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Felipe Montoya-Greenheck

Felipe Montoya-Greenheck


Las Nubes Director
James and Joanne Love Chair in Neotropical Conservation


PhD Cultural Anthropology, University of New Mexico
MSc Tropical Plant Ecology, University of Costa Rica
BSc Biology, University of New Mexico

Research Keywords

Environmental Anthropology; Peasant Livelihoods; Socio-Ecological Well-Being; Biocultural Diversity; Ethnographic & Art-Based Methodologies.

Phillip J. Montoya

Contact Information

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

416 736 2100

Research Interests

I see my teaching fundamentally as facilitating the co-creation of knowledge by providing opportunities for multisensory experiencing of new realities (or old realities in new ways) that challenge previously held truths, and during which, in this confrontation, new insights and new questions may emerge.  I am mostly interested in the relationships between humans and the biosphere, and how these relationships influence and are affected by the different options to power of the diverse agents (human and non-human), their ontologies, or how they live in the world with their social and material practices, their conceptualizations or ideologies and world views, and their narratives and other forms of communication.  In my research I am motivated by the possibility of contributing to improving social-ecological wellbeing that may emerge from these relationships.  I am particularly interested in rural communities whose livelihoods are directly connected to the biosphere, such as indigenous peoples, peasants, farmers, and fisherfolk, who with their intimate connection to the biosphere and their role in food production and procurement, form inseparable links in the web between cities and the expanding urban world, and the environmental transformations upon which humanity and the biosphere depend.  Both in my teaching and research, as in my community engagement, I am interested sharing my conviction that the sustainability and health of rural worlds are fundamental for the sustainability and wellbeing of urban worlds.

Research Projects

“Grounded: A Documentary Series of Voices from Southern Costa Rica” is a series of short documentaries filmed in the Southern Pacific region of Costa Rica, where York University has its Las Nubes EcoCampus and where it hosts its international and experiential Study Abroad Program. The forced confinement provoked by the coronavirus pandemic induced us to find ways to bring the experience provided by the Las Nubes Study Abroad, to students who might not be able to travel to Costa Rica, not only due to the current pandemic confinement, but beyond the current situation, for other reasons, including economic, disability, health, or other impediments.  “Grounded” seeks to gather the voices from the actors on the ground, learn directly from them about their concerns, difficulties, aspirations, achievements and potential.  Its overarching theme are the experiences of people whose livelihoods are substantially linked to the earth and whose interactions with the environment not only reveal the structural elements that constrain the pursuit of social and ecological wellbeing, but also the opportunities that these grounded experiences offer for the construction of alternative ways of living. Dr. Felipe Montoya, FES (PI), Dr. Ana María Martínez, FES and Dr. Julie Hard, Health (Collaborators). Start date: July 1, 2020/End date: June 30, 2025.

"Peasants, Environment and Well-being: Peasant Sustainable Production and Well-being in the Alexander Skutch Biological Corridor (ASBC).” Participatory Action Research in support of the Local Council of the ASBC Strategic Plan. Dr. Felipe Montoya, Center for Anthropological Research, University of Costa Rica (PI). From March 4, 2019 to March 10, 2020.

"The Agrarian Question in Latin America: State of the Question". Bibliographic compilation to establish state of the art. Dr. Felipe Montoya, Center for Anthropological Research, University of Costa Rica (PI). From March 12, 2018 to December 14, 2018.

“Sustainable Tourism Initiative in a Biological Corridor”. Participatory Action Research to establish market linkages in the value chain of tourism offerings in the Alexander Skutch Biological Corridor, Costa Rica. Dr. Felipe Montoya, FES-YorkU (PI), MS. Wafa el Osta (Co-PI), SSHRC Connection Grant. From September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016.

“Building ecological connectivity and human well-being in the Alexander Skutch Biological Corridor, Costa Rica: Scenarios and tools for social-ecological systems.”  Creation of a virtual platform and knowledge mobilization actions to facilitate community access to digital information about the biological corridor. Dr. Martin Bunch, FES-YorkU (PI), Dr. Felipe Montoya, FES-YorkU (Co-PI), IDRC Canadian Partnerships Small Grants. From February 1, 2013 to February 1, 2015.

Research Output

Martínez, Ana María and Montoya-Greenheck, Felipe. (2020). The Socioecological Evolution of a Biological Corridor: A 15-year Case Study of the Alexander Skutch Biological Corridor in Southern Costa Rica, Journal of Rural and Community Development. (Submitted June 8, 2020).

Jiménez, A., Montoya, F., Bolaños, F. and Alvarado, G. (2019). "From incidental findings to systematic discovery: locating and monitoring a new population of the endangered Harlequin Toad." Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13(2) [General Section]: 115-125 (e192).

Montoya Greenheck, Felipe. (2019). Biocultural Diversity and Ngöbe People in the South Pacific of Costa Rica. Chapter 23 in R. Rozzi et al (eds.) From Biocultural Homogenization to Biocultural Conservation, Ecology and Ethics 3, Springer.

Montoya Greenheck, Felipe. (2018). Cultivating Respect: Reviving Forgotten Plant Knowledge in Costa Rica. Langscape Magazine Volume 7, Issue 2, Winter (Northern Hemisphere):10-14.

Montoya Greenheck, Felipe. (2018). Introducción, Capítulo II. Estado del Ambiente Costarricense. En Informe Nacional del Ambiente de Costa Rica. OdD-MINAE, San José, Costa Rica.

Montoya-Greenheck, Felipe. (2015). “Fostering Well-being Through Biocultural Diversity: The Las Nubes Project in a Biological Corridor in Southern Costa Rica” The People's Issue! Part Two. At Home in the World. Langscape Volume 4, Issue 2, Winter 2015: 48-53.

Montoya, Felipe and Ana María Martínez. (2015). Birds of the Alexander Skutch Biological Corridor, Costa Rica. Las Nubes. Faculty of Environmental studies, York University.

Montoya-Greenheck, Felipe. (2014). A Bioculturally-Oriented Methodology for Enhancing Community Wellbeing and Environmental Conservation. In Maffi, Luisa (ed) Biocultural Diversity Toolkit: Vol 5. Biocultural Approaches to Conservation and Development. Terralingua.

Montoya-Greenheck, Felipe. (2014). Engagement in the Alexander Skutch Biological Corridor. Engagement Blog. Anthropology and Environment Society. AAA. February 10, 2014.

Montoya, Felipe. (2016) Inadmissible Nico. Short documentary on Migratory Disability Discrimination in Canada.

Montoya, Felipe and Carlos Drews. (2006). Livelihoods, Community Well-Being, and Species Conservation: A Guide for Understanding, Evaluating and Improving the Links in the Context of Marine Turtle Programs.  WWF Marine and Species Program for Latin America and the Caribbean. San Jose, Costa Rica.

Montoya, Felipe. (1993). "Antropología ambiental: una rama verde," Revista de Ciencias Sociales, n. 62 (December):103-117. San José, Costa Rica: Editorial Universidad de Costa Rica.

Recognition & Awards

  • Fulbright Scholar


Course CodeTitle
ENVS 5081/4810AConservation and Development for Social-Environmental Sustainability and Wellbeing
ENVS 4810AInternational Field Experience: Ecology and Sustainability in Costa Rica
ENVS 4800CPeasant Studies in the Global South: Peasants, Food, and Nature