Tropical Forest Pest Control Specialist

Before You Apply

Peace Corps Response positions are open to returned Volunteers or U.S. citizens with significant professional and technical experience.

Project Description

A Peace Corps Response Volunteer (PCRV) is needed to serve as a Tropical Forest Pest Control Specialist for Comisión Nacional Forestal (CONAFOR) in Campeche state, Mexico. In 2016 the National Forestry Commission created the Forest Research and Technology Transfer Center “El Tormento." Its purpose is to strengthen the forestry sector and to safeguard Mexico’s humid tropical genetic resources. In its more than 1,400 hectares the center has infrastructure and demonstrative areas representing the wealth of forest resources in the jungles of Mexico. There is a botanical garden and arboretum in which 68 timber forest species are located, an orchid garden with 25 different species of orchids from the region, two birds and tropical jungle observation towers, 30 permanent plots for forest research, and plantation areas of tropical forest. As part of its conservation and management plan, the center has in place a Central Jungles Forest Health Program. Through systematic sampling, the center has detected the presence of diseases and secondary pests in the more than 1,000 hectares of medium-sized sub-perennial forests, as well as in low rainforests, temporarily flooded, on soils designated by the Mayan classification as "akalchés,” and in 400 hectares of forest plantations (mahogany, cedar, melina, teak, ciricote and others species) planted mainly under the Taungya system for experimental purposes. CONAFOR is in need of help to identify the diseases and pests affecting the vegetation and conduct training on adequate pest control methods for this particular area.

A Tropical Forest Pest Control Specialist , with a relevant degree and at least 10 years’ professional experience (including a minimum of 3 years of experience in forest phytopathology), is needed to join a team of biologists, forest engineers, and researchers working at the center. He/she will collect samples of causal agents of forest diseases and pests, identify possible entomopathogenic organisms to control populations, and contribute to the taxonomic identification of the phytopathological or entomological agents that cause damage. The PCRV will also Identify and/or establish the biological cycle or the sexual stages of the pest insects and pathogen fungi, Identify and make a selection of resistant trees or trees with a high degree of resistance to the causal agents, and identify training need to design and facilitate workshops on such topics as pest control methods, best practices in sample collection, and silvicultural management. The goal of this assignment is to build the capacity of the researchers and community members to best combat and control pests and diseases while still supporting and encouraging the fauna and micro-fauna.

Please note these are approximate departure dates and might change. Final invitation decisions will be made by early June.

Volunteer safety is of paramount importance, and the protections of U.S. citizenship promote volunteer safety. Under Mexican law, anyone born in Mexico who became a U.S. citizen after 1998 or anyone holding dual U.S. and Mexican citizenship is considered a citizen of Mexico, and not of the United States. If such an individual faced a legal, safety or other emergency situation in Mexico, the Peace Corps' ability to intervene could be limited. Therefore, the PC will not place in Mexico individuals who are either dual citizens of Mexico and the U.S. or who were born in Mexico and became U.S. citizens after 1998. If you fit either of these categories, we encourage you to look at other opportunities with PC Response.

Partner Information

Comisión Nacional Forestal (CONAFOR)

Required Skills

• A Bachelors degree in biology, forestry, natural resources management, or related field with at least 10 years of professional experience, or a higher degree with at least 5 years of professional experience
• At least 3 years of experience in forest phytopathology
• Basic knowledge of forest entomology, preferably the Mexican humid tropic ecosystems or equivalent.
• Basic Spanish language and/or the willingness and ability to engage in self-directed learning to improve Spanish language communication skills.
• Flexibility, adaptability, and professionalism given a new work environment in a new culture and within the context of the rules, regulations, and core expectations of the Peace Corps.
• Initiative, resourcefulness, and the ability to work on a team with potentially limited resources and limited supervision.
• Willingness to learn about and integrate/adapt into the Mexican culture.
• Ability to be receptive to the advice and guidance from local people regarding potential risks involved working in the forest (poisonous plants, insects, animals) maintaining an attitude of conservation.

The Peace Corps embraces and leverages the diversity of its volunteers as a reflection of America's diversity. Peace Corps Response is committed to reflecting the diversity of the United States in the professionals we send into the field to support the mission of world peace and friendship. Applicants with diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Medical Considerations in Mexico

  • Mexico may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: Adderall.
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified.
  • After arrival in Mexico, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot and to receive mandatory immunizations.

Before you apply, please also review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.

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