Adriana Molina Garzón


“Scientific research is crucial to understand governance as an intricate dynamic between several actors including NGOs and civil society representing the voices of communities living in forested areas.”


Adriana Molina Garzón is originally from Colombia, where she finished her undergraduate degree in business and her Master’s degree in economics. There she had the opportunity to engage in fieldwork learning from rural communities about their relationship with their environment and the challenges faced by rural poverty. Deeply caring for the environment and the need to protect it while seeking solutions for the communities depending on it, Adriana worked for think tanks, consultancy companies and later moved to the US to work on the evaluation of climate change and environmental policies in the Latin American and Caribbean regions. Now finishing her PhD in Public Policy in Colorado, she continues her passion for the development of policy solutions to protect our world’s natural resources while caring for the livelihood of vulnerable peoples in rural areas. When she is not working hard and thinking about solutions to deforestation, she dedicates her time to oil painting.


Adriana is interested in studying the relationship between human communities and natural resources governance, particularly the management of forests in developing South American countries where many marginalized communities depend on the resources from forests. She is interested in advancing knowledge on policy making as a network of involved actors where non-governmental organizations play a significant role and influence both government actions and communities’ attitudes towards governments.

Adriana focuses her attention on investigating the role that NGOs play in the governance process, especially at the subnational level, contributing to the design and implementation of policies that affect forests and the communities living in them. She concentrates on the case of the Amazon region and the efforts being implemented to execute forest governance interventions there. In some cases, NGOs have worked alongside local governments to implement REDD+-oriented programs to improve the livelihood of communities while still protecting forests. Her research seeks to answer remaining questions regarding the governance dynamic between these different actors. How effective have the interventions executed by local NGOs been? What role does NGO’s governance assistance play in the eyes of local communities and if/how has that influence affected their likelihood of compliance with regulatory policies? Do NGOs facilitate or hinder the cooperation within local policy networks? Answering these questions and recognizing that interventions happen as a result of the collective efforts of several actors at the local level is of high relevance to the governance of forests across the globe today.

Adriana does fieldwork discussing the community’s characteristics and challenges with a local leader in Mato Grosso, Brazil.
Adriana does fieldwork discussing the community’s characteristics and challenges with a local leader in Mato Grosso, Brazil.