About ISTF 2022

Yale’s Student Chapter of the International Society of Tropical Foresters (ISTF) was first organized in 1989, as part of a network of natural resource professionals concerned with tropical resource management. Dedicated to the advancement of tropical forest studies at the Yale School of the Environment, formerly known as the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, an conference is organized annually to address a range of socio-ecological issues across the tropics. You can browse our publication and past conference materials at istf.yale.edu.

Organizing Team

Mariana Camacho

Conference Co-chair, MEM Candidate

Mariana is a second-year MEM student at the Yale School of the Environment. Her area of focus is environmental economics and policy, with a focus in the Latin America and the Caribbean region. Prior to coming to Yale, she worked as a consultant in the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development in Bogota, Colombia. She holds a BSc in Environmental Engineering from Universidad de los Andes.

Claudia Ochoa

Conference Co-chair

Claudia is an environmental lawyer from Peru that used to work as an advisor at the National Park Service and the National Forest Service. Currently, she also collaborates with Sistema B Perú. In addition, she has also served as advisor to the Ministry of Environment as part of the climate negotiation team that assisted on REDD+ and climate finance, as well as provided technical and legal assistance to different companies and NGOs in sustainability, project design and policy analysis. She is pursuing a master’s degree in environmental management at YSE. Her interests are climate change, biodiversity and financial sustainability. Claudia likes traveling, spending time in nature and having family time at the beach while cooking tons of food for everyone.

Ryan Smith

Conference Co-chair, MF Candidate

Ryan is a second year Master of Forestry student at The Forest School, within the Yale School of the Environment. He is interested in increasing the adoption and financial viability of smallholder agroforestry, community forestry, and forest restoration in the tropics. Prior to coming to Yale, Ryan spent 3 years living in South America. He has worked with reforestation and studied non timber forest products in the Peruvian Amazon and partnered with a cacao cooperative to verify ecological outcomes in Ecuador. Ryan also studies the barriers to adoption of agroforestry practices in temperate North America, with a particular interest in growing an east-coast chestnut industry. He has a BS in Environmental studies with a concentration in conservation biology from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC.

Yvonne Shih

Keynotes team, MEM Candidate

Yvonne Shih was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida and earned her B.S. in Biology with a pre-medicine focus from the University of Florida along with a minor in Sociology. During her undergraduate work, she found a passion for conference planning, stakeholder engagement, and science communication. She was able to further develop these interests after graduation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USFS) in Washington, DC. Her work with the Deputy Chief of Research & Development and with the Director of Sustainable Forest Management Research has been invaluable in giving her a high-level national perspective on USFS’s ongoing research. She was able to dive further into specific topic areas like the wildland-urban interface, smoke, silviculture, soils, and invasive species through organizing national stakeholder workshops, developing national science assessments, writing talking points for Congressional hearings, and producing communication tools for the public. At YSE, she is a second year Master of Environmental Management candidate specializing in ecosystem management and conservation. During her time at YSE, she is interested in the impacts of land use change on human health and community well being including deforestation and urbanization. This past summer, she interned at the U.S. Department of State in the Office of Environmental Quality working to support policy briefs on chemical, air quality, waste, and ocean plastic pollution. In addition, her internship offered her the opportunity to be an observer at pre-ministerial G20 and Montreal Protocol meetings which have lead her to attend UNFCCC COP26. In the future, she aspires to work within the public or private sector looking at how communities can become more resilient at a national and international level in the face of climate change.

Emma Grover

Conference Co-chair, MESc Candidate

Emma Grover is a second-year Master of Environmental Science candidate at the Yale School of the Environment. She is advised by Dr. Simon Queenborough. In a broad sense, her interests include tropical forest ecology, effective environmental science communication, biodiversity conservation, and nature based solutions to climate change. She seeks to investigate how tropical plant populations might respond to our changing climate, increasing our understanding of community resiliency in forest ecosystems. For her MESc thesis, she studies how leaf functional traits, with a focus on drip-tips (long leaf apices commonly found in wet tropical forests), vary based on tree developmental stage and life history strategy. Emma holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and a minor in Spanish from the University of Virginia.

