Rodrigo Cámara Leret 

 Indigenous knowledge networks

   Linking biological and cultural diversity

27 February 2020

Research featured at the World Biodiversity Forum in Davos, Switzerland. 

Rodrigo and Prof. Jordi Bascompte organized a session on "Indigenous knowledge in science-policy assesments", featuring talks by Rodrigo, Prof. Vojtech Novotny, Prof. Andrea Migliano, Dr. Marta Gruca and Prof. Eduardo Brondizio.

27 November 2019

New publication in Science Advances Special Collection - Transformations in Climate and Biodiversity

R. Cámara-Leret, N Raes, P Roehrdanz, Y de Fretes, C Heatubun, L Roeble, A Schuiteman, PC van Welzen & L Hannah (2019). Climate change threatens New Guinea's biocultural heritage. Sci. Adv. 5(11): eaaz1455.

16 October 2019

Blog in The Ethnobotany Assembly

New blog Indigenous Knowledge Networks: Linking Biological and Cultural Diversity 

with Prof. Jordi Bascompte discussing our latest articles in PNAS and Nature Sustainability.

1 September 2019

Rodrigo joins Prof. Jordi Bascompte's lab at the University of Zurich.

Jordi Bascompte is Professor of Ecology at the University of Zurich and Director of its Specialized Master on Environmental Sciences. He has been ranked by Thompson Reuters as one of the most highly cited ecologists in the decade 2002-2012. Among his distinctions are the European Young Investigator Award (2004), the Ecological Society of America's George Mercer Award (2007), the Spanish National Research Award (2011), and the British Ecological Society's Marsh Book of the Year Award (2016). Recipient of an ERC's Advanced Grant, Jordi has served in the Board of Reviewing Editors of Science and has been the Ideas and Perspectives Editor at Ecology Letters. His research has been featured in some of the top journals including Nature, Science, and PNAS. Among his books are Self-Organization in Complex Ecosystems (with R.V. Solé) and Mutualistic Networks (with P. Jordano), both published by Princeton University Press.

Rodrigo has been visiting Jordi’s lab during the last few years as part of a collaboration that resulted in a paper recently published in PNAS. This paper introduced the concept of “indigenous knowledge networks,” a quantitative framework to assess the simultaneous influence of the ecological and cultural heritage in shaping the local knowledge of indigenous communities on the services provided by plant species. As a postdoc in Jordi’s lab, Rodrigo will expand this line of research further bringing the human component into studies of ecosystem services that have traditionally focused on the ecological component.

29 August 2019

Our 2017 Nature Plants paper featured in Nature's special collection on Humboldt's Legacyin one of the major themes of his life "interconnected systems and keystone species":

R Cámara-Leret, S Faurby, MJ Macía, H Balslev, B Göldel, WD Kissling, N Rønsted, JC Svenning & H Saslis-Lagoudakis. Fundamental species traits explain provisioning services of tropical American palms. Nature Plants 3 (2): 16220 (2107)

2 August 2019

New blog in Nature Research Sustainability Community "Drawing on the entire kaleidoscope of human thought" 

Science-Policy assessments that aim to understand how humans interact with ecosystems have been dominated by “western” viewpoints. However, this is at odds with our planet’s cultural diversity. This blog presents the story behind our recent Nature Sustainability paper and of two scientists who inspired us.  

24 July 2019

New publication in Economic Botany on indigenous knowledge of New Guinea’s useful plants:

This paper represents the first large-scale synthesis of ethnobotany in New Guinea and is based on a  12-month quantitative review of 488 references and 854 herbarium specimens. 

R Cámara-Leret & Z Dennehy. 2019. Indigenous and local knowledge of New Guinea's useful plants: a review. Economic Botany:

8 July 2019

New publication in Nature Sustainability finds large documentation gaps in indigenous and local knoweldge for science-policy assessments

R Cámara-Leret & Z Dennehy. 2019. Information gaps for indigenous and local knowledge for science-policy assessments. Nature Sustainability 

7 June 2019

Rodrigo was an invited speaker at the workshop on the Manokwari Declaration: Opportunities and Challenges in the West Papua Conservation Province, in UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles, USA, 7 June 2019. The workshop included leading figures in conservation and policy decision-making such as Dominggus Mandacan (Governor of West Papua), Richard Schneider, Lee Hannah, and Mark Erdmann (Conservation International), Charlie Heatubun (Research and Development West Papua government) and Edwin Scholes (Cornell Lab of Ornithology).

