Forest Management & Recovery | Cara Rockwell | Florida International University | FIU
Skip to Main Content

Cara Rockwell

Assistant Professor
Institute of Environment
International Center for Tropical Botany
Department of Earth and Environment

Forest Management & Recovery

Recent efforts to protect natural resources in landscapes have recognized local populations as key allies in conservation. Forest communities now control vast areas of tropical forest through recent devolution of government-owned lands and formal recognition of customary rights. In the Peruvian Amazon, one such land allocation strategy was the establishment of long-term concessions for Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) production by smallholders. Our team seeks to transform our understanding of regional Brazil nut-rich forests by assessing important indicators of forest cover loss, degradation, and socio-economic conditions at the landscape scale.

At the same time, similar issues of forest exploitation and recovery are at play in South Florida. South Florida claims extensive areas of recuperating forest that were heavily logged in the 19th and 20th centuries, including bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) tracts in Big Cypress National Preserve. Together with our research partners from Big Cypress National Preserve, we are implementing a pilot study of forest recovery in secondary cypress forest. Seed funding for this project has been provided by The Curtis & Edith Munson Foundation’s Florida Environment grant program. This research will provide critical information on secondary forest health in Big Cypress National Preserve and inform conservation and management strategies.

A pile of Brazil nut fruits

Measuring a tree in Peru

Photos provided by CIFOR