Stephen Perz



Professor of Sociology

University of Florida Research Foundation Professor




Turlington 3115



By appointment







Stephen Perz received his PhD in sociology with a specialization in demography from the University of Texas at Austin in 1997. He is an affiliate of UF’s Center for Latin American Studies and UF’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. He has conducted research in the Amazon on migration into frontier regions, socio-economic drivers of land use and land cover change, socio-spatial processes of road building, and the social-ecological impacts of infrastructure. He has received more than $16 million in funding from NASA, NSF and USAID and other sources, for research as well as applied conservation and development work. He focuses primarily on the southwestern Amazon, specifically the tri-national frontier where Bolivia, Brazil and Peru meet. His work features collaboration across disciplinary, national and organizational boundaries. He has over 90 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals, plus various book chapters and other items. In 2014, he was named a UF Foundation Term Professor. In 2015, he was selected the UF International Educator of the Year for Senior Faculty. In 2016, he published his book on the challenges and strategic practices of spanning boundaries in research and environmental management, Crossing Boundaries for Collaboration: Conservation and Development Projects in the Amazon. In addition to serving on numerous graduate committees, he has chaired nearly 30 MA thesis and PhD dissertation students in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law, the Center for Latin American Studies, and the School of Natural Resources and Environment.



Undergraduate Courses

Graduate Courses

  • Core Issues in Environmental and Resource Sociology (SYD 6518)


Areas of Specialization


  • Environmental Sociology

  • Sociology of Development

  • Sociology of Latin America

  • Global and Transnational Sociology

  • Rural Sociology

  • Demography

I conduct research on the social and ecological impacts of infrastructure on developing regions. This involves collaboration with other faculty and graduate students in various departments, centers, and schools at UF. I focus on the Amazon, specifically the “MAP” region in the southwestern corner of the basin where Bolivia, Brazil and Peru meet. There, I collaborate with scholars across many disciplines, countries and types of institutions. We have received funding from NSF for interdisciplinary, international research projects to collect socio-economic, botanical and remote sensing data in order to develop and evaluate dynamic simulation models. I also work with numerous individuals and institutions in the MAP frontier on applied conservation and development projects. With funding from USAID, we have trained thousands of stakeholders in skills to improve natural resource management, we have facilitated numerous policy dialogue events to address institutional questions and resource conflicts, and we have supported planning processes for more sustainable territorial and watershed management. We have also built capacity in regional universities to apply scientific teaching techniques, to conduct applied research, and to publish in international scientific journals.

Selected Publications

  • Stephen G. Perz  (2015) “From Networks to Hierarchies? Insights from the Experiences of the MAP Consortia.” Accepted for publication in MAPiense II, publication of the MAP Initiative, Cobija, Pando, Bolivia. English manuscript 16 pages, Spanish version 18 pages.

  • Stephen Perz, Wendeson Castro, Rafael Rojas, Jorge Castillo, I. Foster Brown, Andrea Chavez Michaelsen, Mishari Garcia Roca, Oscar Guadalupe, Tania Gutierrez, Ana Hurtado, Tina Lerner, Zenobio Mamani, Julio Mayna, Herison Medeiros, Ricardo Mello, Veronica Passos, Rosa Andrea Ponce de Leon, Juan Fernando Reyes, Marcelo Saavedra, Fronika de Wit, Nancy Acuña, Gabriel Alarcón, and Daniel Rojas (2015) “La Amazonía como un Sistema Socio-ecológico: Las Dinámicas de Cambios Complejos Humanos y Ambientales en una Frontera Tri-nacional.” Chapter accepted for publication in Perspectivas Socio-Ecológicas sobre Cambios Globales en América Latina, eds. Julio Postigo and Kenneth Young. Manuscript 51 pages.

  • Convertino, Matteo, Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, Gregory A. Kiker, and Stephen G. Perz 2014 “Design of Optimal Ecosystem Monitoring Networks: Hotspot Detection and Biodiversity Patterns.” Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment. Published online, DOI 10.1007/s00477-014-0999-8.

