KARINA BANDA

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I am a researcher in tropical ecology and conservation. Currently, I am finishing my Ph.D. studies at the University of Edinburgh, based at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, thesis title: “Phytogeography and conservation of the neotropical dry forest with emphasis on Colombia”. My project started with a focus on the tropical dry forests of Colombia but expanded to take in the entire area of Latin America and the Caribbean via my role in the Latin American Seasonally Dry Tropical Forest Floristic Network – DRYFLOR.

I have experience in project management and administration, working with multidisciplinary teams in governmental and non-governmental institutions. The specific topics that I have been working on are vegetation surveys, biodiversity database development, and protected areas planning. I also have experience in science communication: organization of academic events-conferences and symposia- and developing material and activities for local communities in the tropics.

Currently, my professional interests are focused on forest restoration and innovative conservation actions and tools, including effective uses of protected areas. For example, restoration programs that aim to connect forest remnants focused on sustainable forestry systems involving local communities, and protected areas as mechanisms to preserve biodiversity. I am convinced that to preserve the biodiversity of these conservation units it is critical to link scientific research to social and environmental components.

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