Principle Investigator:  Reem Hajjar

Reem is Assistant Professor of Integrated Human and Ecological Systems in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society. As an interdisciplinary social scientist, she studies the relationship between forests and livelihoods, and how various governance mechanisms and institutions shape that relationship. Most of her work to-date has taken place in tropical and sub-tropical forests, with a recent extension into the Pacific Northwest of North America. Most recently, she’s been working on projects related to community forests, REDD+, the role of forests in alleviating poverty, and impacts of forest policy changes in Ghana. See our research page for more details on specific projects. Reem has a PhD in Forestry (University of British Columbia), a Masters in Conservation Biology (Columbia University), and a BSc in Biology (McGill University). She has worked and consulted for several international organizations, including the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Bioversity International, Forest Stewardship Council, FERN and the World Bank. She was recently a member of the Global Forest Expert Panel on Forests and Poverty. 



Jazmín Gonzales Tovar - Postdoctoral Fellow

Jazmín's work focuses on forests and environmental governance, environmental justice and equity, land use and resource rights, and politics and power relations. As a postdoc at University of Florida (UF), she led a study on infrastructure governance in four Amazonian countries (Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru). In her doctoral dissertation at UF, in partnership with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), she analyzed the equity and power dynamics in territorial planning multi-stakeholder forums in two Brazilian states. She previously worked at CIFOR on a team conducting research on multilevel governance related to land use and REDD+ in Peru, Indonesia, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Mexico. During her MSc. program at Wageningen University, she analyzed the informational governance of environmental conflicts related to oil and gas industries in Peru and Nigeria and carried out research on water policies in Uzbekistan. She has worked for a variety of institutions in her home country of Peru, participating in the analysis and development of policies and tools related to REDD+, climate change, protected areas, and other themes. She joined OSU in 2021 to work on growing teaching and research capacity in Peru.

Kailey Kornhauser - PhD candidate

Kailey is a PhD candidate in Forest Ecosystems and Society. She is interested in how government agencies collaborate with nongovernmental stakeholders in land and fire mangement planning processes. As an undergraduate, Kailey studied environmental history at Westminster College where she researched the use of environmental ethics in historical water policy. Kailey also received a Masters of Science in Environmental Humanties from the University of Utah where she studied the use of collaobration in the Forest Service’s 2012 Planning Rule. Her interests are in collaboration, consensus building, and the differences in land and risk managment. Her dissertation topic is on power dynamics and outcomes of collaborative forest management in Oregon.

 James Puerini - PhD student

James is a PhD student in Forest Ecosystems and Society. He previously attended the University of Oregon where he earned his Bachelor’s degree, and most recently graduated with his Master of Forestry from the Yale School of the Environment. James’ work in forest management started at eighteen when he took a position fighting wildland fire for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Witnessing the disproportionate impact of catastrophic fire on low-income and historically disenfranchised communities inspired James to move to Washington, D.C. There, he continued to serve his home state of Oregon as a staff person to U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and U.S. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. His career then led him to The Nature Conservancy's Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team where he co-developed and implemented programs centered on building equitable learning partnerships between TNC and community-based environmental non-profits serving diverse populations. Mostly recently, James has worked as a helitack wildland firefighter for the Oregon Department of Forestry. He looks forward to exploring the intersections between community-led social movements and forest policy in Oregon’s system of fire management at OSU.


Emma Sloan - MS student

Emma's academic interest centers on the interrelationship between social and ecological environments as the precursors of health. She earned a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Oregon, where she studied environmental justice issues in Oregon forests. She has since worked as a Health Policy Planner for Eagle County, Colorado, where she focused on integrating health equity and environmental justice in land use, housing, and food systems. Through her research as a master's student, she will investigate pathways for forest-dependent communities to participate in forest and wildfire governance to gain economic stability, increased social capital, and physical health.




