Paula Ungar

Membership:  2016-2017

Member Bio

Since studying biology, Paula has been interested in the relationship between different values, narratives, and forms of knowledge around biodiversity conservation in Colombia—an area she has investigated both as a practitioner and from a scholarly perspective. Between 2003 and 2010, she worked with National Natural Parks of Colombia and NGOs closely related to Parks, particularly in the Colombian Amazon region. She completed her PhD thesis in 2012, a critical reflection on her experience with protected areas, in which she analyzed how scientific knowledge and managerial protocols were disputed and resignified in an intercultural Amazonian National Park. From 2012 to 2016, Paula worked at the Humboldt Institute, the national institute responsible for research on biodiversity in Colombia. There, she coordinated an interdisciplinary team tasked with research on "delimiting strategic ecosystems" in response to the public policy agenda. They published recommendations for the governance of páramos in Colombia based on the main findings of their research on biodiversity, environmental history, actors, ecosystem services, and production systems in 21 páramos. Paula is the editor of Hojas de Ruta, a collection of methodological guidelines that invites practitioners to carry out integrative research and recount significant stories about upper mountain ecosystems.


  • “De buenas intenciones está empedrado el camino… Reflexiones a propósito de la delimitación de los páramos de Colombia.” Revista Ecologia Política 46 (2014).
  • Ungar, Paula, ed. Hojas de ruta. Guías para el estudio socioecológico de la alta montaña en Colombia. Bogotá: Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, 2015.
  • with A. Osejo, L. Roldán, E. Buitrago. “Caracterización del sistema social asociado al territorio.” En Aportes a la delimitación del páramo mediante la identificación de los límites inferiores del ecosistema a escala 1:25.000 y análisis del sistema social asociado al territorio: Complejo de Páramos Jurisdicciones – Santurbán – Berlín Departamentos de Santander y Norte de Santander, eds. C. Sarmiento y P. Ungar, 54–68. Bogotá: Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, 2014.
  • with R. Strand. “Inclusive Protected Area Management in the Amazon: The Importance of Social Networks over Ecological Knowledge.” Sustainability 4 (2012): 3260–78.