Fausto O. Sarmiento, Ph.D., a full professor of Geography at the University of Georgia and internationally recognized leader of montology, directs the Neotropical Montology Collaboratory. He looks into human-environment interactions informed by evidences of landscape transformation and dynamics of land cover/land use change, with critical biogeography, political ecology insights, historical documentation, neoecological field research and modeling for alternative scenarios of sustainability and regenerative development.
Working at the intersection of tropical mountain geographies, he contributes research at the forest transition and other active boundaries, such as the Andean treeline, Andean sustainable development, or the implication of biocultural heritage on Andean sacred sites and indigenous revival. By studying the role of human impacts in shaping the neotropical highlands he is reconstructing ecological theory applicable to Andean farmscape transformation and Andean identity markers in the midst of global environmental change, developing new narratives of mountain sustainability as tropical environments are constructed, represented, claimed and contested. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Belmont Forum, the Smithsonian Institution, the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, the MacArthur Foundation, the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, the Scott Neotropic Fund, the Exposition Foundation and other extramural sources as well as intramural funding from the Willson Center, the Vice President for Research and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute. As a 1994 Fulbrighter to Japan, Dr. Sarmiento was named to the inaugural cohort (1999) of Fulbright Scholar Ambassadors. At UGA, he is a Senior Research Fellow of the Willson Center for Arts and Humanities and member of the Teaching Academy. He is a Senior Teaching Fellow, Senior Writing Fellow, Aspire Fellow, and is Inaugural Fellow of Reacting-to-the-Past pedagogy to offer historicity insights into science learning on climate change. In addition, for his innovating teaching of mountains, he is SCL Fellow of the Special Collections Library at UGA.
Dr. Sarmiento has been involved in cultural landscape conservation in the Tropical Andes. He was Regional Editor for Latin America for the journal Mountain Research and Development, and is Editorial Board member of the Annals of the AAG (USA), Pirineos, the Journal of Mountain Ecology (Spain), the Journal of Mountain Science (China), the Journal of High Andean Research (Peru), and the journal Parks of the World Commission on Protected Areas of IUCN (Switzerland). He is the author of some 15 books, 47 book chapters, 51 journal articles and other non academic works. He is Board Member of the International Program of the Satoyama Initiative of the United Nations University (UNU) Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS). He was steering member of the Commission on Mountain Responses to Climate Change of the International Geographic Union (IGU) and former president of the Andean Mountains Association (AMA). He was Chair of the International Research and Scholarly Exchange Committee and former Chair of the Mountain Geography Specialty Group (MGSG) at the Association of American Geographers (AAG), that recognized him with the 2019 Barry Bishop Career Award. Currently, he is part of the Latin American and Caribbean Mountains Research Network (LACMONT); Chair of the Commission of Mountain Studies of the International Geographical Union (IGU); deputy Vice Chair of the Mountain Specialty Group of WCPA, and member of the Protected Landscape Specialist Group at IUCN; in addition, he is part of the International working group on socioecological landscape transformation of Chile, and collaborates with the Pan American Institute of Geographic Research and Studies (CEPEIGE) for mountain science outreach.
He has been keynote speaker in numerous international congresses and academic events. When not in the field, in the classroom, or in commission elsewhere, he enjoys gardening, reading, listening to folk and classical music, and volunteering in the Latino community.