Environmental governance, community-based conservation, institutional analysis, climate change adaptation, belief systems, sustainability
Central America, Mexico, and Peru
Catherine Tucker has a joint appointment with the Department of Anthropology and the Center for Latin American Studies.
Catherine Tucker’s research explores how collective action and governance arrangements may enhance or undermine the sustainability of social-ecological systems. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, she studies cross-scale changes in forest systems and institutional arrangements for natural resource management. Much of her work has focused on community-based forest and watershed management among indigenous and rural populations in Honduras, Mexico, and Guatemala. A decade of work with an indigenous Honduran community culminated in the monograph, Changing Forests: Collective Action, Common Property, and Coffee in Honduras. Due to the profound impacts of coffee production on tropical montane forests and rural livelihoods, she has been considering the sociocultural and ecological consequences of coffee production and consumption. More broadly, she studies why coffee has such global economic and cultural relevance, and how belief systems may influence behavior. This effort has led to the introductory text, Coffee Culture: Local Experiences, Global Connections. In current research with a multinational team, she is assessing coffee producers’ experiences with market volatility and climate change, and the implications for rural livelihoods and forest conservation. This research includes collaborations with Central American coops to learn whether Fair Trade and alternative trade certifications provide economic and environmental benefits. In related work, she is a founding member of the international network, Mountain Sentinels, composed of researchers studying mountain social-ecological systems. The network works with stakeholders to monitor change processes, refine existing climate change models, and conduct comparative analyses of sustainable governance efforts and adaptation in mountainous regions.
Tucker came to the University of Florida from Indiana University, Bloomington, where she worked as a postdoctoral researcher, and then as an assistant and associate professor (1996-2015). She served as Chair of the Department of Anthropology from 2012-2015. Her ongoing affiliations include the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University. She serves on the Scientific Leadership Council of the Mountain Research Initiative based in Bern, Switzerland, and the editorial boards of Conservation and Society, and Human Ecology. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.Contact