Land-Use Transitions in the Tropics

March 26th - 28th, 2008

schedule & hours

Columbia–Rutgers Workshop on Land Use Transitions in the Tropics

Department of Geography, Rutgers University and
Department of Ecology, Evolution & Environmental Biology, Columbia University.

Tom Rudel (rudel AT
Laura Schneider (laschnei AT
Maria Uriarte (mu2126 AT

Call for papers
For the last fifty years humans have converted tropical landscapes to a wide variety of uses with disturbing consequences for biodiversity, climate, the provision of ecosystem services, and human societies. During the past two decades researchers in the earth, natural, and social sciences have struggled to understand these land use transitions through a wide range of research efforts. What have we learned? From this vantage point what are the continuing challenges that we must confront in order to construct a useful land change science for the tropics? What are the interdisciplinary challenges? To address the questions, we plan to convene a workshop next March on land-use transitions in the tropics.

For analytic convenience we think of land transformations as a continuum, beginning with deforestation or disturbance, passing through an intermediate stage that often involves agriculture, and then in some instances leading to a partial recovery of the forest. Building on this simple typology, we ask participants to draw upon their own research to write and present synoptic papers looking at one of three critical stages: 1) Deforestation, 2) Agricultural Change, and 3) Forest recovery. We encourage the submission of papers that evaluate theoretical and methodological approaches rather than focus on particular case studies. We also ask that participants explicitly consider how they would integrate information from earth, social and ecological sciences in their understanding of land transformation.

The conference will consist of three half-day paper presentation sessions and one half day working discussion session followed by a plenary meeting. The papers presented, as well as a series of articles that summarize insights from participant’s discussions, will be submitted for publication in a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal. The deadline for submitting an extended abstract (no more than 2,000 words) is September 30th. The first day of the conference will be hosted in New York City (Columbia University.) and the last two days in New Brunswick, NJ (Rutgers University.).

View the flyer.