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Caetano Franco

IGC FELLOW    |   Global Change Center

Ph.D. Student  •  Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Research Interests: Co-management and community-based management of natural resources; use of common resources; local populations; protected areas

Advisor: Dr. Michael G. Sorice 


Caetano is a Ph.D. student supervised by Dr. Michael G. Sorice in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech. His research interests include co-management and community-based management of natural resources in tropical forests, especially with themes associated with the use of common resources, local ecological knowledge, local populations, and protected areas.

Caetano received his B.S. in Geography, with an emphasis on Environmental Analysis and Geoprocessing, at the Federal University of Alfenas (Brazil) in 2013. During his B.S., he investigated migration and the social and territorial dynamics of an indigenous group among different Brazilian regions. He also participated in a training course in Protected Area Management from Colorado State University in 2019.  In 2020, Caetano completed his master’s degree in Management of Protected Areas in the Amazon, by the National Institute for Amazonian Research (Brazil), focusing on the recent history, legal landmarks, and the governance of a community-based environmental protection system in the Brazilian Amazon.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Caetano began working on technical-scientific projects related to environmental conservation and social development in different biomes in Brazil. Since 2015, he has been an associate researcher in a research unit of the National Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation of the Brazilian government in the Amazon. During this period, Caetano participated in different projects as coordinator and analyst. In recent years, he has worked in multilateral projects with institutions such as the Catholic Agency for International Development (CAFOD/UK), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and US Forest Service (USFS).

At Virginia Tech, his Ph.D. work is part of an integrated research project focusing on socio-ecological systems and dynamics of artisanal fishing in the Brazilian Amazon. This project is examining the sustainability of community management of the giant Arapaima (Arapaima gigas), one of the most important fisheries in the Amazon. Over the past 20 years, this initiative represents a conservation bright spot in the Amazon due to the alignment between conservation and subsistence. Specifically, Caetano is investigating how cultural, economic, and institutional factors influence the way fishermen cooperate with the Arapaima fishing rules. He believes that being part of the Interfaces of Global Change IGEP is an excellent opportunity to strengthen his role in interdisciplinary projects and promote his role in scientific communication for different audiences related to the conservation and management of natural resources.