• Our Team & Advisors

    Our Team & Advisors

Meet the Experts



Photo of Jorge Recharte, Ph.D.

Jorge Recharte

President: Dr. Recharte graduated from Cornell University with a Ph.D. in anthropology in 1989. He served as the Andes Program Director for The Mountain Institute between 1997 and 2019. Recharte was part of the International Potato Center during 1979-1981 and 1991-1993, and developed FLASCO-Ecuador–a sustainable mountain development program–between 1994 and 1996. Recharte designed the Páramos Program in Ecuador in 1997-98, followed by various proects in Ecuador and Peru. Recharte has been director of three, USAID/The Mountain Institute projects dedicated to climate change challenges in Peru. He has contributed to developing regional, sustainable tourism initiatives in the Cordillera Blanca mountains and the Inca Road since 2003. Recharte is part of an extensive professional and academic network of specialists in ecosystems and mountain societies, both at the national and global level. LINK TO FULL BIO.
Photo of Mirella Gallardo

Mirella Gallardo

Co-director: Gallardo’s undergraduate degree in agricultural engineering is from La Molina National Agrarian University in Peru and her Masters in land and water resources engineering is from Karlsruhe University, Germany. Gallardo has teaching experience at the university level and has worked on international cooperative projects focused on various topics: water resource evaluation, design and implementation of erosion mitigation, irrigation canals and rural roads, community ecotourism projects as an alternative to sustainable forest use, managing and processing alpaca fiber, developing strategies for sustainable biodiversity use, territorial order with regional governments, climate change adaptation projects for managing water, and mountain ecosystem based adaptation.
Photo of Florencia Zapata

Florencia Zapata

Co-director: Zapata is an anthropologist and naturalist, specializing in sustainable management of mountain ecosystems, participatory action-research methodologies and social memory. She has worked for the Instituto de Montaña for over 20 years, collaborating on environmental conservation, climate change adaptation and cultural affirmation projects in the Andes. Her recent work topics include: nature-based solutions with an emphasis on ecosystem-based adaptation, sustainable and participative management of mountain ecosystems and ancestral technologies for water management in the Andes. Zapata is a member of the Association of Latin American Studies (LASA) and the Permanent Seminar on Agrarian Research (SEPIA).
Photo of Vidal Roldán

Vidal Rondán

Co-director: Rondán has his degree in education from the National University Pedro Ruíz Gallo and is pursuing his Masters in Education Planning and Management at the University Santiago Antúnez de Mayolo. He also has a diploma in Identification, Development and Evaluation of Public Investment Projects with a focus on climate risks, gender and development. Since 1995, Rondán has been part of the Instituto de Montaña team. He has been the facilitator of participative processes for social and institutional organizations in the wholistic management of natural resources and integrated conservation and development projects. He has also coordinated projects to train community leaders in conservation and ecotourism in Ancash and the Inca Road-Huancabamba-Piura, Peru. In 2018, he was part of the social technical team for the Scaling up Ecosystem-based Adaptation Project in the Nor Yauyos Cochas Landscape Reserve of Peru.
Photo of Manuel Asencios

Manuel Asencios

Administrator: Asencios is a certified public accountant with a degree from Santiago Antúnez de Mayolo University and a Masters in Social Management from Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and a Masters in Public Administration from San Martín de Porres University. He has more than 15 years experience as administrator of non-profit organizations. Asencios has been responsible for the administration of the Instituto de Montaña since 2001.

Doris Chavez

Photo of Doris Chavez Facilitator, Participative Processes: Chavez is an educator who graduated from the University Alas Peruanas Peru (2005-2009) and from the Eleazar Guzmán Barrón Technological Institute as an agricultural technician. Since 2009 she has taken the lead role in building relationships with the rural communities where Instituto de Montaña works and is immersed in the research process. She has extensive experience in community outreach as part of her work with the Natural Pastures Users Committee, and is a specialist in forest ecosystem conservation, medicinal plants and recovery of conservation units. (PNH-2008-2007-1997.) Chavez has ample experience in the research and production of entomopathogens, knowledge and application of preventive medicine and diagnostic capabilities, treatment and control of animal diseases and pests, and plants as biocontrol. (SENASA 1998-2001 and 2003-2004.)

