AU Sets Environmental Lecture on Coffee, Communities and Conservation in Latin America

AU Sets Environmental Lecture on Coffee, Communities and Conservation in Latin America

3/27/14 ASHLAND, Ohio – The fourth and final event in Ashland University’s Environmental Lecture Series this year will be a presentation by Dr. Amanda Rodewald, director of Conservation Science, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and associate professor in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Dr. Rodewald will speak on "The Intersection of Coffee, Communities and Conservation in Latin America." The lecture will be held Thursday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the Ronk Lecture Hall of the Schar College of Education. This event is free and open to the public.

This year’s Environmental Lecture Series explores “Environmental and Human Health in Latin America,” with perspectives from experts in human ecology, policy and scientific study related to specific environmental issues.

The coffee-growing regions of the Central and South American Highlands are intensively used and the deteriorating quality of these forests threatens the ecosystem services upon which human communities rely. The reality is that little forest completely escapes pressure from cultivation or grazing. There is a need to identify ways that human activities can be made more compatible with conservation. Shade-grown coffee farms are especially well suited to simultaneously meet a variety of economic, social and

ecological needs. It provides a variety of forest products (e.g., coffee, fruits, firewood, lumber, and medicines), while at the same time maintains forest cover, supports biodiversity, and reduces erosion and chemical use compared to other intensive agricultural systems, such as sun coffee and pasture for cattle grazing.

Perhaps no other group better highlights the positive role that shade-coffee can play in conservation than Neotropical migratory birds, which heavily use shade-coffee farms. In this talk, Rodewald will discuss how shade-coffee and other agroforestry practices can support bird conservation, ecosystem protection and ultimately human communities in Latin America.

Rodewald integrates her research and outreach efforts to inform policy and management, and as such, she regularly interacts with government agencies, conservation organizations, and private landowners. In the broadest sense, her research program seeks to understand how human activities influence ecological systems and the services they provide. Her current study systems are deciduous forests of eastern and central U.S. (urban, agricultural, and managed forest landscapes) and montane forests of Central and South America. She teaches wildlife ecology and management, conservation biology and urban ecology. She serves on the Science Advisory Board of the US EPA. Rodewald earned a Ph.D. in Ecology from Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree in Zoology from the University of Arkansas, and a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana.

The Environmental Lecture Series was established at Ashland University after the Environmental Science program was implemented in 1991-92. The lecture series was designed to support the Environmental Science program by allowing students, faculty and members of North Central Ohio communities to interact with leaders in environmental science and policy. Over the years, the lecture series has generated significant campus and community involvement and support. Recent lectures are archived for viewing at

Current support for the lecture series is provided by a grant from the Lubrizol Foundation and additional support from Ashland University. Past series have been supported by AU and grants from the GTE Foundation and the Fran and Warren Rupp Foundation.

Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###

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