Maria Teresa Vargas Ríos
Calle Moldes No. 620
(Santa Cruz de la Sierra - Bolivia)
Phone: (591) (3) 339 5133 of
M.S., Forestry, Yale University, New Haven, CT – 2004
M.S., International Relations and Sustainable Development, National University of Costa Rica,
Heredia, Costa Rica – 1999
B.A., Sociology and Communication, Evangelical University, Santa Cruz, Bolivia – 1989
Advanced: English, Portuguese
1999 – Present Executive Director
Fundación Natura Bolivia – Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Founded, organized and directed environment and development NGO. Developed organization,
defined vision, policies and objectives, organized administrative structure, selected and hired
personnel, wrote proposals and administered a $3M budget (major funders: UK Department for
International Development, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Consultative Group on International
Agricultural Research—CGIAR). Developed 3 payments-for-environmental-services systems between
communities that share watersheds in Amboró National Park buffer zone. Published initiative results
Curriculum Vitae – Maria Teresa Vargas Ríos
as ―Selling two environmental services: payments for bird habitat and watershed protection in Bolivia‖
(Ecological Economics, in press), and Fair Deals for Watershed Services in Bolivia (Natural Resource Issues
# 7, International Institute for Environment and Development).
2001 – 2002 Researcher
Centre for International Forestry Research – Bogor, Indonesia
Co-authored (with Arnoldo Contreras, World Bank) “Social, environmental, and economic impact of
forest policy reforms in Bolivia”: coordinated logistics, arranged interviews, organized data collection and
wrote sections of an analysis of the impact of the Bolivian forestry law on economic and ecological
sustainability and local communities. Authored “Advances and Problems with Bolivia’s Amazonian Forestry
Regimen”: planned and developed investigation, conducted interviews, organized meetings to discuss
results. Co-authored (with Cesar Sabogal) “The legal basis for forest management in Bolivia, Peru and
Brazil”: developed investigation, identified the management practices and businesses to evaluate,
elaborated and applied questionnaires, coded and tabulated data and drafted principal results. Co-
authored (with Marco Boscolo, Harvard University) “Incentives for the Bolivian Forest Sector”:
coordinated logistics, undertook interviews, prepared forest industry sector profile, identified and
2000 – 2001 Researcher, Analysis of the Santa Cruz-Puerto Suarez Corridor
Bank Information Centre – Washington DC
Led social and environmental impact assessment of the Santa Cruz-Puerto Suárez Bolivian export
corridor, and assessed effectiveness of participation of local communities in the Inter-American
Development Bank’s newly-designed participatory decision-making process.
1996 – 1997 Bolivia Coordinator, Hidrovia Project
Rios Vivos (“Living Rivers”) – Campo Grande, Brazil
Led 8-month investigation to compile basic information about the Plata basin component of the
Hidrovía project. Wrote funding proposal (for $140 000), managed project, led team of four
consultants, organized analysis, coordinated with team leaders from Paraguay and Brazil, and wrote
final report to Rios Vivos coalition and Netherlands government.
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Resume: Maria Teresa Vargas Ríos
1995 – 1996 Executive Director
Ecological Association of the East (ASEO)– Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Executive Director of environmental activist NGO. Managed 26 local staff and international
consultants (annual office budget of $50 000), raised and managed $300 000 in project funds (from
organizations such as HIVOS and DANIDA), supervised projects including investigations of
environmental damage, environmental education, participatory resource management, social and
environmental impact assessments, and encouraging civil society participation in the environment.
1995 – 1995 Analyst, Social and Environmental Impact Assessment of Oil Sector
SEBPRO – Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Led field analyses and wrote reports on the potential social and environmental impact of proposed
Chevron and Maxxus hydrocarbon exploitation projects in Guarani and in Chapare Provinces.
1993 – 1994 Director, NGO Capacity Building
Ecological Association of the East (ASEO) – Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Organized, raised funds for, and led 12-month, $25 000, project to build capacity and increase
effectiveness of nine grassroots environmental NGOs in lowland Bolivia. Of the NGOs the project
assisted, five are now fully and successfully functioning, and engaging municipal governments.
1992 – 1997 Journalist, for various media including:
The daily “El Deber” and TV channels 11, 13 – Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Wrote 95 press articles on diverse themes, many on environmental and natural resource issues,
including 5 papers on the urban environment and 4 papers on gender and the environment.
Presented television news and investigated national and international news stories for the local media.
Also worked as consultant for ―Radio as an instrument of communication for participatory processes
of sustainable development in Amazonia‖.
2009, co-author with Edil Osinaga. Who owns the forest in Bolivia, FAO, Rome in press.
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Curriculum Vitae – Maria Teresa Vargas Ríos
2007, co-author with Asquith N.M. & S. Wunder. Selling two environmental services: payments for
bird habitat and watershed protection Bolivia. Ecological Economics 65: 675-684.
2007, co-author with Asquith, N.M. Fair Deals for Watershed Services in Bolivia. Natural Resource Issues
Series Number 7, IIED, London.
2005, author, Decentralization and local governance in Bolivia: a literature review, IIED, London.
2002, co-author with Asquith N.M. & J. Smith. Can forest carbon projects improve rural livelihoods?
Analysis of the Noel Kempff Mercado Climate Action Project, Bolivia. Mitigation and Adaptation
Strategies for Global Change 7: 323-337.
2002. author, Advances and Problems with Bolivia’s Amazon Forestry Regime. CIFOR
2001, co-author with Contreras A. Social, environmental, and economic impact of forest policy reforms in
Bolivia. CIFOR/Forest Trends.
2001, co-author with Boscolo, M. Incentives for the Bolivian Forest Sector. CIFOR
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