Team

The people of SERVIR-Amazonia aim to improve local capacity to harness satellite data and geospatial information and foster sustainable natural resource management throughout the Amazon.

Carlos Gasco

Program Director (CIAT)

Carlos is the Project Director of SERVIR-Amazonia. He is an experienced international development professional who has worked on major international programs, primarily funded by USAID, providing overall program management, financial and administrative supervisory services, actively involving project stakeholders, and assuring general compliance of technical, financial and administrative client requirements.

Brian Zutta

Science and Data Lead (SIG)

Brian is a multidisciplinary scientist with expertise in ecology, plant ecophysiology and remote sensing. His most recent work focuses on predictive geospatial modeling, deforestation and forest degradation monitoring, and bridging the gap between science and policy in Latina America. For several years, he served as the coordinator of the MRV and national forest monitoring system for REDD+ of the Ministry of the Environment of Peru.

José Leandro Fernandes

User Engagement Lead (CIAT)

José Leandro Fernandes is the User Engagement Lead of SERVIR-Amazonia. He is an experienced international development professional who has worked on major international programs, funded by USAID, IDB/BID and UN, coordinating projects, and providing services in the areas of economic development, urban sustainability and environmental management.

Simone Staiger-Rivas

Coordinator, Communications, MEL and Knowledge Management (CIAT)

Simone is the coordinator of communications and Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) for SERVIR-Amazonia. Since the early 2000s, she focuses her work on knowledge management in agricultural research for development, particularly internal and external communication, monitoring-evaluation-learning, data and information management, and capacity building.

Louis Verchot

Senior Scientist (CIAT)

Louis is a forester with over 30 years of experience in the tropics. He leads CIAT’s research program on restoration of degraded lands with research interests in issues related to land use change, deforestation, and agroforestry contributions to climate change, monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, and restoration of ecosystem processes.

Steve Prager

Senior Scientist (CIAT)

Steve has experience in industry, government, and academia. He was a professor of geography in Geographic Information Science for ten years prior to coming to CIAT. His current efforts emphasize modeling that integrates across the social, economic and biophysical domains. Steve co-leads a modeling team comprised of over 20 statisticians, climate scientists, geographers, economists, computer scientists and more.

David Saah

Professor (University of San Francisco) and Senior Scientist (SIG)

David has been trained as an environmental scientist with expertise in landscape ecology, ecosystem ecology, hydrology, geomorphology, ecosystem modeling, natural hazard modeling, remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS) and geospatial analysis. He has used these skills to conduct research primarily at the landscape level in a variety of systems.

Isabel Garcia-Drigo

Gender and Indigenous People (IMAFLORA)

Isabel is the project coordinator of the Climate and Agriculture Supply Chain Initiative of IMAFLORA. She is working at IMAFLORA since 2017. Isabel works with the development of systems for verification and certification to the forestry and agriculture sectors (soy and beef industries). She is also involved in studies about natural capital and conditions to enable sustainable landscapes in the Amazon and Cerrado regions. As a social auditor and FSC member, she works with gender and indigenous people issues.

Sidney Novoa

Project Manager (ACCA)

Sidney is a director at Amazon Conservation (ACCA) for GIS & Technology Applied for Conservation with more than 10 years of experience as a researcher and manager in resource management, biological monitoring, and threat monitoring of the Amazon forests. He published up to 80 articles regarding deforestation drivers, forest fires, floods, natural forest loss. Currently, he focuses on the use and application of technological solutions for monitoring the conservation status of natural ecosystems.

Carmen Josse

Executive Director (EcocCiencia) 

Carmen holds a PhD in Biological Sciences with a specialty in vegetation and biogeography. Her experience lies in producing and managing information on biodiversity to support its planning processes, management and conservation policies. Carmen handles methods and products for classification, mapping and evaluation of ecosystems at the national level and throughout Latin America. She has experience with georeferenced tools for evaluating the adaptation of ecosystems to climate change, quantitative analysis of threats and monitoring of conservation objectives.

Kátia Fernandes

Climate Scientist (UARK)

Kátia is a climate scientist with expertise in tropical climate, including the impacts of large-scale climate variability and change on droughts and fires in the Amazon and Indonesian rainforests. Working at the interface of climate and society, she has conducted research aimed at informing climate-risk management decision making.

Jean-Pierre Wack

Project Manager (SIG)

Jean-Pierre’s diverse career reflects his drive to innovate and address environmental challenges. Currently based in the San Francisco Bay area, he focuses on forest health, ecosystem management and wildfire. He draws on SIG’s deep expertise in remote sensing, applied research and analytical capabilities to implement geospatial services.

