes.
Researchers are currently using the IFRI approach in over 100 forests
in the Americas, Africa and Asia.  This course is designed for
graduate students who seek to learn theories and methods relevant for
social-environmental research, and particularly the approaches of an
active, ongoing research program applicable to the human dimensions of
environmental change. It requires several evenings and weekends of
fieldwork during the first half of the course. Grades are based in
part upon completion of a case study report.