Professor of Ecosystem Management

Garcia-Ulloa, John

John Garcia-Ulloa

ETH Zürich
John Garcia-Ulloa
ITES - Ecosystem Management
Universitaetsstrasse 16
8092 Zürich

Phone: +41 44 632 08 58
Fax: +41 44 632 15 75

PhD Project

Climate change arguably is one of the greatest challenges that humans face in the new millennium. Nations around the world have made joint efforts to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Negotiations have thus far been hampered by political agendas and conflict of interests. In spite of these difficulties, recent conference of parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has led to key proposals to lower emissions at their sources. The most notable of these solutions is Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD).

Under this mechanism forest-rich developing nations could receive monetary incentives if deforestation or forest degradation rates are lowered with respect to a baseline level. Embarking on this low-carbon pathway includes addressing the full range of risks and benefits that REDD+ could provide, and a comprehensive assessment of the environmental and socioeconomic costs and tradeoffs of REDD+ is lacking. How, for example, will the implementation of REDD+ affect the expansion of agriculture? How will REDD+ affect demands for alternative land uses (e.g. food production, agroforestry, biofuels, timber)? Can REDD+ result in multiple-benefits for other environmental priorities such as biodiversity conservation? How will each of these factors affect uptake of REDD+ as a mechanism to reduce global carbon emissions?

Against this background, the main objective of my PhD project is to explore the potential environmental and socioeconomic tradeoffs and multiple-benefits of REDD+ implementation in relation to agricultural production, forest protection, biodiversity conservation and economic development. This study will be conducted in collaboration with the (UN-REDD) and is supervised by Dr. Lian Pin Koh and Professor Jaboury Ghazoul.

Curriculum Vitae

Aug 2011 - present PhD student at the Ecosystem Management group under supervision of Dr. Lian Pin Koh and Prof. Jaboury Ghazoul
Nov 2010 – Feb 2011 Intern at Centre for International Forestry Research.
2008 - 2011 MSc in Environmental Sciences. ETH Zürich. Zürich, Switzerland.
Major: Ecology and Evolution, Minors: Global Change and Sustainability, and Human-System Environments.
Master Thesis: “Modelling the impacts and opportunity costs of the expansion of oil palm agriculture in Colombia” Supervised by Dr. Lian Pin Koh.
2007-2008 Volunteer. Botany Department, Natural History Museum. London, UK.
2005 Academic Assistant for the Genetics and Microbiology Laboratories
Departamento de Biología, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá D.C., Colombia.
2001-2005 BSc Biology. Departamento de Biología, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá D.C., Colombia.
Dissertation: “Conservation status of three fragments of a seasonal dry forest remain in the West Caribbean Coast of Colombia”. Supervised by Dr. Agustin Rudas
Studies focus: Ecology, floristics, botany, conservation, statistical and multivariate analysis, geography.


Garcia-Ulloa, J., Sloan, S., Pacheco, P., Ghazoul, J. & Koh, L.P. (2012). Lowering environmental costs of oil-palm expansion in Colombia. Conserv Lett, 5, 366-375.

Lee J S H, Garcia-Ulloa J & Koh LP (2010) Impacts of biofuel expansion in biodiversity hotspot; in
Zachos F & Habel JC (eds.) Biodiversity Hotspots, Springer, New York


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