Karis Tenneson

Environmental Scientist (SIG)

Karis is an environmental scientist with expertise in ecology, statistics, remote sensing and GIS, and urban planning. Most recently, her work has focused on monitoring land-use and land cover changes using collaborative development of remote sensing-based decision support tools, building capacity for generating activity data for REDD+ and greenhouse gas inventories, assessing ecosystem services, and scenario planning. She has been managing the co-development of the regional land cover monitoring system with the SERVIR Mekong and Hindu Kush Himalaya hubs.

Marina Irigoyen

Gender Advisor (Consultant)

Marina is a Peruvian sociologist who has developed extensive practice establishing multi-actor relationships and promoting dialogues oriented towards sustainable development. With an emphasis on issues related to governance and gender, she got vast experience in strengthening national and international teams, capacity development and monitoring and evaluation.

Thomas Moore

Indigenous Peoples Advisor (Consultant)

Thomas is a US-born anthropologist with more than 40 years experience working with indigenous peoples and their organizations in Amazon Basin countries. He has also worked in USAID Missions in Peru and Ecuador, and on international development projects throughout the Amazon Basin related to indigenous peoples, biodiversity conservation, forest management, and governance.

Africa Flores

SERVIR-Amazonia Regional Science Coordination Lead and Land Use Change Thematic Service Area Lead (NASA)

Africa’s research focuses on forest monitoring, water quality and ecological forecasting. She is a National Geographic Explorer working with Earth Observations and AI to forecast algal blooms in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. She leads a collaboration between SERVIR and SilvaCarbon to create applied knowledge and capacity in the use of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for forest monitoring and biomass estimation. She is originally from Guatemala and loves spending time with her daughter and husband.

Kelsey Herndon

SERVIR-Amazonia Regional Science Associate  (NASA)

Kelsey’s research interests focus on the human dimension of remote sensing science for decision making. Her current work addresses the long term dynamics of ephemeral water bodies in the Nigerien Sahel and the implications of political and cultural practices for managing these resources. She also has a background in archaeology, where she focused on human-environment interactions through excavations in Central America and the Southeastern United States. Outside of work, Kelsey enjoys intense hikes, pottery, and delving into the culinary traditions of the Southeast.

Vanesa Martín

Earth System Science Center Research Associate, University of Alabama

Vanesa’s research interests include the applications of optical and radar data for land use monitoring, food security, and biodiversity in Latin America. Her current work assesses how water quality in Belize may be affected by projected land cover and climate change impacts. She is also involved with the SAR-CBC project, which seeks to build capacity in Latin American partner institutions to use SAR data to carry out hazard monitoring. 

Naiara Pinto

Applied Science Team (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Naiara Pinto is a landscape ecologist with the Radar Division at NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. As the science coordinator for the UAVSAR instrument, she enjoys developing data recipes to help researchers take advantage of new radar technology. For her research, Naiara employs field and remote sensing observations to characterize forest fragmentation in the context of agricultural expansion. In the last 10 years, Naiara has helped develop approaches to characterize forest 3D structure with Lidar and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data. Naiara is a Brazilian national and looks forward to working with SERVIR-Amazonia  to refine agriculture and forest disturbance maps. One of the objectives of her project is to produce an online tool to support Zero Deforestation certification.

 

 

Doug Morton

Finance and Administrative Applied Science Team (Goddard Space Flight Center)

Douglas Morton is a Physical Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Douglas studies land use change in tropical forests. He is also part of the research team for the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED, globalfiredata.org), an effort to combine multiple sources of satellite data to better understand fire activity, greenhouse gas emissions from fires, and changes in savanna and tropical forest ecosystems following fire events. Douglas has been working in the Brazilian Amazon since 2000, in collaboration with scientists at the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE) and the Instituto do Homen e Meio Ambiente (Imazon).

Jim Nelson

Applied Science Team  (Brigham Young University)

Jim’s research focus is hydrologic modeling and analysis specializing in geographic processing and visualization. As a principal member of BYU’s Environmental Modeling Laboratory (EMRL) he led the initial development of the Watershed Modeling System (WMS) now used by public and private agencies worldwide. In 2007 EMRL was successfully migrated to the private company Aquaveo (www.aquaveo.com). Jim has worked extensively in Latin America, leading capacity building activities, most recently under AmeriGEOSS of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), and is an active participant of the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science (CUAHSI) in promoting free and open source tools for water data sharing (worldwater.byu.edu). 

Stephanie Spera

Applied Science Team  (University of Richmond)

Stephanie Spera’s research focuses on using remotely-sensed data, spatial statistics, climate models, and other tools to analyze trade-offs in ecosystem services. Much of her previous work has focused on mapping and understanding the socioeconomic drivers and consequences of land-clearing for large-scale agricultural expansion the eastern Amazon/Cerrado boundary in Brazil. She is excited to bring her expertise to this SERVIR-Amazonia team and focus on the Western Amazon.

