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Fundación Cordillera Tropical

27 Case Pkwy

Burlington, VT 05401



© 2019   Fundacion Cordillera Tropical  

“Conservation is life..”
― Kedar Dhepe

Scientific Team

Alfredo Martinez, Ph.D

Alfredo is a native of Cuenca, Ecuador, who studied biology at the University of Azuay (Cuenca), where he obtained his MS degree (2001) after researching the composition and structure of woody vegetation in a montane forest in the upper Mazar drainage in the Nudo del Azuay.  He received a PhD from the University of Bayreuth, Germany in 2007 in the faculty of Biology, Chemistry and GeoSciences.  Upon his return to Ecuador he assumed various posts in environmental management and education as Executive Director of Fundación Cordillera Tropical, Superintendent of Cajas National Park, Sub-director of Environmental Management at ETAPA, the municipal water company, Professor in the Department of Agroforestry and Landscape Management at the University of Cuenca.  His passion is the study of Andean montane forest.  Currently he pursues an academic career in southern Germany.

Beverley Coghill-Wemple, Ph.D

Beverley Wemple is a Professor of Geography and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont (UVM) and a faculty fellow of the Gund Institute for Environment.  Her research examines the dynamics of water, sediment and solute fluxes in mountain watersheds.  Since 2013, Beverley has served as a scientific advisor to FCT on the Mazar River project, providing training to Foundation staff and working with students on the project.  In 2017, she completed a six-month residency in Cuenca, Ecuador as a Fulbright Foundation Science and Technology fellow, co-hosted by FCT and the Universidad Politécnica Salesiana.  In addition to her work as a UVM faculty member, Beverley serves on the Education and Outreach committee of the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences and as an Associate Editor for the journal Water Resources Research.

Catherine Schloegel, Msc.

Catherine served as Executive Director of FCT from 2008 to 2016 and led many innovative and successful programs, among them a community park guard program; a cadaster of legal property owners within Sangay National Park; assistance in participating in the government’s payment for environmental protection initiative; the Mazar River Project, a hydrologic monitoring program; silvopastoral and riverine forestation, with associated conservation commitments signed by landowners; and an early-warning system for the Ministry of the Environment to detect illegal intervention in wild habitats of Sangay National Park.  Catherine is trained as a geographer (Vassar College, 2000) and has a Master of Environmental Science (2006) from the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University.

Becky Zug, Ph.D

Rebecca (Becky) Zug carried out research for her M.Sc. and Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009 and 2018) in the forests and páramos of the upper Mazar and Dudas watersheds, southern Sangay National Park.  She employed an array of camera traps over an area of 40 square kilometers, with an observation time total of more than three years.  In addition to her focus on the implications for conservation of threatened mammals on an agricultural frontier (the subject of her Ph.D. dissertation), she created a unique and profound photographic inventory of the wild fauna.  Becky is currently a professor and researcher at the San Francisco University in Cumbayá-Quito, Ecuador.

Leah Bremer, Ph.D

Leah earned her Ph.D. in Geography from the University of California at Santa Barbara/San Diego State University.  Her dissertation field research was carried out in the paramos of Sangay National Park and other settings in highland Ecuador, supported by a Fulbright grant.  Leah had obtained an M.S. in Conservation Biology from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, and a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University.  Currently Leah is Assistant Specialist of Environmental Management at UHERO (University of Hawai’i Research Organization) and WRRC (Water Resources Research Center).  Her interests include ecosystem services, watershed management and conservation, environmental justice, native agroforestry restoration, and joint social and ecological outcomes of land-use and climate change. 

Molly Roske

Molly served FCT as its Executive Director from 2017 to 2019 and advanced the silvopastoral and riverine reforestation projects in scale, planting success rates and research results.  Her academic preparation was in environmental science (MSc., 2014, from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies), with a specialization in hydrology.  She has worked and researched at the Smithsonian Institution’s Tropical Research Institute in Panama, and Colorado State University.  While directing FCT she brought her expertise to the Mazar River Project, where she will continue to participate in future years as a scientific advisor to the project and to its local university student collaborators. 

Derek Martin, Ph.D

Derek is a geographer with specialization in geomorphology.  His primary research focus is river system dynamics, and in particular the application of geospatial technologies to the analysis of longitudinal patterns in rivers.  He has done research in the Missouri Ozarks and North Carolina Piedmont regions of the United States, and in recent years in various highland rivers in southern Ecuador, including the Ningar, an Amazon headwater stream in the southern tier of Sangay National Park.  From these studies he has published recent articles on the implications for carbon dynamics of bank erosion in an Andean paramo river system, and paramo river geomorphic characteristics.  His PhD was granted by the Geography department at the University of Tennessee (2014).

Stuart White, Ph.D.

Stuart came to the discipline of Geography (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D., 1981) for the opportunities it provided to work in natural settings, and to integrate the perspectives of both natural and social sciences.  He had been in Peace Corps in the western Cordillera of Colombia and did his graduate field work in the southern Peruvian Andes and upper Amazon.  A period teaching at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, ended in 1983 when he found a remote and largely non-intervened property in the mountains of southern Ecuador, where he has been living ever since.  The property is called the Mazar Wildlife Reserve, of which 95% is native habitat with its intact wild fauna.  On pastures at lower elevations, with his wife of 20 years, Patricia Espadero, he raises alpacas and was a founding member of Fundación Cordillera Tropical.  In recent years Stuart has taught two field courses for the University of Vermont, in alpaca husbandry and grass páramo ecology.