Yolanda Lopez-Maldonado

Dr.rer.nat. Yolanda Lopez-Maldonado (Mexico) is an indigenous scholar with extensive experience in Social-Ecological Systems, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), community-based natural resource management, and social dimensions of conservation. She considers herself as a systems thinker in integrative science for sustainability. By examining the interface of natural and social sciences, her work emphasizes that societies are embedded parts of the biosphere dependent on their life-supporting ecosystems. She has advanced degrees in Human Ecology and Geography (PhD, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München). She has been a Young Research Scholar at The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria, and The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden. She has worked for international academic and non-academic institutions at different levels combining natural and social sciences with traditional ecological knowledge, and collaborated with communitarian organizations in Mexico towards conservation. She has significant experience representing interests of indigenous peoples in regional, national and international fora by being selected as a Delegate for the UNPFII 2017, UN New York, and by providing expert and technical guidance on Indigenous Peoples issues. She is currently a member of: IUCN WCPA Specialist Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas, the Ramsar Culture Network, and is member of the Board of Directors of the Global Diversity Foundation US. Since Indigenous groups are at an automatic disadvantage with regards to governance, access to information, and decision-making, some questions arise: Who will protect such knowledge? Will this knowledge be returned to the communities? Will this project respect multiple epistemologies and recognize different values (e.g. for conservation)? Thus, as an indigenous and a scholar, her interest in participating in this project is to ensure that the obtained data will be used equally for the benefit of the project and for the indigenous communities who will be voluntarily involved. ORCID: 0000-0002-0775-4919