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Public Lecture Series with Dr. Charles Peters

Managing the Wild: Stories of People and Plants and Tropical Forests

For the past thirty-five years, Dr. Charles Peters has been involved in a variety of projects focused on the management of tropical forests in collaboration with local communities. This work has taken him to Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and tropical Africa, and to some of the largest and most remote tracts of tropical forest on the planet.

In this lecture, he’ll be sharing the results from some of these projects and highlighting the utility of involving indigenous communities in the conservation and management of tropical forests.

In some cases, his community interactions were wildly successful. In many others, the pattern of forest exploitation notably improved at the community level and a handful of villagers became quite skillful with the concepts and tools and methodologies needed to manage their forests. And, in a few places, his time with local people and their forest represented only a temporary distraction from more pressing issues that the community was facing.

All of these interactions, however, produced a fascinating group of stories, and many of them describe something radically different from what we usually hear. Dr. Peters will offer insights as to how local indigenous peoples know a lot about managing tropical forests and that they can be much better at it than we are.

His presentation will present selected stories from his work with indigenous communities, and offer a broad overview of contemporary resource use in the tropics. Such an overview, hopefully, will paint a more realistic picture of the relationship between people and plants in tropical forests, and will suggest ways to develop more effective and equitable strategies for the long-term conservation of these unique ecosystems.

Charles M. Peters is Kate E. Tode Curator of Botany at the Institute of Economic Botany of The New York Botanical Garden and professor of tropical ecology (adjunct) at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Dr. Peters’ research focuses on the ecology and management of tropical forest resources; most of this work is done in close collaboration with local community groups. He has conducted long-term field research in the Peruvian Amazon, Papua New Guinea, Indonesian Borneo, Mexico, and Brazil, and has directed community forestry projects in Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Uganda, Cameroon, and most recently in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar. Dr. Peters is the author of numerous publications, including Sustainable Harvest of Non-timber Plant Resources in Tropical Moist Forest: An Ecological Primer (1994), The Ecology and Management of Non-timber Tropical Forest Resources (1996) and Systematics, Ecology and Management of Rattans in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam (2014).

Date: Monday, Sept. 17

Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Presentation

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: $10

Guest Ticket Price: $25

Student Ticket Price: $5 with valid student ID

Reservation Notes:

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