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Our Team


Katrina Mullan (Principal Investigator) is Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Montana, and a faculty member in the UM Bridges graduate training program on the Food-Energy-Water Nexus. She conducts empirical research on the drivers and impacts of land use change. This includes study of the socio-economic and environmental consequences of agricultural expansion into tropical forests; the relationships between the environment and migration; and the ways that people respond to environmental risks. She has a PhD in Environment and Development Economics from Cambridge University, and previously advised on environmental policy for the UK government and the European Environment Agency.


Andrew Bell (Co-Principal Investigator) is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at New York University.  His current research portfolio focuses on the use of field instruments – such as discrete choice experiments, framed field experiments, randomized control trials – to inform behavior in agent-based models of coupled human-natural systems. Prior to this post, Andrew received his Ph.D. in Natural Resource Management from the University of Michigan, his M.Sc. in Environmental Engineering from Waseda University, and his B.Sc. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Waterloo.


Trent W. Biggs (Co-Principal Investigator) is a Professor of Geography at San Diego State University. His research interests include the impacts of land use on hydrology, water quality, and sediment.  Dr. Biggs and his students use satellite imagery, fieldwork, and modeling to diagnose and analyze water-related problems that impact the environment and human welfare. His field locations include the Brazilian Amazon, American Samoa, southern India, and the US-Mexico border region. He has MA and PhD degrees in Geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University.


Jill Caviglia-Harris (Co-Principal Investigator) is Professor of Economics in the Economics & Finance and Environmental Studies Departments at Salisbury University. Her research is focused on understanding the underlying tradeoffs between development and deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon and identifying answers to complex (and often politically energized) questions concerning the degree to which the ecological costs of deforestation are offset by local gains from economic development. Dr. Caviglia-Harris received her B.S. in Mathematical Economics and B.A. in English Literature from Binghamton University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Tennessee.


Fernando De Sales (Co-Principal Investigator) is an Assistant Professor of Geography at San Diego State University. His research interest lies primarily in developing a better understanding of the processes associated with Earth’s physical environment through climate models. In particular, the interactions between the atmosphere and the biosphere have been the focus of his research. These projects are helping solve important questions, while training graduate students to think beyond disciplinary boundaries. Fernando received his Ph.D. from UCLA and M.A .and B.S. from Universidade de São Paulo.


Elvino Ferreira (Co-Principal Investigator) is professor at the Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Departments at the Federal University of Rondônia. His research focuses on estimation of the environmental impact of animal production and waste and the study of the newly developing scientific and technological process for improving animal production and soil fertility originated from agroecosystems. Dr. Ferreira is a member of the Academic Masters of the Environmental Sciences Program UNIR / EMBRAPA.


Daniel W. Harris (GIS Coordinator) is an Associate Professor of Geography and Chair of Geography and Geosciences Department at Salisbury University. His research has focused on the design and implementation of GIS applications across multiple disciplines including the geosciences, economics, biology and in local government. He received a B.A. in Geography from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, a M.A. in Geography from Appalachian State University and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in Science Teaching  from the University of Maryland-College Park.


Corrie Monteverde (Doctoral Student) is pursuing her Ph.D. at San Diego State University (SDSU) and the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) where she is advised by Fernando De Sales, Trent Biggs, and Charles Jones. Her primary research interests are in regional modeling, applied climatology, and climate change studies. In particular, she is interested in changes in precipitation and temperature regimes and linking these with processes or conditions that impact farmers, growers, businesses, and communities. She would like to utilize climatology studies to inform both policy and climate product end users. She received her B.S. in Physical Geography from UCSB and her M.S. in Watershed Science from SDSU.

Camila Abe (Doctoral Student) is pursuing her degree in Physical Geography at the Joint PhD program of San Diego State University (SDSU) and the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). Her research interests are in the field of hydrology: soil moisture, evapotranspiration, streamflow quantity and quality, and their responses to climate, land cover and management. The main tools and techniques applied in her research are hydrological modelling, remote sensing, GIS, and field data. She earned a Masters' Degree in Remote Sensing at the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE), where she used hydrological modelling to understand the streamflow and sediment response of an Amazonian basin to changes in land cover. She is an Environmental Engineer graduated from the Federal University of Itajubá (UNIFEI), where she conducted research on the relationships between land cover change, soil erosion and water quality.


Erin Sills (Co-Principal Investigator) is the Edwin F. Conger Professor of forest economics and coordinator of international programs in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University, where she is also a member of the Center for Environmental and Resource Economic Policy and the Research Leadership Academy. She is a research associate of CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research), EfD (Environment for Development), and Imazon (Amazon Institute of People and the Environment). Erin has a PhD in natural resource economics from Duke University, and a BA in public policy from Princeton University.


Thaís Santiago (Post-doc) is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Economics at University of Montana. She was also a visiting scholar at Salisbury University. Thaís has been investigating the impacts of environmental policies and drivers of land use changes in the Amazon. She worked with Brazilian policy makers on the implementation of the Rural Environmental Registry System (CAR) and environmental compliance programs in the Amazon. Thaís was also a Professor at the Federal Center of Technological Education of Minas Gerais, Brazil. She holds a B.S. in Biology, a M.S. and a Ph.D. in Forest Sciences from Federal University of Lavras, Brazil.


Wanderson Cleiton Schmidt Cavalheiro

(Research scientist and contractor) is a Forest Engineer and has a Master's in Environmental Sciences from the Federal University of Rondônia. His main activities focus on deforestation, land use and their effects on agroecosystems. Cleiton uses satellite and radar imagery, field activities and modeling to diagnose and analyze water-related problems and their effects. He is part of the Environmental Research Group (GEOMA) of the Federal University of Rondônia. 

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Jime Ribeiro (PhD Student) is pursuing her PhD at North Carolina State University. She is originally from Abaetetuba (Pará State), a riverine town whose name in Tupi language means “illustrious people place”. Jime has Interdisciplinary Master’s Diploma in Sustainable Development of the Humid Tropics (NAEA/UFPA), and Bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineer at the State University of Pará (UEPA),  both degrees supported with scholarships from the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), in Brazil. She also has a College Diploma in Geodesy and Cartography at Federal Institute of Pará (IFPA).

Mariana Vedoveto (PhD Student) is pursuing her PhD at North Carolina State University. She is focusing her studies on impact evaluation, rural development, and environmental economics. Before joining the PhD program, Mariana worked as a researcher for a think tank in the Brazilian Amazon and developed publications that informed policies and programs on forest conservation and sustainable development. She also managed projects in Peru and Bolivia with a focus on equipping indigenous organizations, rural communities, and regional governments with tools to confront deforestation and enhance livelihoods. Mariana is native to Brazil and received a B.A. in Forest Engineering from the University of São Paulo, a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University, and a Master of Public Policy from Duke University.

Laura Villalobos (Co-Principal Investigator) is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Salisbury University in Maryland. Her research includes impact evaluation of forest conservation policies such as protected areas, payments for ecosystem services, forest certification, and forest permits in Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, and Sweden. Currently, she is working on estimating the effect of rural electrification on household welfare in the Brazilian Amazon and on understanding the effect of weather variation on crops and dairy production and the role of farmers’ adaptation to those shocks, also in Brazil.

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