  • Christopher Baraloto, Paula Alverga, Grenville Barnes, Izaias Brasil da Silva, Wendeson Castro, Iracema da Souza Moll, Hugo Dueña Linares, Dean Kenji, Herison Medeiros, Skya Murphy, Herison Ramos de Souza, Cara Rockwell, Alexander Shenkin, Marcos Silveira, Jane Southworth, Guido Vasquez Colomo, and Stephen Perz  2014 “Tradeoffs among Forest Value Components in Community Forests of Southwestern Amazonia.” Ecology & Society 19(4): 56-66.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Yibin Xia and Alexander Shenkin 2014 “Global Integration and Local Connectivity: Trans-boundary Highway Paving and Rural-Urban Ties in the Southwestern Amazon.” Journal of Latin American Geography 13(3): 205-239.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Andrea Chavez, Rosa Cossio, Jeffrey Hoelle, Flavia Leite, Karla Rocha, Rafael Rojas, Alexander Shenkin, Lucas Araujo Carvalho, Jorge Castillo, Daniel Rojas 2014 “Trans-boundary Infrastructure, Access Connectivity, and Household Land Use in a Tri-national Frontier in the Southwestern Amazon.” Journal of Land Use Science. Article 27 pages. Online first as DOI: 10.1080/1747423X.2014.898104.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Grenville Barnes, Alexander Shenkin, Daniel Rojas, and Carlos Vaca 2014 “Private and Communal Lands? The Ramifications of Tenure Ambiguity and Regional Integration for Tenure Formalization and its Consequences in Northern Bolivia.” International Journal of the Commons 8(1): 179-206.

  • Elsa R.H. Mendoza, Stephen G. Perz, Sonaira Souza da Silva, I. Foster Brown, and Paula Soares Pinheiro 2014 “Revisiting the Knowledge Exchange Train: Scaling Up Dialogue and Partnering for Participatory Regional Planning.” Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. 57(3): 384-402. Online First, March 2013.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Youliang Qiu, Yibin Xia, Jing Sun, Jane Southworth, Karla Rocha, Grenville Barnes 2013 “Political Ecology and Land Change Science in the Study of Infrastructure Impacts.” Chapter 8 (pp. 150-168) in Land Change Science, Political Ecology, and Sustainability: Synergies and Divergences, eds. C. Branstromm and J.M. Vadjunec. New York: Routledge.

  • Chavez Michaelsen, Andrea, Leticia Huamani Briceño, Ronny Fernandez Menis, Nemin Bejar Chura, Frank Valera Tito, Stephen Perz, I. Foster Brown, Sandro Domínguez del Aguila, Raúl Pinedo Mora and Gabriel Alarcón Aguirre 2013 “Regional Deforestation Trends within Local Realities: Land Cover Change in Southeastern Peru, 1996-2011.” Land 2: 131-157.

  • Andrea Chavez Michaelsen and Stephen G. Perz 2013 “Policy Adoption, Infrastructure Upgrades, and Land Use Plans: The Case of Southeastern Peru.” Geoforum 50: 138-148.

  • Marcellus Caldas and Stephen G. Perz 2013 “Agro-terrorism: The Causes and Consequences of the Appearance of Witch’s Broom Disease in Cocoa Plantations of Southern Bahia, Brazil.” Geoforum 47: 147-157.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, Greg Kiker, and Robert D. Holt 2013 “Evaluating Ecological Resilience with Global Sensitivity and Uncertainty Analysis.” Ecological Modelling 263: 174-186. DOI 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2013.04.024

  • Stephen G. Perz, Martha Rosero, Flavia Leite, Lucas Araujo Carvalho, Jorge Castillo, and Carlos Vaca 2013 “Regional Integration and Resilience: Infrastructure Connectivity and Livelihood Diversity in the Southwestern Amazon.” Human Ecology 41(4): 497-511. Lead article. DOI 10.1007/s10745-013- 9584-x.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Youliang Qiu, Yibin Xia, Jane Southworth, Jing Sun, Matt Marsik, Karla Rocha, Veronica Passos, Daniel Rojas, Gabriel Alarcon, Grenville Barnes and Christopher Baraloto 2013 “Trans-boundary Infrastructure and Land Cover Change: Highway Paving and Community-level  Deforestation in a Tri-national Frontier in the Amazon.” Land Use Policy 34: 27-41.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Alexander Shenkin, Xanic Rondon, and Youliang Qiu 2013 “Infrastructure Upgrades and Rural-Urban Connectivity: Distance Disparities in a Tri-national Frontier in the Amazon.” The Professional Geographer 65(1): 103-115. Online first 3 February 2012. DOI 10.1080/ 00330124.2011.639636.