Angela Xue

Conference Co-chair, MEM Candidate

Angela Xue is a second-year Master of Environmental Management candidate at Yale School of the Environment. Her interests include conservation finance, sustainable livelihoods, and nature-based solutions. Angela recently worked in natural climate solutions with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and community-based conservation with local nonprofits in Panama. Prior to Yale, Angela was an agricultural biologist for the Santa Clara County Consumer and Environmental Protection Agency. While there, she aided the development of the first countywide Food System Initiative Workplan and supported pesticide regulation and plant quarantine enforcement activities. Angela holds a B.S. in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution from University of California, Los Angeles. In her free time, Angela loves road-tripping with her furry companion Cooper.

Charly Frisk

ISTF Treasurer, MEM Candidate

Charly Frisk is a Masters of Environmental Management candidate at Yale School of the Environment. She is interested in the intersection of climate change resilience, gender, and ethnobotany. She hopes to center storytelling using participatory film-making techniques. Before attending YSE, Charly was a student at the College of Saint Benedict studying Environmental and Peace Studies with a focus on biodiversity and human needs.

Nadeem Demian

Panels team, MEM Candidate

Nadeem Demian is a second year joint-degree master’s student, pursuing degrees in Environmental Management and International & Development Economics. Born in Amman, Jordan and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Nadeem holds a B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University. Nadeem’s wide breadth of experiences include conducting research on agricultural systems in rural Kenya, supporting land preservation deals for a New Jersey-based land trust, and, most recently, interning with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s Environmental and Sustainability Department on issues related to natural capital. His interests include natural resource management, renewable energy access, climate change economics, and forest finance. In his spare time, Nadeem enjoys playing disc golf, making music, and eating Thai food.

Musa Joko

Innovation prize coordinator, MF Candidate

Musa is a second year Master of Forestry student at the Yale School of the Environment. Her academic interests are in tropical forest ecology, community forestry and political ecology. Prior to coming to Yale, she worked as a forester in Zimbabwe. She spent her past summer in New Haven working with urban communities in environmental restoration and environmental stewardship. At YSE, she assists in research at the Tropical Resources Institute. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources and Wildlife Management from the National University of Science and Technology in Zimbabwe.

Carolina Sánchez

Communications team, MEM Candidate

Carolina is pursuing a Master of Environmental Management with a specialization in Ecosystem Management and Conservation at the Yale School of the Environment. She is interested in community-based restoration and the development of sustainable livelihood alternatives, particularly considering mangrove ecosystems in Mexico and Latin America. She has worked in mangrove conservation in Costa Rica, peatland restoration in Germany and, most recently, aquatic environmental monitoring in Canada. Carolina holds a B.Sc. in Biology and Ecology from The University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Alicia Entem
Panels and Innovation Prize Teams, PhD Candidate

Alicia Entem is a PhD candidate in YSE’s Environmental and Natural Resource Economics program and is supervised by Dr. Eli Fenichel. She has an MA in Economics from Yale and an MSc in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Alberta. Before starting her doctoral studies, Alicia was a fellow with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution in Panama and investigated landholder adoption of agroforestry systems for the provision of ecosystem services. She has also worked on projects with the Alberta Land Institute (University of Alberta) and Smart Prosperity Institute (University of Ottawa).

Sergio Estrada Villegas
Breakout sessions team, Postdoctoral Associate

Sergio is a tropical ecologist interested in the mechanisms that explain how plant and animal communities change during forest regeneration and natural restoration.

Alma Trujillo Miranda

PhD Candidate, Grants team

Alma is a first year PhD student at Yale School of the Environment. She received a Masters of Science degree from Instituto de Ecología A. C. in México, where she conducted research on the effectiveness of active versus passive restoration strategies implemented in tropical montane cloud forest.

ISTF 2022 Conference made possible by our sponsors

Cullman Institute

Leitner Family Fund

YSE Learning Communities

People, Equity, and the Environment

Ecosystem Management and Conservation