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Certificate Program Field Course: Conservation, restoration, and sustainable use in practice (Panama)


This course is offered to current and past participants of ELTI's Tropical Forest Landscapes online certificate program

Tropical dry forests are important ecosystems in Latin America, but they are threatened by extensive conventional agricultural and cattle ranching practices. This is particularly evident in the dry forest ecosystem of Panama’s Azuero Peninsula, where ELTI works to build the capacity of land users and decision-makers to understand the role of forests in providing ecosystem services and to design strategies to restore ecological function and sustain production in agricultural landscapes.

Over six days, participants will deepen their understanding of tropical dry forest ecology and strategies for forest restoration and conservation in complex human-dominated landscapes. Participants will have the opportunity to meet with diverse actors and organizations in the landscape. On a variety of interpretive trails, research sites, demonstration areas, and silvopastoral model farms, participants will engage in hands-on field activities and interact with local landowners and community associations to learn firsthand about motives, strategies, and challenges for land management decisions.

This course will be held at ELTI’s Training Landscape in the Azuero Peninsula of Panama, which provides experiential, place-based learning opportunities, designed to facilitate engagement, and demonstrate the application of key concepts.



  • Learn about the interconnected relationships between people and the environment in the Azuero Peninsula.
  • See real-life conservation and restoration efforts in a mixed mosaic landscape with diverse landowners.
  • Participate in hands-on exercises to learn about a range of forest restoration strategies being applied in the region.
  • Meet local organizations and landowners who are pioneers in regenerative agriculture, agroforestry, and silvopastoral systems.

Location: Los Santos Province in the Azuero Peninsula of Panama
Duration: 6 days
Cost: $2000 USD*

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1 – Orientation to Panama: introductory lectures and tour of Panama City
Day 2 – Travel to the Azuero Peninsula, visit old-growth dry tropical forest
Day 3 – Ecological and social consequences of degradation, visits to degraded sites, and meetings with local farmers
Day 4 – Forest restoration and conservation strategies for enhancing livelihoods
Day 5 – Community-based farmer organizations and sustainable land-use
Day 6 – Final discussions and return to Panama City

*Fee includes in-country transport (from/to the Panama City airport, course materials, room, and board. The course fee does not include travel cost to and from your site of departure and Panama City or other associated fees (such as visas and vaccinations). A limited number of partial scholarships are available to cover part of the course fee. There will be a short application process.