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Daniel Klooster

Professor of environmental studies, University of Redlands

Residency: September – December 2014

Research Project: Trans-border communities and environmental governance in Mexico

Research Interests:community forestry, conservation strategies, environmental certification, migration, trans-border communities and environmental governance, sustainable rural development

Public Talk: “Trans-border Communities and Environmental Governance in Mexico” on Oct. 29, 2014


Daniel Klooster is professor of environmental studies at the University of Redlands. He holds a Ph.D. in geography from UCLA. His research addresses community forestry as a sustainable development strategy in Mexico at scales ranging from common property land tenure rules to trans-national institutions such as the Forest Stewardship Council’s forest certification and, most recently, to the trans-border communities built by the indigenous Mexicans who migrate to the United States from forest-owning communities, which is his current research project.

Through interviews with members of Mexican indigenous communities in their home territories and with migrants from those same communities living in the U.S., his research project aims to clarify two main questions regarding the implications of Mexican rural out-migration for community land-management capabilities and choices: does out-migration undermine the viability of local commons management institutions and do the trans-border re-connections between sending communities and their expatriate community members mitigate these effects?

These questions are vitally important because indigenous territorial communities control 10 percent of Mexico’s territory, including many of the most important areas for ecosystem services and biological diversity. At the same time that these communities are being reconfigured by out-migration and trans-border reorganization, they are also being asked to take on greater land management roles through community forestry, community conservation, ecosystem service projects and activities linked to the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries. Unfortunately, researchers and policy makers simply do not have a solid grasp on the implications of migration for the natural resource management capacity of these important land managers.