Heidi Karst

PhD, University of Waterloo

Email: hkarst@uwaterloo.ca

I am an environmental social scientist and consultant in the field of sustainability, with an interest in adopting interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and improving conservation, wellbeing and governance of natural resources. My doctoral research examined how development projects (e.g., ecotourism) enhanced and constrained social-ecological sustainability and wellbeing in local and indigenous communities and forests in protected areas of Bhutan. This work drew upon multiple perspectives, including biodiversity conservation, development studies (buen vivir, social wellbeing), and social-ecological systems. Prior to my doctoral studies, I collaborated with communities and institutions locally and internationally on projects and programs in environmental conservation, human rights education and development. I currently conduct research as a Divisional Program Specialist for the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. Through my experiences in academia, civil society, private and public sectors, I have become particularly interested in integrating scientific knowledge, policy development and practice to promote evidence-based problem solving and decision making.