This study entails modeling the projected effects of future changes in forest cover and the spatial relationship between forest fragments and croplands on human health outcomes measured in disability adjusted life years (DALYS) at the national level. Existing research has identified a link between forest loss and a reduction in pollinator populations. Other studies show that a reduction in pollinators negatively affects nutrition through reduced crop yields. This study involves modeling of remotely sensed forest and cropland data to predict future land cover trends, pollinator levels, and country-level health effects under varying forest management scenarios. This study will inform environmental conservation efforts and provide insights into how biodiversity loss affects human health, making a business case for conservation. Results will inform environmental, agricultural, and nutritional policy, including best agricultural practices for preserving pollinator populations. The project will provide valuable insights on linkages between biodiversity, ecosystem services, food production, and health.
Alex is a PhD candidate at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy studying Agriculture, Food, and Environment.He expects to complete his studies in May 2023. Before coming to Tufts, Alex earned a B.S. and a M.S. in Environmental Science from Brigham Young University. After earning his Master's Degree, Alex worked for two years in northern Haiti as a fellow with the non-profit organization Meds & Food for Kids (MFK), a producer of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) and other products for treating malnutrition. At MFK, Alex was the agricultural program coordinator where he managed a peanut agricultural research grant. He then spent one year as the director of the Centre d'Agriculture Saint Barnabas (CASB), an Episcopal agricultural technical college in Terrier-Rouge, Haiti. Alex also spent 4 years as a Haitian Creole instructor at Brigham Young University. Aside from pursuing his own studies, Alex has also worked with the Center of International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP) on climate policy documents at Tufts.
Current Studies and Future Goals
When asked what she found most meaningful about his field of study, Alex responded with the following: "Agriculture is inextricably linked with issues such as alleviation of rural and urban poverty, environmental degradation, deforestation, soil erosion, water management, and climate change. I am interested in the intersection of natural and human systems and how human societies can minimize negative anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems. I am also interested in sustainable development and in environmental justice issues, especially as they relate to the developing world and the North-South dichotomy. The Agriculture, Food, and Environment program at the Friedman School combines all of these elements together, enabling me to pursue research that can have a positive impact on both human societies in the developing world and natural ecosystems"
When asked what interested him in becoming a TIE Fellow, Alex responded with the following: "I am a first-year PhD student and will be working with my adviser, Dr. Avery Cohn, this summer on research. He and I came up with a proposal to study the effect of deforestation on declining insect populations and food production, given that recently published research has shown that total global insect biomass is currently declining at a steep rate. I feel that this research will be impactful and has the potential to create a compelling business case for forest and environmental conservation. The TIE Fellowship is important in enabling me to conduct this research".
Alex plans to pursue a career in international agriculture development or international environment with a UN-affiliated or other multilateral development organization once he completes his studies at Tufts. He would like to work in research, program or project design, or project management and oversight. Alex is also considering a research career at an academic institution, private research think tank, or major non-profit organization. Regardless of where he ends up, Alex hopes to have his research to have applied and field components, where he will be working and interchanging directly with populations affected by environmental change on the ground.
When not doing school work Alex can be found hiking and backpacking, or snowshoeing when it's cold. He also enjoys running, walking, and exploring new places. He is also an avid traveler and enjoys meeting and interacting with the people of the place he's visiting and learning about local culture. Alex enjoys learning new languages, and speaks Haitian Creole, French, and Antillean Creole fluently. He also plays the piano and organ.
Favorite Place You've Visited: Dominica
Favorite Course Taken at Tufts: Development Economics
Dream Job: Country/Regional Director at an International Environment Organization