  • Walker, Robert T., Eugenio Arima, Joseph Messina, Britaldo Soares-Filho, Stephen Perz, Dante Vergara, Marcio Sales, Ritaumaria Pereira, and Williams Castro 2013 “Modelling Spatial Decisions with Graph Theory: Logging Roads and Forest Fragmentation in the Brazilian Amazon.” Ecological Applications 23: 239-254.

  • Andrea Chavez Michaelsen and Stephen G. Perz 2012 “Adoption of Policy Incentives and Land Use: The Case of Frontier Agriculture in Southeastern Peru.” Human Ecology 40(4): 525-539.

  • Stephen G. Perz 2012 “Social Mobilization in Response to Trans-boundary Highway Projects: Explaining Contrasting Implementation Outcomes.” Development and Change 43(3): 797-821.

  • Carlos Valerio Gomes, Stephen G. Perz, and Jacqueline Vadjunec 2012 “Convergence and Contrasts in the Adoption of Cattle Ranching: Comparisons of Smallholder Agriculturalists and Forest Extractivists in the Amazon.” Journal of Latin American Geography 11(1): 99-120.

  • Carlos Valerio Gomes, Jacqueline Vadjunec, and Stephen Perz 2012 “Rubber Tapper Identities: Political-Economic Dynamics, Livelihood Shifts, and Environmental Implications in a Changing Amazon” Geoforum 43: 260-271. DOI 10.1016/ j.geoforum.2011.09.005.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Liliana Cabrera, Lucas Araujo Carvalho, Jorge Castillo, Rosmery Chacacanta, Rosa Cossio, Yeni Franco Solano, Jeffrey Hoelle, Leonor Mercedes Perales, Israel Puerta, Daniel Rojas Céspedes, Ioav Rojas Camacho, and Adão Costa Silva 2012 “Regional Integration and Local Change: Road Paving, Community Connectivity and Social- Ecological Resilience in a Tri-National Frontier, Southwestern Amazonia.” Regional Environmental Change 12: 35-53, DOI 10.1007/s10113-011-0233-x.

  • Aldrich, Stephen, Robert Walker, Cynthia Simmons, Marcellus Caldas, and Stephen Perz 2012 “Contentious Land Change in the Amazon’s Arc of Deforestation.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 102(1): 103-128.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Alexander Shenkin, Grenville Barnes, Liliana Cabrera, Jorge Castillo, and Lucas Carvalho 2012 “Connectivity and Resilience: A Multidimensional Analysis of Infrastructure Impacts in the Southwestern Amazon.” Social Indicators Research 106(2): 259-285. Online First, February 2011.

  • Rosa Cossio, Stephen G. Perz, Karen Kainer 2011 “Capacity for Timber Management: A Case Study from the Eastern Peruvian Amazon.” Small- scale Forestry 10: 489-507.

  • Robert Walker, Cynthia Simmons, Stephen Aldrich, Stephen Perz, and Eugenio Arima 2011 “The Amazonian Theater of Cruelty.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 101(5): 1156-1170.

  • Jane Southworth, Matthew Marsik, Youliang Qiu, Stephen Perz, Graeme Cumming, Forrest Stevens, Karla Rocha, Amy Duchelle, and Grenville Barnes 2011 “Road Paving as a Driver of Land Cover Change: Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Forests in the Tri-National MAP Frontier, Southwestern Amazonia, 1986-2005.” Remote Sensing 3: 1047-1066; doi:10.3390/rs3051047

  • Flavia Leite, Marcellus Caldas, Cynthia Simmons, Stephen Perz, Stephen Aldrich, and Robert Walker 2011 “The Social Viability and Environmental Sustainability of Direct Action Land Reform Settlements in the Amazon.” Environment, Development and Sustainability 13(4): 773-788.

  • Robert Walker, Stephen Perz, Eugenio Arima, and Cynthia Simmons 2011 “The Transamazon Highway: Past, Present, Future.” Chapter 33 in Engineering Earth, pp. 569- 599, ed. S.D. Brunn. New York: Springer.