1 May 2019

New publication in PNAS introducing "Indigenous knowledge networks"

R Cámara-Leret, M.A. Fortuna & J Bascompte. 2019. Indigenous knowledge networks in the face of global change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA:    PDF

7 April 2019

New publication in Forest & Society on Challenges for Conservation Policy in New Guinea

This paper discusses the challenge of fullfilling the 2018 Manokwari Declaration signed by the governors of Indonesian New Guinea. It is an international collaboration with the Univ. Arizona, UC Santa Barbara, Cornell, Harvard, RBG Kew, Univ. Papua Manokwari and Conservation International..


1 April 2019

9 October 2018

Rodrigo was an invited speaker at the International Conference on Biodiversity, Ecotourism, and Creative Economy, Manokwari, Indonesia, 9 October 2018.


27 August - 7 September 2018

Research visit at the University of California Santa Barbara

Rodrigo  worked with Dr. Lee Hannah and Patrick Roehrdanz to assess how projected land use change and climate change will impact  New Guinea's biota. This work will pave the way for setting conservation priorities for a climate-smart protected area network in the island.

5 August 2018

Contributed Talk at the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America.    

In "Unravelling New Guinea's Plant Megadiversity" Rodrigo discussed the challenge of building the first expert-verified checklist of vascular plants in New Guinea, and outlined key shortfalls in digitally-available data.         

25 May 2018

BSc thesis of Mateo Jaimes published in Caldasia. The study focuses on the knowledge and use of palms in three indigenous communities in the   Colombian Amazon. While palms play an important role in all three communities,  there is a notable decrease in knowledge about uses associated with culture and ritual ceremonies. 

M Jaimes, J Betancur & R Cámara-Leret. 2018. Palmeras útiles en tres comunidades indígenas de La Pedrera, Amazonia colombiana. Caldasia 40 (1): 183-199.  PDF

30 March 2018

 New publication in Science on threats to Colombian ecosystems      

OA Pérez-Escobar, R Cámara-Leret, A Antonelli, R Bateman, S Bellot, G Chomicki, AM Cleef, M Diazgranados, S Dodsworth, C Jaramillo, S Madriñan, I Olivares, A Zuluaga & R Bernal. 2018. Mining threatens Colombian ecosystems. Science. 359 (6383): 1475.  PDF

26 March 2018

New publication in Kew Bulletin about New Guinea palms, MSc  thesis of Peter Petoe. A taxonomic revision is presented of the Hydriastele wendlandiana group, a well-defined species grouping within the Indo-Pacific palm genus Hydriastele that occurs in New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and northern Australia.

Peto P, R Cámara-Leret & WB Baker. 2018. A Monograph of the Hydriastele wendlandiana group (Arecaceae: Hydriastelele). Kew Bulletin  73: 17.  PDF 

2 January 2018

New publication in Economic Botany, MSc thesis of Eliane Schneider. This study reappraised traditional knowledge about palms by the Chachi indigenous group in Ecuador, 30 years after the first study in 1985 on Chachi palm ethnobotany (Barfod and Balslev 1988).  Today, the Chachi living in the study communities use only nine of the 14 palm species recorded in 1985  and understory palms have lost their importance as a plant resource.   

Schneider E, R Cámara-Leret, A Barfod & C Weckerle. 2017. Palm use by two Chachi communities of Ecuador: a 30-year reappraisal. Economic Botany   PDF

October 2017

Start of Royal Society project "Building the New Guinea Research Team" Rodrigo (PI) visited the Naturalis Biodiversity Center to  work  with  Prof. Peter van Welzen and Dr. Niels Raes. This was a unique opportunity to  consult the Leiden herbarium, library archives, meet with old friends  (Dr. Wim Vink, Dr. Jan Frits Veldkamp and Dr. Max van Baalgoy) and  examine ethnographic objects at Dutch museums.     

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