Tropical forest ecology, community forestry management, tropical conservation and development
Western Amazon and Mexico
Kainer has a joint appointment with the School of Forest Resources and Conservation and the Center for Latin American Studies, she is also a core faculty member of its Tropical Conservation and Development Program.
Kainer initiated her work in Latin America as a forest extensionist with the U.S. Peace Corps in Paraguay. Most of her research has been conducted in Western Amazonia, concentrating on studies in the Brazilian state of Acre, with some recent research and capacity building efforts in Mexico. Her research focuses on advancement and application of the ecological sciences to support conservation of neotropical ecosystems through sustainable use, focusing on applications for community-based forest management systems. To better understand the broader cultural and socioeconomic context in which communities manage their forest resources, she integrates social science concepts and methods into her research agenda. Kainer is also keenly interested in the role of graduate education as a contributor to conservation and livelihood improvement in tropical regions. She has received research grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, USAID's Higher Education for Development Program, the Fulbright Program for U.S. Scholars, The MacArthur Foundation, The Inter-American Foundation, and the American Association of University Women among others. Results of Kainer's research can be found in Forest Ecology and Management, Biotropica, Oecologia, Journal of Applied Ecology, World Development, Biological Conservation, Science, Conservation Biology, and Society and Natural Resources, among others. Kainer previously served as graduate faculty of a multidisciplinary sustainable systems program at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania (1997–2000). She received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida's School of Forest Resources and Conservation.