International Collaborators


Besides hosting a “Visiting Scholar and Fellows” program in Missoula, Leopold Institute scientists conduct research, plan and engage in specialized meetings like the World Wilderness Congress, and make site visits to advise on science and wilderness stewardship in many places around the world. Below are featured international collaborators that have contributed and continue to contribute to the Leopold Institute mission, as well as the missions of the institutions which support them. These scientists expand the family of the Leopold Institute in the ways described in the short biographies include in their posts.





Li Peng is an associate professor of ecotourism at Yunnan University, China, and the director of the Research Center for Global Ecological Civilization of One Belt and Road Institute of Yunnan Province. His research interests include ecotourism, protected areas and recreation, protected rivers and wild rivers, and ecological civilization. He has collaborated with the Leopold Institute in publishing articles on wild river protection in China and is a Fulbright host in China. The Leopold Institute also has hosted Yunnan University graduate students working with Dr. Li on wild river issues in China.




Sini Kantola is writing her doctoral thesis at the University of Oulu (Finland), Research Unit of Geography. She graduated as a Master of Science in 2013 from the University of Oulu. After graduation she worked at the Natural Resources Institute Finland and is now working on her doctoral thesis on the participation of citizens in land use planning and decision making in sparsely populated Northern areas. She examines whether public participation GIS (PPGIS) increases interactivity amongst local citizens, authorities and politicians. Kantola will start to work in the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute as a Fulbright fellow in October 2018, with an interest in fuzzy GIS methods employed in US public engagement.




Elena Nikolaeva, from Russia, has focused on nature protected areas to increase capacity for environmental education, ecotourism and cooperation with local communities. After graduation from the Moscow State University, she worked for a conservation non-profit - Environmental Education Center "Zapovedniks", training protected area managers, and a number of conservation projects focused on sustainable tourism development in national parks and nature reserves. After coming to The University of Montana, she has focused on transboundary conservation issues and exploring protected area visitor and local resident perceptions in Kamchatka with the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Institute. A former Fulbright student from Russia to the US, Elena is currently a PhD candidate in Forestry and Conservation and a course instructor at the University of Montana.




CAO Yue is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Tsinghua University in Beijing. His research focuses on national parks and protected areas, especially on Chinese wilderness protection. He has published the first map of wilderness qualities in China and supports the establishment of a Chinese Wilderness Preservation System (CWPS). Yue is spending the year 2018 with the Wildland Research Institute at the University of Leeds in the UK, a collaborator of the Leopold Institute in Europe, expanding his wilderness mapping capabilities. email:




Tina Tin is an environmental consultant, with research interests in wilderness perceptions, mapping, and policy implementation. She has published extensively on the protection of the Antarctic wilderness. Living at the foothills of the French Alps, she is a member of IUCN France's Wilderness Working Group. Having Chinese roots, she is conducting research on perceptions of wilderness in Chinese culture. Tina has been collaborating with the Leopold Institute in studying wilderness perceptions of emerging adults, Chinese culture and wilderness, and in coordinating the Science Symposium for the 11th World Wilderness Congress in China.




Dr. Sheng-Shan Lu, an entomologist with the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute in Taipei, works in a special niche in Taiwan: understanding wasps, influences on their populations and their influences on nature. He also represents TFRI in creating opportunities to invite experts to Taiwan to engage in sharing knowledge about protected area, sustainable tourism development and indigenous people issues. TFRI is a collaborator with the Leopold Institute in bringing cultural landscape protection planning to indigenous people through application of Participatory GIS methods and understanding traditional phenological knowledge contributions to environmental change adaptation. 




Vladimir Bocharnikov, is with the Pacific Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladivostok, Russia. Dr. Bocharnikov has focused for many years on Wilderness and tourism, Traditional Forest Knowledge, biodiversity, landscape ecology, game biology, conservation biology and anthropology in the Far East of Russia. His nearly 400 publications mostly deal with game biology, resource and species inventory, geography, indigenous traditional knowledge, wetlands and forestry, information needs assessment and biodiversity conservation, ecotourism, cultural landscapes and wilderness. Since 1985 he has been the environmental science expert for the indigenous peoples of Russia issues in Forest and tiger conservation for the Primorsky Region Association of Indigenous Peoples. Since 1998 he has been the expert on nature impact assessment and biodiversity sustainable management for Russian Far East and Siberia with the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North. Dr. Bocharnikov is collaborating with the Leopold Institute to understand the history and impacts of designation and management of IUCN Protected Area categories 1a and 1b lands in the Arctic North on indigenous people.  




