The Sustainability Agenda

Hosted ByFergal Byrne

Exploring today's sustainability questions with leading experts.

Episode 76: Interview with Eva Garen, Director of Environmental Leadership Training Initiative

Episode 76: Interview with Eva Garen, Director of Environmental Leadership Training Initiative

In this episode we speak with Eva Garen, Director of ELTI, Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative. ELTI focuses on capacity development in human-dominated mosaic landscapes, primarily in Latin America and Indonesia, teaching the people who manage landscapes to restore and rebuild biodiversity.

Much of ELTI’s work is in tropical regions that were once forested, and one of the reasons ELTI’s programs are so important is that only 9.8% of tropical forest is protected. 

In Latin America, ELTI primarily works with farmers and cattle ranchers, while in Indonesia they primarily work with coal companies charged with environmental restoration of their mining sites. ELTI provides field-based training that are experiential.

In one case study with cattle ranchers in Panama, the field-based training on how to create a silvopastoral system was eagerly received because in the dry season, in the tropics, cattle with only access to grass will die from starvation. With the combination of diverse trees fruiting at different times providing nuts with proteins, a silvopastoral system provides the necessary food to keep them alive.

Eva underscores the complexity of power dynamics and need to work with the local organizations and individuals in order to understand the local economic, cultural and political practices. 
ELTI also has online coursework that has reached over 1000 individuals around the world.

Eva Garen, Ph.D. is the Director and Principle Investigator of ELTI, Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative. Based at Yale University, she has spent almost twenty-five years working on the social aspects of conservation and development in the tropics.

Previously Eva worked as a technical advisor on the social aspects of REDD+ with Conservation International’s Science and Knowledge Division. Eva also worked with USAID’s Forestry and Biodiversity Teams in Washington D.C. as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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