OTS 2008-9, Conservation and development in Tropical Countries: Insights and Implications Course Brochure ( 164 kb )
Dates: May 24 30, 2008
LIM. Carolina Mauri
Coordinator Environmental Policy Program
Assistant Environmental Policy Program
With Support from
OTS Senior Staff:
Dr. Liana Babbar
April 4th, 2007
Application form ( 136 kb )
Map ( 101 kb )
Organization for Tropical Studies
OTS-8, Environmental Science and Policy Program
Over 150 countries have at least half of their land mass in the Tropics and these represent more than 40% of the world’s population. Most tropical countries are considered “developing” - many have rapidly growing populations, have natural resource/commodities-based economies, and host the majority of the world’s species and remaining wildlands. These countries encompass a wide variety of socio-economic, political, geographic and ecological circumstances but all will experience changes in population and economic development, some profoundly so, and this means changing demands upon local, regional, and global natural resources and systems with attendant issues, innovations, and trade-offs.
Since 1988 OTS has offered an intensive, one-week course designed for professionals whose work affects public policies relevant to environment and development in the tropics. The 15-20 participants include staff from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Congressional Committees, U.S. Government Departments and Agencies, and the private sector (including not-for-profit organizations and businesses).
The course uses Costa Rica as a base for examining a range of issues related to the balance of economic development and the use, management and conservation of nature. An enhanced technical understanding of tropical natural systems, pressures upon these and the resultant strategies and choices employed in Costa Rica provides a basis for consideration of global relevance. Site visits, lectures, readings, and meetings with Costa Rican experts are oriented around a set of themes that illustrate ecological principles and explore the economic, political, and social factors shaping resource use and conservation. The general themes covered in recent courses have included:
- Function, status and conservation of biological diversity (species, ecosystem levels)
- Environmental services and payments (e.g., ecotourism, watersheds, carbon sequestration)
- Climate change, role of forests, and impacts on biodiversity
- Parks, protected areas, and wildlife policy
- Land use change, corridors, and habitat fragmentation
- Tropical forest ecology, management, and use.
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Participants travel extensively in Costa Rica by chartered bus visiting a variety of sites selected to illustrate a range of topics. The course covers a lot of material in a short time, so each day is fully-scheduled with an early start. Safe and comfortable accommodations include both hotels and biological research stations - participants should be prepared for shared sleeping quarters and bathrooms and some lack of privacy. Flexibility, congeniality, and a good sense of humor are essential qualities. Days will include some hiking, heat and humidity, mosquitoes, a few long bus rides, new foods, and other rigors of travel and first-hand learning. Bringing just the right items can make all the difference, so please check the information on preparing for the trip and a brief introduction to Costa Rica. Preliminary Program. ( 110 kb )
The course relies heavily on expert faculty from within Costa Rica. Two course coordinators (Carolina Mauri and Karol Barboza) will remain with the course from start to finish and have overall responsibility for leading the course (with support from Dr. Liana Babbar of OTS).
Participants usually are individuals whose work affects or has the potential to affect natural resource use, management or conservation, particularly in the tropics. The course does not require a background in science. Typically, participants are nominated by alumni or OTS affiliates however OTS does consider other interested professionals. See contact information below for more information.
Applications are brief and cover elements such as your reasons for wanting to attend the course, contact information, and allergy/food preference information. Applications must be accompanied by a current version of your resume, curriculum vitae, or a biography that includes educational degrees earned, areas of study, and employment history. Applications can be downloaded ( 136 kb ) .
Deadline for applications is April 4th, however early submission is recommended as space is limited and acceptances are made on an ongoing basis.
This list provides information on the preparations you need to make to attend the course. It also includes some basic information on Costa Rica, a packing list, and such rules of thumb as:
Download the list here ( 35 kb )
- Don’t pack more than you can carry 100 yards
- Assume you will be able to do laundry at least once and pack accordingly
- Make sure you have a passport and it has at least 6 months until expiry
Financing and scholarships
The Course is funded in equal parts through a grant from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Division of International Conservation and OTS. To help defray the costs of the course a tuition of $3000 per person is charged. Participants from the corporate sector are expected to pay full tuition and provide their own air travel to and from Costa Rica. Partial and full scholarships are available to other participants and granted by OTS on a case by case basis. Congressional staff are exempt from paying tuition and travel.
For more information contact:
LIM Carolina Mauri
cmauri @ ots.ac.cr
OTS coordinator, Environmental Policy Program
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