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School of Geography

Michelle Kalamandeen Michelle Kalamandeen

Contact details

Room Room 10.15
School of Geography
University of Leeds
University Road
Leeds LS2 9JT   UK



Project title

Dynamics of Deforestation in Amazonia

Project overview

Deforestation in Amazonia has important consequences for ecosystem services, biodiversity loss and global carbon budget (Lambin et al. 2003). With the accumulation of wealth globally, forests are lost, on the scale of millions of hectares, to growing demands for commodities such as agriculture and gold (Alvarez-Berríos and Mitchell Aide 2015). In fact, the demand for gold as a steady form of investment since the 2008 economic crisis has been paralleled by a 400% surge in pricing (Asner et al. 2013). Yet gold mining is largely ignored in deforestation analysis because of its historically small spatial range (Alvarez-Berríos and Mitchell Aide 2015). With rising gold prices stimulating new mining activities, speculations about the extent of deforestation and the ability of forests to recover in the region are growing.


The aims of this thesis are to:

  1. better understand the spatial and temporal dynamics of deforestation trends across Amazonia;
  2. evaluate the effect of recent expansion of gold mining as a driver on tropical forest deforestation;
  3. consider the ability of forests to recover and regenerate following gold mining induced deforestation, and
  4. assess future scenarios of deforestation across the Amazon and how they may be connected to socio-economic conservation policies. 


  • Dr David Galbraith
  • Professor Manuel Gloor
  • Dr Edward Mitchard

Research Affiliations

Ecology and Global Change (EGC) Cluster


Leeds International Research Scholarship (LIRS)

Selected research publications

  • Spracklen BD, Kalamandeen M, Galbraith D, Gloor E and Spracklen DV (2015) A Global Analysis of Deforestation in Moist Tropical Forest Protected Areas. PLoS ONE 10(12): e0143886. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0143886
  • Kalamandeen M (2013) Indigenous Rights, Conservation and Climate Change in Guyana. In: Conservation Biology: Lessons from the Tropics. N.S. Sodhi and P.H. Raven (eds). Wiley-Blackwell Publishers. Oxford.
  • Williams M and Kalamandeen M (2013) Assessing the capacity of coastal communities in Guyana to adapt to climate change. Journal of Earth Science and Climate Change. Volume 2. Issue 2.
  • DaSilva P. and Kalamandeen M (2011) Mangroves: Our Natural Sea Defense. Guyana Mangrove Restoration Project. EU/GoG/NARI Publication.
  • DaSilva P and Kalamandeen M (2011) Guyana Mangrove Monitoring Protocols. Guyana Mangrove Restoration Project. EU/GoG Publication.
  • Kalamandeen, M, S La Rose-Atkinson, M Kalamandeen, S DeFreitas, G Simon and B Rodrigues (2009), Mother Turtle: Stories, myths and beliefs of sea turtles and other biodiversity of the Northwestern Region, Guyana. Duke University/Oak Foundation/GMTCS Publication.
  • MacCulloch, R D, A Lathrop, P. J. R. Kok, R Ernst and M Kalamandeen (2010), The genus Oxyrhopus (Serpentes: Colubridae: Xenodontinae) in Guyana: morphology, distributions and comments on taxonomy.
  • Kok, Phillipe and M Kalamandeen (2008) Introduction to the taxonomy of amphibians at Kaieteur National Park, Guyana. AbcTaxa Books. Volume 5. Low Resolution copy:
  • Means B and M Kalamandeen (2007) Geographic distribution of Oxyrhopus melanogenys. Herpetological Review 38.
  • Kalamandeen M and L Gillson (2007) Demything Wilderness: Implications of protected area designation and management. Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation: 16/1
  • Kalamandeen M and P Da Silva (2005) A Preliminary Survey of the Herpetofauna of Lori Beach, Shell Beach, Guyana. Contributions to the Study of Biological Diversity Vol. 2: pp. 53 – 78.


  • 2013 – Biodiversity Conservation Award for advocating and conservation of the Shell Beach Protected Area
  • 2008 - Oak Foundation/Duke University – Grant to utilize ArcGIS for the proposed Shell Beach Protected Area in Guyana, South America.


  • 2015 – Australian Awards Fellowship
  • 2003 – Duke University Global Fellows

Short Curriculum Vitae

Independent Sustainability/Community Consultant (2008- 2014):

REDD+ and Climate Change Specialist: Developed sustained communication mechanism for REDD+, MRV, EU FLEGT, Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES), Sustainable Forestry and LCDS targeting over 124 indigenous communities and regional bodies in collaboration with Guyana Forestry Commission, UNDP, Ministry of Environment/Norway, EU, IADB and Guiana Shield Facility (2012-2014).

Mining and Community Specialist: Assessed the sustainability of indigenous communities in light of large, medium and small scale mining impacts in Guyana (2013).

Protected Area & Communities Expert: Coordinated the delineation and management planning process for the proposed Golden Grove-Belfield Mangrove Reserve, in collaboration with Guyana Mangrove Restoration Project and EU (2013).

Strategic Assessment Consultant: Evaluation of the accomplishments and performance of the WWF Guianas’ Sustainable Natural Resources Management Project (2012).

Biodiversity Specialist: numerous projects including Biodiversity assessment of Kaieteur National Park, including development of tourism, monitoring and management plans in collaboration with WWF (2011); Biodiversity Assessment of Simon & Shock International Logging Inc. Forest Concession (2011); Biodiversity assessment of Guyana Gold Field Aurora Sites (2009 – 2011); Biodiversity assessment for the Amaila Falls Hydrological Project, Guyana (2009).

Protected Areas Coordinator, Guyana Marine Turtle Conservation Society, Guyana (2008 -2014)

• Coordinator and community facilitator of the delineation process for the proposed Shell Beach Protected Area, including creation of the Community Representative Group (CRG); and community resource mapping. Following advocacy, in Oct 2011, the Government of Guyana declared the area an official PA.

• Developed small business enterprises, Eco Jewelry and Moruca Embroidery, with indigenous women’s group as alternative sources of income to endangered species harvesting.

• Liaised with governmental agencies, international and national NGOs for policy implementation and monitoring e.g. Guyana’s Fisheries Act, Guyana Protected Area Systems Legislation, Guyana Wildlife Management Regulations, and Guyana’s Mangrove Protocol.

Senior Lecturer, Department of Biology, University of Guyana (2008 – 2014)

• Lecturer for undergraduate courses in Natural Resource Management, Taxonomy & Ecology, Herpetology & Ornithology and Coastal Zone Management; and supervisor to undergraduate and graduate research thesis.

• Guyana coordinator of the Regional MSc in Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development in the Caribbean, in association with UWI, University of Suriname and University of Belize, including supervision of MSc students.

• Developed the multi-country ecologically and biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) known as the Amazonian-Orinoco Influence Zone, which included Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago with submission at the Convention on Biological Diversity (2012).

Coordinating Secretary on UNESCOs Man and Biosphere Reserves National Committee, Guyana (2009 -2012)