Dr. Pamela Scheffler
Specialization: Agroforestry, Biodiversity
Home institution in US: University of Hawaii--Hawaii Community College, Hilo
Host Institution in India: Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology
and the Environment, Bengaluru, Karnataka  
Start date/Month in India: August 2012
Duration of grant: 9 months

Brief Bio:
Dr. Pamela Y. Scheffler was raised in Hawaii and received a B.A. in Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1990 with a minor in English Literature. After college she joined the U.S. Peace Corps. She lived in Totonicapán and taught agroforestry in several Quiché-speaking villages of the Western Highlands of Guatemala, promoting the use of mostly-native trees in agricultural systems and restoration of degraded lands. She obtained her Ph.D. in Ecology in 2002 from the Pennsylvania State University. She conducted her dissertation research in remote indigenous reserves and working cattle ranches of the Brazilian Amazon on the effect of logging intensity on biodiversity: particularly dung beetle biodiversity. Her postdoctoral research with the U.S. Geological Survey Biological Resource Division (USGS/BRD) in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park focused on the effects of invasive species on native ecosystems. Today, Dr. Scheffler is a faculty member at Hawaii Community College. She is the coordinator of the Environmental Studies certificate program and co-manages the Tropical Ecosystem and Agroforestry Management (TEAM) program. When not introducing students to the wonder of native ecosystems, she enjoys mountain biking, hiking, gardening and spending time with her family and friends.

The objective of Dr. Scheffler’s Fulbright study is to better understand the role of agroforestry in maintaining biodiversity in India. There is general consensus human needs should be balanced with environmental protection; agroforestry systems are one means of accomplishing this. In this project Dr. Scheffler intends to survey the agricultural landscape: comparing agroforestry with other agricultural systems and with nearby natural/protected areas. In particular, she will survey the diversity of plant and insect species in the three land-use types; she will also interview landowners to better understand the impact of, and attitude towards, the system of farming they have chosen.