  • Almeyda, Angelica, Eben Broadbent, Marianne Schmink, Stephen Perz, Greg Asner 2010 “Deforestation Drivers in Southwest Amazonia: Comparing Smallholder Farmers in Iñapari, Peru and Assis Brasil, Brazil.” Conservation and Society 8(3): 157-170.

  • Stephen Perz , Silvia Brilhante, I. Foster Brown, Andrea Chavez Michaelsen, Elsa Mendoza, Veronica Passos, Raul Pinedo, Juan Fernando Reyes, Daniel Rojas, Galia Selaya 2010 “Crossing Boundaries for Environmental Science and Management: Combining Interdisciplinary, Inter-organizational and International Collaboration.” Environmental Conservation 47(4): 419- 431.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Cynthia Simmons, Robert Walker, Marcellus Caldas, Flavia Leite, and Stephen Aldrich 2010 “Intraregional Migration, Direct Action Land Reform, and New Settlement Formation in the Brazilian Amazon.” Bulletin of Latin American Research 29(4): 459-476.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Liliana Cabrera, Lucas Araujo Carvalho, Jorge Castillo Hurtado, and Grenville Barnes 2010 “Global Economic Integration and Local Community Resilience: New Infrastructure Projects and Demographic Change in the Southwestern Amazon.” Rural Sociology 75(2): 300-325.

  • Marcellus Caldas, Cynthia Simmons, Robert Walker, Stephen G. Perz, Stephen Aldrich, Ritaumaria Pereira, Flavia Leite, and Eugenio Arima 2010 “Settlement Formation and Land Cover and Land Use Change: A Case Study in the Brazilian Amazon.” Journal of Latin American Geography 9(1): 125-144.

  • Cynthia Simmons, Robert Walker, Stephen G. Perz, Stephen Aldrich, Marcellus Caldas, Ritaumaria Pereira, Flavia Leite, Luiz Claudio Fernandes, Eugenio Arima  2010 “Doing it for Themselves: Direct Action Land Reform in the Brazilian Amazon.” World Development 38(3): 429-444.

  • Stephen G. Perz and Angelica Almeyda 2010 “Secondary Growth and Forest Recovery: Theoretical Perspectives and a Proposed Framework of Forest Dynamics.” Pp. 59-84 in Reforesting Landscapes: Linking Pattern and Process, eds. Harini Nagendra and Jane Southworth. Springer-Verlag.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Joseph Messina, Eustaquio Reis, Robert Walker, and Steve Walsh 2009 “Scenarios of Future Amazonian Landscapes: Econometric and Dynamic Simulation Models.” Pp. 83-100 in Amazonia and Global Change, eds. M. Keller, M.Bustamante, J. Gash, and P. Silva Dias. San Francisco: American Geophysical Union. Geophysical Monograph Series No. 186.

  • Alexander Pfaff, Alisson Barbieri, Tomas Ludewigs, Frank Merry, Stephen Perz, and Eustaquio Reis 2009 “Road Impacts in the Brazilian Amazon.” Pp. 101-116 in Amazonia and Global Change, eds. M. Keller, M.Bustamante, J. Gash, and P. Silva Dias. San Francisco: American Geophysical Union. Geophysical Monograph Series No. 186.

  • Liliana Cabrera, Kelly Biedenweg, Ioav Rojas Camacho, Daniel Rojas, Alexander Shenkin, Dave Elliott, and Stephen G. Perz 2009 “Perspectivas Hacia los Proyectos de Infraestructura: Las Comunidades Campesinas y la Pavimentación de Carreteras en Pando, Bolivia.” Bolivian Research Review 8(1): 1-18.

  • Robert T. Walker, Nathan Moore, Eugenio Arima, Stephen Perz, Cynthia Simmons, Marcellus Caldas, Dante Vergara and Claudio Bohrer 2009 “Can Protected Areas Protect the Amazon?” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106(26): 10582-10586.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Marcellus M. Caldas, Robert T. Walker, Eugenio Arima, and Carlos Souza Jr. 2008 “Road Networks and Forest Fragmentation in the Amazon: Explanations for Local Differences with Implications for Conservation and Development.” Journal of Latin American Geography 7(2): 85-104.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Jonathan W. Warren, and David P. Kennedy 2008 “Contributions of Racial-Ethnic Reclassification and Demographic Processes to Indigenous Population Resurgence: The Case of Brazil.” Latin American Research Review 42(3): 7-33. Lead article.

