Richard Bilsborrow

Research Professor of Biostatistics, Fellow, Carolina Population Center

In 2001, Bilsborrow helped design an ethnographic study of five indigenous populations in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and designed household and community surveys of over 500 households and 36 indigenous communities carried out with Ecociencia and CEPAR in Quito. Results were presented in person to indigenous federations and communities in 2003-2004, and the ethnographic study was published in Spanish by Abya Yala in 2012. A follow-up survey of the same households and communities was implemented in 2011 to measure changes in demographic and socio-economic behavior and resource use and implications for the environment and welfare. A longitudinal survey of 400 migrant colonist plots was implemented in 1990, 1999 and 2014, revealing changes in similar variables. Many journal articles have been published and more are in process. Earlier in Ecuador, he designed and analyzed surveys of migration, fertility, and employment, and analyzed census data, working with CONADE (national planning agency) and INEC (national statistics office). In 2005-6, for UNHCR/ACNUR, he designed and analyzed a survey of Colombian immigrants in five Northern provinces of Ecuador, and in 2008 with Clark Gray designed, implemented and then analyzed data from a survey in 4 rural provinces on migration, land use, and climate, documenting new relationships. In 2012-15 working the the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, funded by USAID, he and Carlos Mena led the development and teaching of a successful new MS in ecology degree with Specialization on Amazonian Studies. He has also worked extensively in other countries in Latin America, especially Peru (surveys and research on the Amazon), Mexico (fertility and migration surveys, Calakmul Biosphere Reserve monitoring, and Mayas), Guatemala (community surveys and analyses combining population and agricultural census data to study deforestation in the Peten), Honduras (teaching), and Colombia, where he was a Fulbright scholar. He has worked widely in the region with UN and government agencies as well as environmental NGOs.


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