Daniel Large ‘16, a public administration master's alumnus with the UTSA College of Public Policy, cares what happens to the environment and the impact this has on society. In 2015, he traveled to Mexico to study the effects that an innovative conservation incentive program is having on their local communities.
“I’ve always been really interested in environmental conservation policy,” said Large. “It’s important to me that we understand the myriad effects that policies can have on conservation efforts and our communities as we get deeper into the 21st century.”
Large traveled to Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico as a UTSA-Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social Occidente research fellow. His research fellowship is funded through a partnership with CIESAS and the UTSA Mexico Center.
In Guadalajara, Large collaborated with Guadalupe Rodríguez Gómez, UTSA faculty advisor and CIESAS professor, to gather data on Mexico’s Payment for Environmental Services program and public policy. He hoped to understand its effects on the environment, the changes in local populations’ socioeconomic status and the political implications of the work.
The programs have grown in number over the past decade. The programs assign monetary value to environmental services, such as healthy watersheds, crop pollination and carbon sequestration, which are provided freely by local ecosystems but are undervalued by mainstream economics and risk being developed.
Participating landowners are incentivized to engage in conserving these natural resources on their land in order to receive PES payments from the Mexican federal government. Mexico’s PES program was founded in 2003 and has expanded to become one of the largest PES applications in the world.
In the course of his research, Large studied and interviewed local landowners, scholars, government officials and other conservation representatives in the region. Additionally, he looked at the implications of the Mexican government’s collaboration with its local communal governments, including “ejidos”, or a farming cooperative, and indigenous agrarian communities.
“Daniel is an extremely talented and dedicated scholar, who is carving out an important research niche while still in a master’s program,” said Francine Romero, associate dean of the UTSA College of Public Policy and Large’s faculty adviser, at the time of his trip. “His research trip to Mexico will allow him to delve deeper into the questions surrounding this unique conservation program by giving him the opportunity to work with the people directly involved.”
Large is using the data gathered to craft a series of research papers and presentations, including one to be prepared for the UTSA Mexico Center. This independent study course was part of Large's fellowship project.
Large hopes to cultivate a career combining environmental conservation with the policy and research skills he picked up as a UTSA student.VISIT WEBSITE
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