  • Eugenio Y. Arima, Robert T. Walker, Marcio Sales, Carlos Souza Jr. and Stephen Perz 2008 “Emergent Road Networks and the Fragmentation of Space in the Amazon Basin.” Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing 74(6): 699-710.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Silvia Brilhante, Foster Brown, Marcellus Caldas, Santos Ikeda, Elsa Mendoza, Christine Overdevest, Vera Reis, Juan Fernando Reyes, Daniel Rojas, Marianne Schmink, Carlos Souza, and Robert Walker 2008 “Climate Change, Land Use and Road Building: Prospects for Environmental Governance in the Amazon.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 363(1498): 1889-1895. DOI: 10.1098/rtsb2007.0017.

  • Elsa Mendoza, Stephen Perz, Marianne Schmink, and Daniel Nepstad 2007 “Participatory Stakeholder Workshops to Mitigate Impacts of Road Paving in the Southwestern Amazon.” Conservation and Society 5(3): 382-407.

  • Elsa Mendoza, Stephen Perz, Cesar Aguilar, Gabriel Alarcón, Foster Brown, Jacob Carballo, Andrea Chavez, Jaime Chavez, Georgina Cullman, Monica de los Rios, Amy Duchelle, Hugo Dueñas, Christiane Ehringhaus, Jeff Luzar, Matt Marsik, Julio Mayna, Armando Muñante, Vera Reis, and Cora van Oosten 2007 “The Knowledge Exchange Train: A Model for Capacity Building for Participatory Governance.” Development in Practice 17(6): 791-799.

    • (Published in Spanish as:Elsa Mendoza, Stephen Perz, Cesar Aguilar, Gabriel Alarcón, Foster Brown, Jacob Carballo, Andrea Chavez, Jaime Chavez, Georgina Cullman, Monica de los Rios, Amy Duchelle, Hugo Dueñas, Christiane Ehringhaus, Jeff Luzar, Matt Marsik, Julio Mayna, Armando Muñante, Vera Reis, and Cora van Oosten 2007 “El Tren de Intercambio de Conocimiento: Un Mecanismo de Desarrollo de Capacidades Hacia la Gobernabilidad Ambiental Participativa.” MAPiense 1(1): 47-56.)

  • Cynthia Simmons, Marcellus Caldas, Stephen Aldrich, Robert Walker, and Stephen G. Perz 2007 “Spatial Processes in Scalar Context: Development and Security in the Brazilian Amazon.” Journal of Latin American Geography 6(1): 125-148.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Christine Overdevest, Eugenio Y. Arima, Marcellus M. Caldas, and Robert T. Walker 2007 “Unofficial Road Building in the Brazilian Amazon: Dilemmas and Models of Road Governance.” Environmental Conservation 34(2): 112-121.

  • Stephen G. Perz, Marcellus Caldas, Eugenio Arima, and Robert T. Walker

    2007 “Socio-spatial Processes of Unofficial Road-building in the Amazon: Socioeconomic and Biophysical Explanations.” Development and Change 38(3): 529-551.

  • Stephen G. Perz 2007 “Reformulating Modernization-based Environmental Social Theories: Steps Toward an Interdisciplinary Environmental Science?” Society and Natural Resources 20(5): 415-430.

  • Marcellus Caldas, Robert Walker, Eugenio Arima, Stephen Perz, Stephen Aldrich, and Cynthia Simmons 2007 “Theorizing Land Cover and Land Use Change: The Peasant Economy of Amazonian Deforestation.” Annals of the American Association of Geographers 97(1): 86-110.

  • Alexander Pfaff, Juan Robalino, Robert Walker, Stephen Aldrich, Marcellus Caldas, Eustaquio Reis, Stephen Perz, Claudio Bohrer, Eugenio Arima, William Laurance and Kathryn Kirby 2007 “Road Investments, Spatial Spillovers, and Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.” Journal of Regional Science 47(1): 109-123.

  • Stephen G. Perz 2007 “Grand Theory and Context-Specificity in the Study of Forest Dynamics: Forest Transition Theory and Other Directions.” The Professional Geographer 59(1): 105-114.