Visiting Assistant Professor of Forestry
Prior to joining the faculty at Hampshire, Robin was engaged in field research and policy analysis contributing to the forest sector reform in Peru. Before that she served as chief academic officer at The School for Field Studies, an environmental study abroad program.
Her research focuses on the forest management and timber production systems of smallholder farmers. Her current geographic focus is Amazonia and Bhutan. Her research is deeply rooted in field work and is based on long-term engagement with farmers and other actors in the forestry sector. In this interdisciplinary research she and her colleagues use mixed methods, including interviews, participatory workshops, and forest mensuration techniques.
Her teaching interests include forest ecology and management, the intersection of science and policy, ecological and policy dynamics at the farm-forestry interface, and field research methods.
What is happening with forests around the world? Some are coming back, others are moving up slope, and still others are disappearing. In this course we will look at an international set of case studies on forest transitions (either deforestation or restoration) and degradation. Through a political ecology lens, we will evaluate global imperatives, national policies, and local actions to "save the forest," while we unpack the local economic, social and political structural drivers of forest transition. Issues related to environmental justice will underlie much of our discussion through asking about the social consequences of forest transition as well as the economic outcomes. Literature research and complex problem analysis will inform the class discussion, and student work will culminate in a case study paper.
Plants productivity underlies most of life on Earth. In this three-part course, we will explore the role of plants in addressing some challenging problems, such as climate change, hunger, toxic environment, and social disintegration. First we will survey the use of plants in sustainable solutions. Then we will discover the structure and function of plants, the basis for growth, and the diversity of the plant kingdom. Finally students will design a botanical solution, one that is socially just, economically feasible, and ecologically sound. In this course students should demonstrate an understanding of the form and function of plants and an ability to apply that to developing sustainable botanical solutions to environmental and social problems. Weekly labs, both outdoors and in, will involve microscopy, experimental work in the greenhouse, and local field plant identification.
In this course students will become intimately and extensively knowledgeable about Amazonia, a region that hosts the world's largest contiguous tropical rainforest remaining on Earth -- and four other major vegetation types. We will explore what we think we know about the Amazon region, discover what others know, and consider what no one knows, looking for kinds of information that policy-makers and farmers have to work with in making policy and land use decisions. We will co-create a collective knowledge map of environmental, social, political, cultural, and economic dimensions of this vast multi-country region. Then, sub-groups will conduct an inquiry into the science behind each dimension to identify myths in our conceptualization, gaps in our understanding, and linkages among dimensions. Learning will be largely student-driven and inquiry-based with co-creation of knowledge and analysis.
This is a field course about forests. Shaped by climate, elevation, and continuous disturbance, the forests of New England are diverse, ever-changing, and beautiful. In this class we take field trips to twelve forests, reading the literature on each forest type, learning to identify trees and other denizens, and evaluating forest function, uses, and management strategies from the perspective of multiple-use forestry. We will learn to read the landscape for clues about history and stand dynamics, and also take steps in the scientific method, from observation to research design.