Across the globe, Indigenous and local communities in rural areas are among the most vulnerable to climate change impacts (e.g., soil degradation, floods, etc.). These environmental changes exacerbate ongoing social and economic issues like food insecurity, forced displacement, and conflict.
Recognizing this, Dr. Hernandez's work prioritizes climate action strategies that center smallholder rights and sustainable rural livelihoods—which are both essential to effective, long-term climate mitigation and adaptation. By advocating for Indigenous communities secure land rights— that are also gender-equal and socially inclusive—we can start recovering the health of our planet and restore our relationship with Earth to one of harmony and respect.
This work directly supports ongoing projects that have an emphasis on advancing sustainable forest management , land use planning, and securing sustainable livelihoods for communities living within or adjacent to forests.
Research Questions include:
How are land and resource tenure regimes likely to change in a world where climate conditions are also changing?
What flexible and politically acceptable approaches to tenure and rights exist? How might these approaches differ for individual versus collective tenure regimes?
What incentive structures and pragmatic approaches can be designed to support sustainable livelihoods and climate mitigation targets at the same time?