Lauren McCaskill - MS student

Lauren graduated summa cum laude from Austin College with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. Following her undergraduate degree, Lauren completed a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Malaysia, where she further developed her interest in the impact of international conservation efforts. Lauren is interested in the efficacy of international conservation efforts surrounding palm oil cultivation, and how they affect smallholder farmers and communities involved in the cultivation in regard to both environmental and socioeconomic impacts.




Justin Fasana - Undergraduate research assistant

Justin is a 4th year undergrad student majoring in Natural Resources with an option in Indigenous Environmental Policy. He is a proud member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde which has played a role in shaping his future career goals. After completing his bachelor’s degree, he is interested in working for an indigenous tribe in the Pacific Northwest. He has studied abroad in New Zealand where he had the firsthand opportunity to learn about Māori culture, the indigenous peoples of New Zealand. Justin hopes to support indigenous communities through effective management and protection of their natural resources. 


Past members

Samuel Mawutor – MSc

Samuel finished his Masters thesis in 2020 on the topic of forest decentralization and empowerment of local institutions in Ghana. He has a Bachelors in Political Science from the University of Ghana.  He has since worked as a campaigner for social justice for disadvantaged communities that live on the fringes of forests and and other natural resources.  He has been among the thought leadership of Ghana’s forest civl society and has coordinated some of the large civil society platforms. He has been involved in the Ghana's Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) process, the recent Cocoa and Forest Initiative (CFI),  and the country's effort to reduce illegal logging and improve forest governance through the Ghana-European Union Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), an aspect of the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Action Plan (FLEGT). He has also been involved in community mobilization and capacity strengthening to play greater roles in forest protection. His research interests include forest and environmental policy, community-based natural resource management, and social movements and politics of forest and natural resources management.


Gretchen Engbring - PhD 

Gretchen finished her PhD dissertation in 2020, on the topic of community forest enterprises in Oaxaca, Mexico, where she examined their organizational structures and how those structures contribute to or mitigate trade-offs in economic and social outcomes. Gretchen graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics. Continuing her studies, Gretchen earned a Master of Philosophy in Environmental Policy, graduating with commendation from the University of Cambridge in 2012. Upon graduation, she served as a researcher for the Cambridge Center for Climate Change Mitigation Research, focusing on the role of local communities in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). She is interested in natural resource law, policy and management, with an emphasis on the way forest communities manage their resources, and the impacts such management may have on different (and particularly vulnerable) stakeholders.

Meredith Jacobson - MSc

Meredith finished her Master's thesis in 2020 on the topic of Anchor Forests - conceptualizing Tribal leadership in cross-boundary forest governance.  Meredith received her B.S. in Forestry and Natural Resources from UC Berkeley in 2014, where she researched public participation in a local controversy over how to manage urban eucalyptus forests. After graduating, her interest in the social dynamics of forestry led her to work in a multi-use redwood forest in the Santa Cruz mountains, and then to teach environmental education programs for youth. She finished her M.S. in Forest Ecosystems and Society, under co-advising of Dr. Emily Jane Davis and Dr. Reem Hajjar. Meredith's research interests are in multi-stakeholder collaboration and participation in natural resource management in the American West.


André Faria - MSc in Environmental Sciences

André Faria has Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Forest Engineering from the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA), Brazil. His research in the past has looked at sustainable forest management, operational research, planning and optimization of forest harvesting, and forest growth and yield modelling. His research interests included Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), adaptive management and governance of complex social-ecosystems, community-based forest management in Brazil and environmental justice. 



Mackenzie Karnstein - Undergraduate Honors Thesis Student

Mackenzie is a 4th year undergraduate pursuing a Bachelors degree in Forest Engineering and a certification in Geographic Information Systems. She is interested in interdisciplinary approaches to solving forest management issues through promoting positive dialogue and action among stakeholders. Mackenzie is currently working with Dr. Hajjar to complete her honors thesis project on the role of shared values in facilitating consensus within forest collaboratives. She hopes to draw on her experiences with forest collaboratives to help state and federal agencies build and improve systems for managing forests for diverse interests.