Jarkko Saarinen is a Professor of Geography at the University of Oulu, Finland, and Distinguished Visiting Professor (Sustainability Management) at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. His research interests include tourism and wilderness studies, tourism and nature conservation, sustainability in tourism, tourism-community relations and tourism and climate change adaptation. Dr. Saarinen was a visiting scholar at the Leopold Institute and has collaborated with the Institute in wilderness research, strategic science planning and conflict issues in protected areas since the 1990s.





Chau Chin Lin is a Research Scientist at the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute in Taipei. His research interests include fire ecology, and ecoinformatics. He has been associated with the Leopold Institute since 1996. He first visited the Leopold Institute as a PhD graduate student, seeking comments from Institute scientists on his dissertation research in Taiwan on the effects of public beliefs about fire effects on fire risk. Since that time, through multiple exchanges, Chin has worked with Dr. Alan Watson on indigenous community conservation practices to protect culture and biodiversity. Through visits to the Leopold Institute and the Confederal Salish and Kootenai Tribal Government land managers a great deal of information exchange has occurred between Taiwan and the US about methods of protecting traditional relationships with nature, restoration of cultural values and education.




Fernando Sanchez-Trigueros, a citizen of the Province of Alicante, España, initially came to the Leopold Institute as a visiting scholar through the University of Leeds Wildland Research Institute. He later came to reside in Missoula on a temporary appointment with the University of Montana, and now he is living in Tucson while continuing collaboration with the Leopold Institute and the Wildland Research Institute on participatory GIS methods and their applications. At present, he is Assistant Professor of Practice in GIS Technology at the School of Geography and Development, University of Arizona, and Faculty Affiliate at the Department of Geography, The University of Montana.




Dr. John Shultis is an Associate Professor in the Ecosystem Science and Management Program at the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada. His research deals with conservation sciences and studies generally, and more specifically focuses on topics within wilderness recreation, wilderness management and nature-based tourism. His research encompasses both quantitative and qualitative approaches, with recent research including the assessment of the impact of technology on wilderness experiences and the role of neoliberalism on reshaping wilderness recreation, protected area planning and management and global conservation. He is an Executive Editor of the International Journal of Wilderness, served as Executive Editor of the Journal of Environmental Education from 2010-1018 and is a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas.




Sutej Hugu, Secretary General of Taiwan Indigenous Conserved Territories Union, works closely with the Leopold Institute on indigenous people issues in Taiwan and throughout Asia. Through visits to Taiwan and meetings in other places to share information, deep exchange and mutual learning has occurred between the US and Taiwan because of this relationship between TICTU and the Leopold Institute. Among important areas of cooperation have included bio-cultural diversity, Traditional Knowledge, resilience and Tribal GIS methods of defining traditional homelands.




Steve Carver is the Director of the Wildland Research Institute (WRi) in the School of Geography at the University of Leeds, UK. Steve has worked with the Leopold Institute for about 18 years, mainly through Alan Watson who he is honoured to call one of his best friends and a great motorcycle companion. These two institutes share common interests and values and scientists and staff here have worked together on many projects including the World Wilderness Congresses, Keeping It Wild and various mapping projects looking at developing spatial understanding of the social and cultural meanings attached to wild places. There’s been something of a drift of Leeds folk to Missoula with James Tricker and Fernando Sanchez-Trigeros originally working for WRi and now living and working in the US. The Leopold Institute has been an inspiration for WRi and Steve offers a personal “Ta very much!” (that’s Yorkshire for “Thank You!”).




