Environment, Society and Development in Latin America Research Group

We are a research group at the University of Eastern Finland, focusing on a variety of issues dealing
with the relations and interplay of society and the environment in Latin America from the
perspectives of environmental politics, human geography and sociology. We critically examine how
development is conceptualized and promoted in the region, as well as the material impacts of these
processes. We investigate societal contestations and power relations related to topics such as
mining, forestry, hydropower construction, nature conservation and urban nature. Our research is
currently focused on a number of Latin American countries: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico
and Peru, and we most typically examine the issues of environment, society and development
through local case studies.


Professor Juha Kotilainen
Professor Dr Irmeli Mustalahti
Adjunct Professor Dr Susanna Myllylä
Post-doc researcher Tuula Teräväinen-Litardo
Early stage researcher Mariana Galvão Lyra
Early stage researcher Violeta Gutiérrez Zamora
Early stage researcher Germán A. Quimbayo Ruiz
Early stage researcher Laura Kumpuniemi

Projects in progress

Anti-mining movement in Brazil: From fighters and resisters to influencers in the mineral debate?

(2014-2018), funded by the Joensuu University Foundation (2014-2016); the University of
Eastern Finland (2016-2018); Academy of Finland (2018). Researcher: Mariana Galvão Lyra. Supervisors: Prof Rauno Sairinen,
Dr Tuija Mononen. Contact: mariana.lyra
at uef.fi

Governing sustainability: Negotiating and contesting water resources management and green
economy in hydroelectric mega-projects in the Andean Amazon (2016–2018), funded by the
University of Eastern Finland. Post-doc researcher Tuula Teräväinen-Litardo. Contact:
tuula.teravainen-litardo at uef.fi

Deliberating sustainability transformations through global-local interactions: Conflict and
cooperation in indigenous communities in Mexico (CoInMex). The research is supervised under the
UEF Responsive Natural Resources Governance research team and funded by the Academy of
Finland (2016-2017). PhD student: Violeta Gutiérrez Zamora. Principle Investigator: Academy
Researcher Irmeli Mustalahti. Contact: violeta.gutierrez.zamora at uef.fi

Landscapes of Bogotá: Contested urban environments and dynamic social movements, 1990-2015.
Funding source: Rodolfo Llinás funding program for Promotion and Advance of Scientific Spirit in
Bogotá by the Foundation CEIBA (Fundación Centro de Estudios Interdisciplinarios Básicos y

Aplicados) in collaboration with the Municipality of Bogotá. Funding term: 2016-2020. Researcher:
Germán A. Quimbayo Ruiz, MSc., PhD student. Supervisors: Prof Juha Kotilainen (UEF) and Dr
Matti Salo (Luke Natural Resources Institute Finland). Advisor in Colombia: Dr Diana Ojeda
(Instituto Pensar, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá). Contact: german.quimbayo at uef.fi

Selected publications

Quimbayo Ruiz, Germán A. (2018). “People and urban nature: the environmentalization of social

movements in Bogotá”. Journal of Political Ecology. 25: 525-547 https://doi.org/10.2458/v25i1.23096

Lyra, Mariana G. (2019). Pursuing a voice in the extractivism debate in Brazil, Environmental
Sociology, 5:2, 207-218, DOI: 10.1080/23251042.2019.1620091
Galvão Lyra, Mariana (2019). Challenging extractivism: Activism over the aftermath of
the Fundão disaster, The Extractive Industries and Society, Volume 6, Issue 3, 2019,
Pages 897-905, ISSN 2214-790X, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2019.05.010.

Galvão Lyra, Mariana, Corrêa Gomes, Ricardo & Magdala Pinto, Miriam (2017) Knowledge
sharing relevance in social responsibility partnerships. Journal of Management Development, Vol.
36, Issue 1, pp.129-138, doi: 10.1108/JMD-10-2014-0123

Gomez Gladys, Montenegro, Fernanda, Quimbayo, Germán & Matallana, Clara (2017) Another
way of being a city: Biodiversity and farming communities on the southern border of Bogotá. In:
Mejía M. A. (Ed.) Urban Nature. Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von
Humboldt. Bogotá D. C., Colombia. Pp. 120-125.

Hiedanpää, Juha, Salo, Matti & Kotilainen Juha (2015) Teleodynamics and institutional change:
The hardship of protecting the Amur tiger, big-leaf mahogany, and gray wolf. Journal for Nature
Conservation 26, 36-44.

Hinojosa Flores, I. D., Skutsch, M. & Mustalahti, I. (2016) Impacts of Finnish cooperation in the
Mexican policy making process: from the community forest management to the liberalisation of
forest services. Forest Policy and Economics 73:229-238.

Lyra, Mariana (2016) The beginnings of the anti-mining movement in Brazil. Peace Review: A
Journal of Social Justice, 28:1, 38-45, doi: 10.1080/10402659.2016.1130376

Quimbayo Ruiz, Germán A., & Vásquez Rodríguez, Francisco. (2016). Hacía una ecología política
de la urbanización en América Latina. Revista Ecología Política. 51: 43-51.

Salo, Matti, Hiedanpää, Juha, Karlsson, Teemu, Cárcano Ávila, Luciano, Kotilainen, Juha, Jounela,
Pekka & Rumrrill García, Róger (2016) Local perspectives on the formalization of artisanal and
small scale mining: Lessons from the Madre de Dios gold fields, Peru. The Extractive Industries
and Society 3, 1058-1066.

Teräväinen, Tuula (2013) Towards green transitions? Some reflections on the politics of water
management and technology in Peru from a perspective of global North. Grupo de Estudios
Ambiente y Sociedad – GEAS, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú [http://pucp.edu.pe/].

Myllylä, Susanna (2018) Reclaiming Pluriverse in Corporate Responsibility: Brazilian

Indigenous Peoples and the Finnish Forest Cluster. In Verbos A.K., Henry, E. & Peredo, A.M.,

(Eds.) Indigenous Aspirations and Rights: The Case for Responsible Business and Management. Routledge.

Myllylä, S. & Takala, T. (2011) Leaking Legitimacies: The Finnish Forest Sector’s Entanglement in

the Land Conflicts of Atlantic Coastal Brazil. Social Responsibility Journal 7:1, 42-60.

Kotilainen, Juha (2018) Resilience of resource communities: Challenges and prospects.

In T. Marsden (Ed.) The Sage Handbook of Nature, Vol. 1. Sage Publications.


Contact information for the group:
Mariana Galvão Lyra mariana.lyra (at) uef.fi
Juha Kotilainen juha.kotilainen (at) uef.fi