Areas of expertise:
- Local and Indigenous Knowledge and Biodiversity
- Plant Genetic Resources and their Conservation
- Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services
- Access and Benefit Sharing
- Biodiversity and Health
Latin America (Ecuador, Bolivia, Mexico) and Pacific Region (New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia, Tonga, Hawaii).
Projects conducted since 2003:
The Pacific Programme of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK. 12/2012 – 2015
As International Projects officer my main function was to develop and coordinate a Pacific Programme of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership with partnerships in biodiversity hotspots that contribute to conserve ex-situ 25% of the world vascular flora by 2020.The main achievements:
- Initiated, and established partnerships with Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Forestry and Fisheries of the Kingdom of Tonga and the University of Hawaii.
- Developed and implemented conservation projects in New Zealand, Fiji and Hawaii, including prioritising species to be collected, establishing a collecting strategy and allocating budgets for in-country activities.
- Contributed to the proposal for the Global Tree Seed Bank Project (the Pacific region part).
- Organised, conducted and provided support to in-country training sessions for project partners in New Caledonia, New Zealand and Fiji (over 100 people trained).
The revitalisation of Achuar traditional medicine 2011.
In 2011 as a consultant for an NGO and as honorary research associate of the School of Anthropology and Conservation, I led a EU-funded project on the revitalisation of the use of medicinal plants among an Amazonian indigenous group in Ecuador.
A main output of this project was a health manual, including traditional knowledge of medicinal plants, to enhance the transmission and use of medicinal plants as part of an integrated primary health care. Health workers and Achuar people in 75 communities scattered over an area greater than Corsica have already adopted this manual. In total we distributed 1000 copies among the population and to the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Education in two provinces of Ecuador.
Research on the causes of equine grass sickness end of 2008 and 2009
As a Research Fellow at the Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy, School of Pharmacy (UCL), I conducted research on the causes of equine grass sickness (equine dysautonomia). My responsibilities included: conducting botanical surveys and collecting soil samples and plant specimens in several locations in the UK; carrying out literature reviews; undertaking quantitative and qualitative analysis of research data.
PhD project (Pharmacy): Mazatec ethnomedicine. A community study on laypeople knowledge of medicinal plants and pharmaceuticals. 2004 –2008
As part of my PhD at the School of Pharmacy (University of London), I developed and conducted a research project focusing on laypeople ethnomedical knowledge in an indigenous community in Mexico. The research tested with an econometric model the hypothesis that knowledge and use of modern medicine is replacing knowledge and use of medicinal plants in indigenous communities. I published the findings of this research on Social Science and Medicine and Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
Management and cultural importance of Enterolobium cyclocarpum in two communities of Tehuacán-Cuicatlán valley, Mexico. 2004
As part of my MSc in Ethnobotany, I developed and carried out a research project to test the hypothesis that in situ management of Enterolobium cyclocarpum, a famine food, modifies the phenotypic and genotypic structures of its plant populations in the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán valley, Mexico. More specifically, the study looked at the intraspecific variation of a set of biological characters of wild and managed populations of Enterolobium cyclocarpum to discern if a process of incipient domestication was taking place.