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Indiana University Bloomington
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Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences
One Discipline, Four Fields

Eduardo S. Brondizio


Professor, Anthropology Department
Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography, School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA)
Faculty Associate, Anthropological Center for Training and Research on Global Environmental Change (ACT), Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change (CIPEC), Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), Native Studies Program (NAIS), and the COAS Individualized Major Program (IMP), Food Studies program
Fellow in Residence (Spring 2013), Institut d'études avancées (IEA), Paris
Professeur Invité (20122013), Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3, Institut des Hautes Etudes de l'Amérique Latine, Paris

(812) 855-8162 | Email | Office Hours

Geographical Areas of Specialization: Amazon, Brazil, Latin America

Topical Interests: Environmental and economic anthropology, land use and landscape history, ethnobotany, household economy and demographics, livelihoods and poverty, people-forest interaction, socio-ecological complex systems analysis, and integrative methodologies and remote sensing applications in the social sciences.


I am motivated by the study of rural populations and small farmers in Brazil and Latin America, their ways of life and livelihoods, their social and economic identities, and their importance to the larger society. I see my work contributing to unveil local heterogeneity and the reality of people hidden within regional and global levels of analysis, subsumed or de-contextualized under macro-level explanations of social and environmental change such as common for regions as the Amazon. My own research trajectory has evolved towards understanding interactions between household and community-level processes and larger social, political, and economic systems. My research approach seeks to integrate ethnographic and historical investigation, household surveys, ethnobotanical methods, and tools such as remote sensing, GIS, network analysis, and diverse modeling techniques to study socioeconomic, demographic, and land use change at multiple levels of analysis. My current research is focused on understanding the role of household and community level decisions on the formation of regional social-ecological complexity in the Amazon. Since the late 1980s, I have centered my work in the Amazon region studying the formation and transformation of rural families and communities as they interact with government policies and development programs, regional and global commodity markets, demographic and environmental change, and it is concerned with the local and regional social and environmental implications of these processes, including issues of poverty, deforestation, and the emergence of regional rural-urban network systems. I have maintained a systematic and cumulative, field-based research program in the Amazon focused on the region’s historical peasantry, riverine caboclos of the Amazon estuary, colonist farmers settled along the region’s highways (e.g., Trans-Amazon, and Br-163), and, more recently, rural-urban networks studied in collaboration with colleagues and graduate students. I am also involved with several collaborative and comparative international programs examining human dimensions of global climate change and sustainable development, sociocultural dimensions of ecosystem services programs, and efforts to develop collaborative frameworks for socio-ecological systems research. These include involvement with the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Program (IHDP), and several collaborative research networks. The sample of publications listed below illustrate well these concerns and approaches.


Graduate and authorized/senior undergraduates:
E600/E400: People and Plants: A graduate seminar in Ethnobotany
E600: The Human footprint: The study of land use and cover change
E600/E400: Human Ecology from Space: An Introduction to Remote Sensing in the Social Sciences

E600/G599 Research design and proposal writing in Anthropology
E600: People and Forest;
E527: Environmental Anthropology
A495: Amazonian cultural ecology
A495: Brazilian and Amazonian cultural history

Undergraduate:E105: Culture & Society
E322: Peoples of Brazil
I375: Brazilian and Amazonian history (in Portuguese)
A150: Adapting to the future: Human and Environment in the 21st. Century (Honors division)
E105: Native Amazonians (Topics course)
E101: Ecology and Society

International courses and workshops:
Geospatial analysis: Short Course in Research Methods (SCRM), supported by National Science Foundation, Cultural Anthropology Program
Studying the Human dimensions land use change in Amazônia.
Human dimensions of land use: Research frameworks and integrative methods
Spatial techniques in ethnographic research: Remote sensing applications

Other courses:
Bloomington Cooking School: Course series Brazilian culture and food (with Alfredo Minetti)

Teaching Publications:
Reynolds, H., E. Brondizio, and Jennifer Meta-Robinson (eds.). 2010. Teaching Environmental Literacy: Across Campus and Across Curriculum. Bloomington, Indiana University Press.


Current Research Projects

Field Research in Brazil

Ponta de Pedras, Marajo Island and Belém, Pará State (since 1989), TransAmazon (Altamira-Medicilandia, Pará State), (since 1992), BR-163/Santarém region, Pará State (since 1999), Macapá, Marzagão, Amapá State (since 2006). Other sites (since 1992): Zona Bragantina and Tomé-Açu (Pará State), and Vale do Ribeira (São Paulo State).

DURAMAZ2. Developpment Durable de L’Amazonie. Multi-institutional collaboration supported by the Agence Nationale de Recherche (ANR) Agence Nationale de Recherche "Blanc - SHS 1 - Sociétés, espaces, organisations et marchés". [PIs- Herve Thery, Francois Michel Le Tourneau, et al.]