Yadira Mori

Photo of Yadira Mori Coordinator and Researcher – NbS Peru Project: Mori has a PhD in Economics from the University of Graz (Austria) and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Sciences and in Resource Economics from the University of Bonn (Germany). She has experience in quantitative analysis of the impact of programs and public policies in agriculture, environment and climate change. She has worked for the Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change (Austria) and currently, she works as an independent consultant and professor in the Department of Economics of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP).
Photo of Paloma Rodríguez

Paloma Rodríguez

Communications: Rodríguez earned her Bachelor’s in communications wth a specialty in development from the University of Lima. She is experienced in digital community management, event planning and knowledge management. Rodríguez has a background in logistics and communications for social development projects. She has worked for the Instituto de Montaña since 2018 and is responsible for communications for the Scaling Up Mountain EbA and Punas Agua IV projects.
Photo of Fidel Torres

Fidel Torres

Leader, Innovation and Value Chain Processes: Dr. Fidel Torres has a Ph.D. and Masters in biochemistry, and is a biologist and botanist. He has completed phytochemical and ethnobotanical studies focused on the wild plant species of the páramos and Andean cloud forests of northern Peru. Torres has also conducted research on the physiology of the seed potato in the warm, tropical Andes, in-situ coservation of agrobiodiversity and agrarian innovations to improve competitiveness. He is the principal investigator for the Instituto de Montaña’s projects with the National Program of Agrarian Innovation (PNIA-IdM) from 2016 to 2020: “Ethnobotany and Bioprospecting in the Páramos and Cloud Forests for Innovation” and (2016-2018) “Producing Sexual Seed for Potato Production in the Face of Climate Change.” Torres is the principal investigator for Agrored Norte on the project financed by FONDECYT–CONCTEC: “Native Fruit Trees: Phytochemical richness for biocommerce of páramos and cloud forest species and profitable reforestation.”
Photo of Jaymee Silva

Jaymee Silva

Specialist, Conservation and Biodiversity: Silva studied veterinary medicine and zootechnics at the Peruvian University Cayetano Heredia and later earned a diploma in biodiversity management from the National University of San Marcos. She worked for several years as a veterinarian for various rescue and rehabilitation centers that cared for threatened wildlife species. Silva later discovered her passion for environmental education and sustainable development projects with local communities. She worked several years on projects to establish natural protected areas and on developing eco-enterprises for the benefit of neighboring communities. After completing her Masters in climate change and the environment at the University of Melbourne, Australia, she joined the Instituto de Montaña team as Program Officer for the Scaling Up Mountain EbA global team.
Photo of Daniella Vargas-Machuca

Daniella Vargas-Machuca

Geographer: Vargas-Machuca graduated in geography from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, with studies in wetland ecology and geographic information systems. She is an environmental activist focusing on youth participation in climate policies. Vargas-Machuca’s main work has been on high Andean ecosystems, environmental monitoring systems, teledetection and studies on the management of territories by their rural communities. She has worked in public and private institutions (Instituto de Montaña, Spacedat, UNDP, MINAM, SERNANP.) Vargas-Machuca has experience in mountain ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change, socio-ecological systems, database development and research planning associated with highlands and climate change.

Senior Fellows

Sandra Nichols

Nichols is a cultural geographer dedicated to the environment, cultural patrimony and community welfare. She co-led “The Geography of Alexander von Humboldt: Yesterday and Today” expedition (IdM, 2019) and helped develop photographic exhibitions to call attention to an Andes-Amazonian region of great biological and archeological richness that is currently under great threat. Nichols produced television documentaries for more than 20 years, including the prize-winning documentary, “The Fragile Mountain” filmed in the Nepal Himalayas. She has researched and published on the relationship between environmental degradation and rural migration. Nichols is a member and ex-resident of the Society of Woman Geographers. She grew up in Lima, Peru and holds a Bachelors in anthropology (1967), a Masters in communication, both from Stanford, and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of California, Berkeley (2002).
Photo of Miriam Torres

Miriam Torres

Torres is a forestry specialist with expertise in participatory management of natural protected areas and rural tourism projects managed by local communities. She worked for ProNaturaleza for six years and later was part of the Instituto de Montaña staff for 15 years, serving another five years as a consultant to the Instituto. Torres conducted the IdM projects that were directly related to supporting natural protected areas and rural community tourism. She was also responsible for leading the team based in Huaraz, Peru and the general administration of that office.
Photo of Anais Zimmer

