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V. Ernesto Mendez

Assistant Professor
Environmental Program & Department of Plant & Soil Science
University of Vermont

Ph.D. Environmental Studies Department
University of California, Santa Cruz

M.S. Agroforestry
Tropical Agriculture Research & Higher Education Center (CATIE), Costa Rica

B.S. Crop Science
Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo


Agroecology, Biodiversity Conservation and Rural Livelihoods in Tropical Landscapes; Participatory Action Research (PAR) in Central American Shade Coffee Landscapes

My research and teaching efforts have focused on developing and applying interdisciplinary approaches that analyze interactions between agriculture, livelihoods, and biodiversity conservation in tropical landscapes.  This work aims to integrate natural and social science concepts and methods, drawing strongly from the fields of agroforestry, landscape ecology, and agroecology, as well as development geography, political ecology, and rural sociology.  As a native of El Salvador, I have chosen to invest most of my energy in the Central American region, but my research and teaching endeavors have also taken me to South America and Europe.
As part of my desire to bring research into action, and with the support of a group of Salvadoran researchers, we formed Advising and Interdisciplinary Research for Local Development and Conservation (ASINDEC). ASINDEC is a local, non-profit foundation with the aims to conduct participatory action research (PAR), as a strategy to support conservation and livelihood improvement efforts of coffee farmers in El Salvador and Central America.  ASINDEC  is sister organization of the Community Agroecology Network (CAN) , a U.S. based, non-profit organization aiming to support improved marketing, PAR, and north-south networks with farming communities in Central America and Mexico.

Research interests: agroforestry, agroecology, indigenous knowledge, Latin America, tropical ecosystems, interdisciplinary analysis of agroecosystems, Costa Rica, Panama, homegardens.

Contact V. Ernesto Mendez by email:, Ernesto.Mendez@uvm.ed