Diya Paul, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
I describe myself as a conservationist and social scientist who strives towards a more sustainable and just world for humans and non-humans through research and education. I am trained as a Geographer and my work examines wildlife presence in community managed forests in south India. I have a B.A. in Economics from Pune University, India, a MSW from the Delhi School of Social Work, M.S. in Geography from Oklahoma State University and a Ph.D. in Geography from Rutgers University, New Brunswick. I work at the intersection of physical and human geography to develop a robust understanding of the relationships that shape the landscape. This involves assessment of land-use/cover, faunal (mammal) presence, livelihood diversity, and the lifeworld of a traditionally forest dependent community in the Eastern Ghats. I employ mixed methods to understand wildlife presence in lived landscapes human-wildlife coexistence/conflict, land-use practices, conservation politics and the ambiguities of categories used to describe forests in semi-arid landscapes. This includes species distribution modeling, vegetation change analysis, in conjunction with statistical and qualitative data analytic methods. My work contributes towards more integrated research in conservation that considers how human-environment relationships are constantly being co-produced and shaped in unintended ways.
I have worked in the development sector in India with a focus on natural resource management and climate change adaptation in rural farming communities. I have been involved with multiple ecological based studies and documentation for NGOs over the years. I have taught courses in Environmental Studies, Physical Geography and Human Geography. At Cottey College, I teach introductory and senior level Environmental Studies courses and coordinate the Environmental Studies program.
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