Current research projects
My research interests broadly lie on aspects of human-environment interactions, and include various topics such as natural hazards and disasters, ecosystem services and drivers of ecosystem change, landscape transformations, and environmental movements. To conduct my research I use a variety of qualitative, quantitative, and participatory methods, along with the application of different geographic tools and techniques including spatial analysis, aerial photo interpretation, and GIS.
Natural hazards and disasters
In this research, we address disasters in Puerto Rico mainly from two perspectives: from the so-called "social memory" (which refers to the accumulated experiences, the knowledge acquired and the lessons learned from past disasters emphasizing knowledge, skills and procedures that have been effective to anticipate possible impacts, and to respond and recover after a disaster) and from the perspective of vulnerability and community resilience. From the point of view of social memory we explore how this concept can be useful to increase the resilience of people facing natural hazards and disasters. On the other hand, through the study of community vulnerability and resilience, we explore how access to different resources (economic, material, social, human, natural) increases vulnerability, or, on the contrary, increase resilience.
Hurricane impacts on natural resources
In this project we explore the effects of hurricanes on different ecosystems and natural resources. Through a systematic literature review, we intend to explore how the interaction between hurricanes and forests on the island has been studied. Another area of study is the impact of hurricanes, in this case hurricane Maria, on coastal resources (mangroves, sandy beaches, coral reefs, among others).
Ecosystem services and drivers of ecosystem change
This research compares stakeholders’ knowledge and perceptions about forest ecosystems and the factors that influence the delivery of such services. The main objective is to identify gaps and misunderstandings in information, but also shared themes and concerns among stakeholders that can be used as a starting point to initiate dialogue, promote collaboration and social learning. We also explore the factors that can promote or limit forest co management. The main study area is El Yunque National Forest.
Environment, society and environmental movements in Puerto Rico
Misión Industrial de Puerto Rico was among the first non-governmental organizations in the island that promoted human well-being, environmental justice, and healthy of natural resources. This project documents the environmental cases in which Misión Industrial was involved, thus raising awareness and knowledge of Puerto Rico’s environmental history. In addition, we explore the strategies that were successful in the environmental movements, or, on the other hand, factors that could have limited their success.