Anaïs Zimmer

Zimmer is a doctoral candidate in the Geography Department at the University of Texas in Austin. She is an agricultural engineer with a degree from the National School of Agronomy of Toulouse, France. Zimmer specializes in the conservation and management of natural resources. In collaboration with the Instituto de Montaña, her research aims to evaluate how the physical, ecological and social processes interact with landscapes at the margin of glaciers and how these factors foster adaptation strategies. After workiing with the French Institute for Development in Bolivia, where she studied plant colonization after glacial retreat, she joined the Instituto de Montaña en 2013. Zimmer was part of the “High Mountain Glacial Basins” program and later became part of the “Securing Mountain Water and Livelihoods” project (2014-2018). She also worked as a consultant on the “Scaling Up Mountain EbA.” (2018-2019).
Photo of Alton Byers

Alton Byers

Byers is a mountain geographer, conservationist and mountain climber specializing in applied research, highland ecosystems, climate change, glaciar risks and integrated conservation and development programs. He received his Bachelors in 1975 and Ph.D. in 1987 from the University of Colorado, Boulder. His doctorate was focused on landscape change, soil erosion and the vegetation dynamics in Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal. Byers joined The Mountain Institute (TMI) in 1990 as an environmental advisor, working as co-manager of the Makalu-Barun National Park. He founded TMI’s Himalayan Program and was the founder/director of TMI’s Andes Program and also served as director of TMI’s Appalachian Program. Byers founded and directed TMI’s Science and Exploration Program. In 2015, he joined the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, as associate researcher and senior docent.
Photo of Gabriela Lopez

Gabriela López

López has her Masters in rural development from the National Center for Agricultural Studies for Tropical Regions (CNEARC), Montpellier, France and is a zootechnic engineer with a Bachelors in science from the National Agrarian University La Molina, Peru. She also was trained in governance for conservation and sustainable management of ecosystems in the United States, Bolivia and Italy. López has significant experience in conservation, rural development, climate change and ecosystem-based adaptation projects plus experience working with NGOs, the public sector and International Cooperation in the participatory management of fragile ecosystems. López also facilitates social processes for conservation and events to train rural and urban facilitators. She has coordinated and managed local and national projects, leading methodological and inter-institutional processes and has contributed to the design and development of participatory methodologies with mountain communities and local governments.
Photo of Gabriel Campbell

Gabriel Campbell

J. Gabriel Campbell was born, raised and worked most of his life in the Himalayas. Campbell received his BA and Masters from Wesleyan University and Ph.D. from Columbia University in Anthropology and Asian Studies; and Executive Management Certificate from Harvard University. International mountain policies, community natural resource management, cultural and biodiversity conservation and knowledge sharing have been the focus of his professional career as a researcher, practitioner, and manager. From 2000 to 2007, Campbell served as Director General of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development. He has been involved with The Mountain Institute since 1975, where he helped establish new national parks around Mt. Everest and Mt. Makalu in Tibet and Nepal and more recently served on the Board.
Photo of Ed Bernbaum

Ed Bernbaum

Bernbaum is a mountaineer, author, and student of comparative religion and mythology whose work focuses on the relationship between culture and the environment. His book “Sacred Mountains of the World” won the Commonwealth Club of California’s gold medal for nonfiction and an Italian prize for literature on mountaineering, exploration, and the environment. At The Mountain Institute (TMI), Bernbaum founded and directed the Sacred Mountains Program, developing interpretive materials with National Parks based on the cultural and spiritual significance of natural features in cultures around the world. He is currently Co-Chair of the IUCN Specialist Group on the Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas (CSVPA). Bernbaum has a Bachelors in mathematics from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in Asian studies from the University of California at Berkeley. He did additional graduate work in social psychology and anthropology at Harvard University.
Photo of Johan Reinhard

Johan Reinhard

Reinhard is was born in Illinois (USA) and began his undergraduate studies at the University of Arizona, before going on to receive his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Vienna (Austria) in 1974. He conducted anthropological research for more than ten years in Nepal, specializing in culture change, sacred landscape, and shamanism, and also directed Nepal Peace Corps Training Projects. Since 1980 he has undertaken historical and archaeological research in the Andes focusing on sacred landscape and high-altitude archaeology. Museums have been built in three Andean countries to exhibit archeological material recovered during his expeditions. He was an Explorer-in- Residence at the National Geographic Society in 1997 and 1999-2008. He is currently a Research Professor at Future Generations University and has been a Senior Fellow of The Mountain Institute since 1992.
Since 1972 The Mountain Institute has partnered with remote mountain communities in the highest, longest and oldest mountains of the world. We work together to conserve ecosystems, develop sustainable livelihoods and protect unique mountain cultures.