Zdenka Křenová is a junior researcher at the CzechGlobe - Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Department of Biodiversity Research, and she is also faculty at Charles University in Prague and at South Bohemian University in České Budějovice. Her research focuses on protected area management, wilderness management, climatic change and biodiversity. Dr. Křenová lives in the middle of the Šumava NP, where she was a deputy director responsible for research and nature conservation for several years. Together with colleagues from the neighboring Bavarian Forest NP in Germany, they created Europe’s “Wild Heart,” the largest transboundary wilderness in Central Europe. Currently she is a scientific coordinator for the transboundary project monitoring forest biodiversity along elevation and forest structure gradients. Zdenka has visited and guest lectured at the Leopold Institute, hosted a Leopold Institute scientist at Charles University, and Šumava and Bavarian Forest National Parks. She is a regular collaborator with the Leopold Institute in planning the science program for the World Wilderness Congress and collaborates on science articles for the International Journal of Wilderness.




Dan Mulrooney of Parks Canada is a social scientist specializing in research and analysis of data concerning the social and economic benefits of Canada's national system of protected areas.  His work began with the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute in 2011 under a project called Valuing Ecosystem Services by the North American Inter-Governmental Committee on Cooperation for Wilderness & Protected Areas Conservation (NAWPA Committee).  The Committee is comprised of the heads of federal land management agencies that oversee wilderness and protected areas in Canada, the United States and Mexico. NAWPA Agency Heads directed the Valuing Ecosystem Services Working Group to produce a series of products that would help educate policy makers and the public about the valuable contribution of wilderness and protected area ecosystem services to human well-being.

 The primary communication product undertaken by the Valuing Ecosystem Services Working Group (VESWG) was a brochure that focused on the water resources of wilderness and protected areas of North America.  The central message impressed upon policy makers is that wilderness and protected areas provide life-sustaining water-based ecosystem services.  The content of the brochure includes a definition of ecosystem services, a rationale for a focus on water, detailed services from wetlands and  watersheds, descriptions of a host of wilderness and protected area “water treasures” managed by the NAWPA agencies and a check-list of actions to increase the sustainability of water-based ecosystem services.  To expand the reach and use of the water information and the ecosystem service messages, the brochure content was condensed into a tri-fold business card and re-formatted to a poster.  All three products are available at the following NAWPA website:

 Parks Canada continues to work with the Leopold Institute on topics of mutual interest and benefit.






Mdodi Florence is a Program Officer and Social Worker for Save Education and Future Development foundation. Mdodi lives in Ifakara, Tanzania. Mdodi works to resolve local social and environmental problems by addressing social and environmental protective measures through community engagement strategies such as training workshops, seminars, and traditional dances. Mdodi was a Visiting Fellow at the Leopold Institute for 3 months in 2017, with his visit arranged by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) for the U.S. State Department, Community Solutions Program. Mdodi worked on a USDA Climate Hub project to understand objectives and threats associated with restoration of climate change related disturbances on federal lands surrounding the Crow Reservation in Montana and Wyoming.




Aida Mačerinskiene, Faculty of Economics, Vilnius University, in Lithuania, is a theoretical scientist and practitioner in nature-based tourism. Aida has contributed to Lithuania’s National Tourism Development Programs, particularly water tourism routes. She is passionate about supporting positive changes and development in tourism. Dr. Mačerinskiene collaborates with the Leopold Institute on water-based tourism and recreation research and wilderness protection research in Europe.




Arthur Reinelt is a GIS specialist with the Bavarian Forest National Park with interest in mapping, wilderness and international exchange. He has organized five excursions for staff of national park and other sanctuaries in Germany to parks in the US. Living in Bavarian Forest, he is a member of the “Runder Tisch GIS e.v.” working on promoting GIS in every day´s life. He has been a host when Alan Watson was visiting the Bavarian Forest National Park and will be coordinating the Poster Session for the 11th World Wilderness Congress in China.

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Verena Gruber from the European Wilderness Society is an Austrian geographer, with a master’s degree in mountain and climate geography from the Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria. After graduating she joined the European Wilderness Society, where she is responsible for international exchange programmes and the implementation of the European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System, meaning the certification process of Wilderness areas in Europe. Verena, on behalf of the European Wilderness Society, will work with the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute to gain, and exchange, knowledge from their science program and to work on future cooperation and exchange opportunities.