Socio-Cultural Adaptations of Caboclos in the Amazon Estuary of Brazil to Extreme Tidal Events. Multi-institutional collaboration supported by the International Development Research Center, Canada (IDRC). Lead institution: Federal University of Para, Brazil, PIs: Oriana Almeida, Sergio Rivero, Nathan Vogt, Miguel Pinedo-Vasquez, Eduardo Brondizio, Peter Deadman]

Land Use Change in Amazonia: Institutional Analysis and Modeling at multiple temporal and spatial scales (LUA/IAM) [Multi-institutional collaboration supported by the FAPESP Research Program on Global Climate Change, Sao Paulo, Brazil. PIs: Several research groups]

"Global Markets, Regional Landscapes, and Household Decisions: Modeling the History of Transformation of the Amazon Estuary." Support: National Science Foundation, Human Social-Dynamics Program. [Collaborators: Miguel Pinedo-Vasquez, Christine Padoch, Eduardo S. Brondizio Robin Sears, Peter Deadman]

"Human and physical dimensions of land use and cover change in the Amazon: Towards a multi-scale synthesis." Support: NASA LBA-Ecology [Collaborators: Emilio Moran, Mateus Batistela, Paul Mausel, Ryan Jensen, Diogenes Alves, D. Lu]

"Amazonian Deforestation and the Structure of Households. Phase II." Support: National Institute of Health, NICHD, sub-project "Community formation and transformation in the Amazon" [PIs: Emilio Moran, Leah Vanwey, Eduardo S. Brondizio; George Alter]

Selected Publications

Brondizio, E. S. and E. F. Moran (eds.) 2012. Human-Environment Interactions: Current and Future Directions. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer Scientific Publishers. 17 chs.,434 pp.

Pinedo-Vasquez, M., M. Ruffino, C. Padoch, E. S. Brondizio (eds.). 2011. The Amazonian Várzea: the decade past and the decade ahead. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer Scientific Publishers co-publication with The New York Botanical Garden Press: 362 pp.

Reynolds, H. and E. Brondizio, Jennifer Meta-Robinson  (eds.). 2010. Teaching Environmental Literacy: Across Campus and Across Curriculum . Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Pp. 212.

Brondizio, E. S. 2008. The Amazonian Caboclo and the Açaí palm: Forest Farmers in the Global Market.” New York: New York Botanical Garden Press. Pp. 402 [Winner: 2010 Mary W. Klinger Book Award of the Society for Economic Botany; Runner up: The 2010 Julian Steward Award for best book in Environmental Anthropology 2006-2009. Anthropology & Environment Section of the American Anthropological Association]

Research Articles:
Kumar, P., E. Brondizio, F. Gatzweiler, J. Gowdy, D. de Groot, U. Pascual, B. Reyers, P. Sukhdev. 2013. The economics of ecosystem services: from local analysis to national policies. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.

Brondizio, E. S. and E. F. Moran. 2012. Level-dependent deforestation trajectories in the Amazon: 1970-2001. Population and Environment. DOI 10.1007/s11111-011-0159-8 [electronic version December 2011].

Guedes, G., E. S. Brondizio, A. Resende, R. P. Penna-Firme, and I. Cavallini. 2012. Poverty Dynamics and Income Inequality in the Eastern Brazilian Amazon – A Multidimensional Approach. Human EcologyDOI: 10.1007/s10745-011-9444-5.

Brondizio, E. S., F. Gatzweiler, C. Zagrafos, M. Kumar. 2010. Socio-cultural context of ecosystem and biodiversity valuation.(Chapter 4) In P. Kumar (ed.) The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB). United Nations Environmental Programme and the European Commission. London, UK: Earthscan Press. Pp. 150-181.

Brondizio, E.S. and R. RoyChowdhury. 2010. Spatiotemporal methodologies in environmental anthropology: geographic information systems, remote sensing, landscape changes, and local knowledge. (Chapter 12) In I. Vaccaro, E. A. Smith, and S. Aswani (eds.) Environmental Social Sciences: Methods and Research Design. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Pg. 266-298.

Brondizio, E. S. 2011. Forest Resources, Family Networks and the Municipal Disconnect: Examining Recurrent Underdevelopment in the Amazon Estuary. In M. Pinedo-Vasquez, M., M. Ruffino, C. Padoch,. E. S. Brondizio (eds.) The Amazonian Várzea: the decade past and the decade ahead. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer Publishers co-publication with The New York Botanical Garden Press. Pg. 207-232.

Marquardt Arévalo, K., L. Salomonsson and E. Brondizio. 2010. Small-Scale Farmers’ Land Management Strategies in the Upper Amazon: an Action Research Case Study. Interciencia 35(6): 421-429.

Brondizio, E. S., E. Ostrom, O. Young. 2009. Connectivity and the Governance of Multilevel Socio-ecological Systems: The Role of Social Capital. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 34:253–78

Brondizio, E. S., A. Cak, M. Caldas, C. Mena; R. Bilsborrow, C. T. Futemma, E. F. Moran, M. Batistella, and T. Ludewigs. 2009. Small Farmers and Deforestation in Amazônia. In M. Keller, M. Bustamante, J. Gash, and P. Silva Dias (eds.) Amazônia and Global Change: A Synthesis of LBA Research. World Scientific Publishing (American Geophysical Union, Geophysical Monograph Series 186). Pp. 117-143.

Guedes, G., S. M. Costa, and E. S. Brondizio. 2009. Revisiting the Hierarchy of Urban Areas in the Brazilian Amazon: a multilevel model using multivariate fuzzy cluster methodology. Population and Environment 30(4):159-DOI 10.1007/s11111-009-0083-3

Ludewigs, T., D’antona, A. de O., Brondízio, E.S., Hetrick, S. 2009. Agrarian Structure and Land Use Change along the Lifespan of Three Colonization Areas in the Brazilian Amazon. World Development (2009), 37(10) doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2008.08.018.

Padoch, C., E.S. Brondizio, S. Costa, M.Pinedo-Vasquez, R. Sears and A. Siqueira. 2008. Urban Forest and Rural Cities: Multi-sited Households, Consumption Patterns, and Forest Resources in Amazonia. Ecology and Society 13(2): 2 [online] URL:

Brondizio, E. S. and E. F. Moran.2008. Human Dimensions of Climate Change: The vulnerability of small farmers in the Amazon. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 363, 1803–1809.