Mayesse Da Silva

Soil Scientist  (CIAT)

Mayesse has over 7 years of experience working on soil and water management in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa (Kenya and Ethiopia), and India. She holds a PhD in Soil Science through a joint program between the Federal University of Lavras/Brazil and Purdue University/United States. Has experience on mapping and modeling landscape-soil-hydrology relationships to develop quantitative predictable patterns reflected by soil geomorphology and on applying those relationships to support decision-making regarding soil and water management, soil remediation (heavy metals), land use planning, and landscape restoration. 

Javier Mauricio Martín

GIS specialist / Digital Soil Mapping  (CIAT)

Javier is an agricultural engineer from the National University of Colombia with experience on Digital Soil Mapping (DSM) and Geoinformatics. He currently works as research associate at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT. His work has focused on the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing and Digital Soil Mapping for monitoring and modeling soil organic carbon, erosion risks, landuse changes, soil heavy metals and spatial variability of soil properties through machine learning and expert knowledge approaches.  

Paula A. Paz

Research fellow (CIAT)

 Paula is a Topographic Engineer, who works as a research assistant at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT. Her work focuses on monitoring land use and cover changes in the tropics by using GIS and Remote Sensing. She has participated in the development and implementation of the Terra-i- system in several countries around Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

 

Lucio Villa

Technical Expert in Remote Sensing & GIS (ACCA)

Lucio is a specialist in GIS and remote sensing applied to earth sciences and the environment, with more than 8 years of experience in land-cover monitoring and land-use change analysis. With expertise in the field of environmental and georisk engineering, he has developed studies focused on monitoring anthropogenic impacts as well as those caused by natural phenomena on the Peruvian coastal and Amazon regions.   He currently serves as GIS and Remote Sensing Specialist for the MAAP (ACCA) Initiative and as a Remote Sensing Professor at the Department of Environmental Engineering (UNALM).

Felipe Cerignoni

Technical Leader (IMAFLORA)

Felipe is a geoprocessing analyst at IMAFLORA. His work is about developing and maintaining spatial databases to help with analysis and modeling frameworks to identify possible synergies between agriculture production and nature conservation in Brazil. He also works with full-stack web development to communicate the results of the spatial analysis on IMAFLORA’s platforms.

Vinicius Guidotti

Researcher and Geoprocessing Specialist (IMAFLORA)

Vinicius is a researcher and a geoprocessing specialist at IMAFLORA. His work is about developing spatial analysis and modeling frameworks to better understand the tradeoffs and identify possible synergies between agriculture production and nature conservation in Brazil. He is also a Ph.D. student in Applied Ecology at the University of São Paulo where he is contributing to the development of a model for making forecasts of Brazilian agricultural crops.

Milagros Becerra

Research Assistant, SIG specialist (ACCA)

Milagros is a geographer with emphasis in environmental science. She is a specialist in GIS and Remote Sensing applied to forest monitoring, land cover change, forest conservation and deforestation in the Amazon Region. She has participated in the development and implementation of Forest Zoning in the Amazon Region in Peru. She published a thesis at PUCP on “Agroforestry as a proposal for sustainable agriculture in amazon ecosystems”.

Rodrigo Torres Muñoz

Coordinator Geography Unit (EcoCiencia)

Rodrigo is a geographer and environmental engineer from the Military Polytechnic School of Ecuador, and has a master’s degree in Geographic Information Systems from the University of Salzburg-Austria. He has experience as a GIS specialist in the production of land use and deforestation maps for the Ecuadorian Amazon. He is in charge of managing the spatial component of EcoCiencia projects, with emphasis on the Amazon Geo-Referenced Socio-Environmental Information Network (RAISG), including projects that entail the collection and processing of georeferenced data, pressure analysis, and the generation of thematic maps. In addition, Rodrigo supports the MapBiomas Amazonía project.

Sandra Terán

Geospatial Analyst (EcoCiencia)

Sandra is a Geographical Engineer, with a mention in Sustainable Development and Land Management, from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador; Master in “Energy Science and Policy” at Ajou University – South Korea; and Master in GIS and Systems at Salzburg University. During her professional career, she acquired extensive experience in the management of GIS (open source and ARCGIS), management of spatial data infrastructure, digital processing of satellite images (remote sensors), projects related to conservation of forests under a REDD + approach, monitoring and evaluation of conservation areas at the national level, land use planning, natural resource management and sustainable forestry (timber and non-timber products), bio-economy, and renewable energies.

