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Charles M. Peters

Curator Emeritus, Institute of Economic Botany

Ph.D., Yale University
New Haven, CT, 1989


Tropical forestry and ecology


Plant ecology/community forestry

Research locations

Amazonia, Mexico, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, SW China, Laos, Cambodia


My research focuses on the ecology, use, and management of tropical forest resources. Most of this research is done in close collaboration with local community groups. I am currently working in the Tapajos-Arapiuns Extractive Reserve in Brazil with several communities who are developing management plans for the sustainable production of furniture woods. I am also involved in community forestry research in the Selva Maya of Mexico, and have recently started work in Myanmar and Vietnam to look at the conservation and sustainable use of rattan (Palmae) in these two countries. I have conducted long-term field research in the Peruvian Amazon, Papua New Guinea, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, and Veracruz, Mexico, and have directed community forestry projects in Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Uganda, and Cameroon. I am an Associate Professor of Tropical Ecology (Adjunct) at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies of Yale University, an Adjunct Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC) of Columbia University,and I am editor of the monograph series, Advances in Economic Botany.

Selected Publications

Henderson, A., C. Peters, U. Myint Maung, U Saw Lwin, U Tin Maung Ohn, U Kyaw Lwin, and U Tun Shaung. 2005. Palms of the Ledo Road, Myanmar. Palms 49(3): 115-121.

Purata Velarde, S., C.M. Peters, M. Ambrosio, B. Brosi, and A. Lopez. 2004. Los alebrijes de Oaxaca y el manejo de las selvas secas. Ciencia y Desarrollo 174: 52-60.

Peters, C.M., S. Purata, M. Chibnik, B. Brosi, A. Lopez, and M. Ambrosio. 2003. The life and times of Bursera glabrifolia (.H.B.K.) Engl. in Mexico: A parable for ethnobotany. Economic Botany 57: 431-441.

Birnbaum, K., R. DeSalle, C.M. Peters, and P.N. Benfey. 2003. Integrating gene flow, crop biology, and farm management in on-farm conservation of avocado (Persea americana, Lauraceae). American Journal of Botany 1619-1627.

Cauley, H.A., C.M. Peters, R.Z. Donovan, and J.M. O’Connor. 2001. Forest stewarship council forest certification. Conservation Biology 15:311-312.

Peters, C. M. and W. Giesen. 2001. Balancing supply and demand: A case study of rattan. Borneo Research Bulletin 31: 138-149.

Peters, C.M. 2000. Pre-Columbian silviculture and indigenous management of neotropical forests, pp. 203-224 in D. Lentz (ed.), Imperfect Balance: Landscape Transformations in the Pre-Columbian Americas. Columbia University Press.

Peters, C.M. 1996. The Ecology and Management of Non-timber Tropical Forest Resources. World Bank Technical Paper No. 322, The World Bank, Washington.

Peters. C.M. 1996. Beyond nomenclature and use: A review of ecological methods for ethnobotanists. Advances in Economic Botany 10:241-276.

Peters, C.M. 1994. Sustainable Harvest of Non-timber Plant Resources in Tropical Moist Forests: An Ecological Primer. Biodiversity Support Program, Washington, D.C. (published in
English, Spanish, French, and Bahasa Indonesia).

Peters, C.M. 1990. Population ecology and management of forest fruit trees in Peruvian Amazonia, pp. 86-98 in A.B. Anderson (ed.), Alternatives to Deforestation: Steps Toward the Sustainable Use of Amazon Rain Forest. Columbia University Press.

Peters, C.M., A. Gentry and R. Mendelsohn. 1989. Valuation of a tropical forest in Peruvian Amazonia. Nature 339:655-657.

Peters, C.M., M.J. Balick, F. Kahn, and A. Anderson. 1989. Oligarchic forests of economic plants in Amazonia: Utilization and conservation of an important tropical forest resource. Conservation Biology 10:1-12.

Peters, C.M. 1983. Observations on Maya subsistence and the ecology of a tropical tree. American Antiquity 48:610-615.