Forestry master’s student Elizabeth Moore of Charlottesville, Va., spent last summer in the Adamaoua Province of Cameroon in Western Africa to complete field research and explore the potential for agroforestry opportunities in the area.

For three months, Moore interacted with local Cameroonians and refugees from the neighboring Central African Republic. Her focus was on improving food security and resource sustainability in the region by helping aid agencies such as the International Medical Corps to successfully integrate trees into gardening and farming systems in areas where refugee populations have increased dramatically.

Moore conducted interviews and focus groups with the Cameroonians and refugees to determine their agroforestry technique preferences and better understand the social arrangements of the villages. By recognizing the differences between the various cultures in the area, she was able to provide the villagers with agroforestry techniques catered to their needs.

As a result of Moore’s hard work, she received the Outstanding Young Scientist Award at the 2012 International Union of Forestry Research Organizations’ Small-Scale Forestry Working Group Conference in Amherst, Mass. The award is given to one conference attendee under the age
of 35 who demonstrates exceptional promise as a scientist; competitors include academic faculty, research scientists, and other graduate students.

“Elizabeth’s work in Cameroon is impressive not only for its nature, but also for its rigor,” said Associate Professor John Munsell, Moore’s advisor. “She worked very hard to organize and conduct a scientific program in a humanitarian setting. Her approach will benefit both people and science.”

Moore, whose focus is on human dimensions in natural resources, is particularly interested in collaboration between different groups of people and hopes to work in the field of community development and sustainable agriculture after completing her graduate studies.