Tomás Carvalho

Geospatial Analyst (IMAFLORA)

Tomás Carvalho has a degree in Environmental Management from the University of São Paulo (ESALQ-USP).  His work focuses on the development and modeling of spatial analyzes to generate high quality information on the interface of supply chains, social and biophysical data, land tenure and environmental laws. Tomás is enthusiastic in learning and seeking innovative solutions for socio-environmental issues based on programming (Python) and Web-GIS (JavaScript) platforms, as well as in the execution of educational activities to disseminate practices and methods in Geotechnologies and geospatial databases (PostgreSQL/ PostGIS).

Jorge Luis Sanchez Lozano

Research fellow (Brigham Young University, CIAT)

Jorge Luis is a Colombian hydrologist who is doing his Ph.D. at Brigham Young University evaluating the accuracy for the historical simulation and the forecast of the Global Hydrological Model  GEOGloWS ECMWF Streamflow Services before and after applying a bias correction  methodology to the modeling results.  Additionally, as visiting researcher at the Alliance Bioversity-CIAT, he is in charge to strengthen local capacities in the use and development of hydrological models for resource management, ecosystem services, and disaster management. 

Ovidio Rivera

Systems Engineer, GIT  (CIAT)

Ovidio is a Colombian systems engineer with expertise in GIS, providing computer technology support. In the last ten years he has participated in multiple research projects focused on land use, mainly contributing to spatial analysis, field work with RPAS and GPS, data management and web design and mapping. Ovidio is currently pursuing a master’s degree in GIS at UNIGIS Latin America.

Jhon Jairo Tello

Software Engineer, GIT (CIAT)

Jhon Jairo is a specialist in software engineering  at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali. He is the website manager of the Terra-i project working on the development of the web platform and on the processing, updating and data visualization. He has participated in the implementation and capacity building of Terra-i users in several Latin American countries. Jhon also has experience in drones and field data collection and validation. Jhon is a programmer for the visualization of geospatial data and general information such as JAVA, Google APIs, CartoDB, MapBox, among others.

Silvia-Elena Castaño

GIS Specialist, GIT (CIAT)

Silvia, a Colombian national, studied Systems Engineering. Her taste for Geography motivated her to grow professionally in the area of Geographic Information System (GIS) at the master’s level as well as in the subject of Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). Additionally, Silvia has a keen interest in the dissemination of projects results, which has led her to work with data management, basic cartography, storymap and Cloud-based GIS platforms like ArcGIS Online.

Jason Tullis

Capacity Building Lead (UARK)

Jason is a geographic information scientist with expertise in remote sensing, ecosystem services, geospatial unmanned aircraft systems, and the use of provenance information in GIScience. Jason is a Professor of Geography in the Department of Geosciences and a member of the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST) at University of Arkansas.  He served as a technical adviser to NASA, EPA, and USAID in support of SERVIR’s Mesoamerica, Eastern and Southern Africa, and Himalaya regions, and since late 2019 is the capacity building lead for SERVIR Amazonia.

Sophie Alvarez

Consultant for Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning

Sophie  is a Social researcher in Monitoring & Evaluation, Knowledge Management and Capacity Building and a Consultant with 15+ years of experience in the design and facilitation of participatory processes and evaluations. She has worked since 2005 leading and facilitating the design and implementation of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) systems for various Research for Development (R4D) international programs and projects; and in the development of specialized publications, materials, capacity building and training workshops in the topics of M&E, Impact Pathways, Theory of Change, Knowledge Management and Social Network Analysis. Before pursuing Sustainable Development Studies, she was a professional U.S. Court Interpreter.

Andrea Carvajal

Communications Consultant

Andrea is a social communicator and audiovisual practices specialist with a master’s degree in rural development. She is committed to good quality content generation and to communications about development and science. She has a keen interest in knowledge management and graphic design, and she is currently supporting communications at SERVIR-Amazonia. Before working as a consultant, she worked at CIAT as part of their communications team and then as communications liaison for CIAT’s Director General’s Office.

Ana Belen Torres Silva

Finance and Administrative Coordinator/Contracts and Grants Manager (Consultant)

Ana is a Colombian national, a business manager who specializes in finance. She has more than 18 years’ experience in administrative and financial management, grants and contracts, structuring and development of projects and strategic alliances in financial development programs for the American agency for international development (USAID) in Colombia. She has the skills to plan, coordinate and manage actions, and build harmonious and efficient work teams. She speaks Spanish and English.

Jenny Burbano

Financial and Administrative Support (CIAT)

Jenny, a Colombian national, works at CIAT and offers financial and administrative support to SERVIR-Amazonia. Jenny holds a Bachelor in Business administration from Universidad de Santiago, Colombia; and a Bachelor in Information and Technology Systems from Universidad del Valle, Colombia.

 

Alejandra Leiva

Administrative Assistant

Alejandra is from Colombia. She works at CIAT as an administrative assistant for SERVIR-Amazonia. Alejandra is a Technologist in Administration and Finance from the Colombian Center of Professional Studies in Santiago de Cali, Colombia.