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Department of Resource Economics
College of Natural Resources
and the Environment
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
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Departamento de Desarrollo
Rural y Regional
Facultad de Estudios Ambientales y Rurales
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota
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Economic and Policy Analysis of Local Governance
in Latin America

Visit to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2005

Juan Camilo Cardenas

Visited the Department of Resource Economics at the University of Massachusetts to collaborate with UMass faculty and students
  • Collaboration in experimental design of field work and experiments for the dissertation of Maria Claudia Lopez, PhD student in the Department of Resource Economics at UMass
  • Reviewed research papers from the dissertation of Maria Alejandra Velez, a PhD student in the Department of Resource Economics at UMass, which were coauthored with Professors James Murphy and John Stranlund.
  • Discussion for further collaboration in research and the creation of a network of experimental labs in Latin America
  • Discussion of new research papers coauthored with Professors James Murphy and John Stranlund.
  • Exchange of teaching tools and a review of experimental economics syllabus with UMass faculty, including the adoption of Personal Response Systems as an interactive teaching tool for use in Colombia.


Daniel Castillo and Brigitte (Luis Guillermo) Baptiste

  • Daniel and Brigitte (Luis Guillermo) presented seminars on their their research in the Department of Resource Economics at UMass public (see abstracts below).
  • Daniel organized a workshop on dynamic modeling for some PhD candidates of the Department of Resources Economics.
  • Brigitte (Luis Guillermo) and Daniel developed contacts with several scholars from the departments of Resource Economics, Landscape Architecture and Planning, and the Political Economy Research Institute, all at UMass

Presentation Abstracts

Basis for biodiversity conservation within local land use planning policies in Colombia
Presented by Brigitte (Luis Guillermo) Baptiste

Since 1997 the Colombian government required all municipalities to prepare their “Plan de Ordenamiento Territorial” (Land use plan) and to submit it to the environmental authorities. Those plans are to be reviewed and adjusted every ten years. While the planners considered different kind of approaches to the ecological setting for land use allocation, the idea of biodiversity conservation, a must in Colombia, was poorly integrated into them because of different reasons: In many cases, basic information about genetic, species, populations, and other levels of biotic complexity was missing; in others the subject was not of an economic, social or cultural priority for the local government or the community. The absence of clear guidelines to include biodiversity into local planning, threatens not only biodiversity itself, but previous national and regional decisions on conservation as well as international agreements where the country has been acknowledged for its leading efforts on preserving nature. Following a joint effort among national level institutions, who have asked Universidad Javeriana to prepare a guide to include biodiversity conservation in local land use planning processes, the problems of knowledge, perception and attitude are to be discussed, considering the limited capacity of most Colombian municipalities to handle even basic ecological information (which is already scarce or non existent) and the apparently poor levels of local awareness of the importance of biodiversity, being it economic, symbolic or else. Case studies are being developed to guide the research and the preparation of a first draft of a manual with guidelines to include biodiversity criteria into municipal land use planning in Colombia.

The use of simulation tools in natural resources use problems: A micro level perspective
Presented by Daniel Castillo

The purpose of the presentation is to share some of the methods and tools we have used in recent years at the School of Environmental and Rural Studies at Javeriana University (Bogotá, Colombia) to address the puzzle of individual decision making and policy design in natural resources use. I will present three case studies in which we have combined the tools of dynamic modeling, experimental economics, rural appraisal tools, and role games. The first is a case study in Providence Island (Colombian Caribbean sea) with fishermen and crab hunters (Castillo and Saysel, 2005). Second, a case of water management in an Andean watershed, Fuquene Basin (Maya et al 2004). And the third is a case study in the Colombian Amazonian forest that intends to understand the decision making process underlying land use change from forest to cattle plots using role games and agent based modeling (Vieira, 2005). I will discuss some methodological insights and future work.

© 2005 Department of Resource Economics, College of Natural Resources and the Environment
University of Massachusetts Amherst.