What I teach


My Research Interests


Current Research Projects




Research Papers


My Students



Dr. Oliver T. Coomes

Department of Geography
McGill University,
805 Sherbrooke Street West,
Montreal, QC H3A 0B9


Research Papers

Each published paper below is linked through the tile to the journal’s online posting of the article. The copyright for published papers in most cases is held by the publisher and to view an article, you may need a subscription to the journal or publisher journal bundle (e.g., Science Direct or Springerlink).  If you are unable to access a paper of interest and wish to receive a reprint, please email me and I will be glad to send you a copy. 


Coomes, O.T., Y. Takasaki and J. Rhemtulla. 2017. “What fate for swidden agriculture under land constraint in tropical forests? Lessons from a long-term study in an Amazonian peasant community”, Journal of Rural Studies 54: 39-51

Holmes, L.I., C. Potvin and O.T. Coomes. 2017. “Early REDD+ implementation: The journey of an indigenous community in eastern Panama”, Forests 8, 67. doi:10.3390/f8030067

Coomes, O.T., T.M. Moore and S. Breau. 2017. “The price of journals in Geography”, The Professional Geographer 69(2): 251-262

Coomes, O.T. and B.C. Miltner. 2017. “Indigenous charcoal and biochar production: potential for soil improvement under shifting cultivation systems”, Land Degradation and Development 28: 811-821

List, G. and O.T. Coomes. 2017. “Natural hazards and risk in rice cultivation along the upper Amazon riverNatural Hazards 87(1), 165-184

Abizaid, C., O.T. Coomes, Y. Takasaki, and J. P. Arroyo-Mora. 2017. “Rural social networks along Amazonian rivers: seeds, labor and soccer among rural communities on the Napo River, Peru”, The Geographical Review 108(1): 92-119

Webb, J., O.T. Coomes, D. Mergler and N.A. Ross. 2017. “Levels of 1-Hydroxpyrene in urine of people living in an oil producing region of the Andean Amazon (Ecuador and Peru)”, International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health doi: 10.1007/s00420-017-1258-3

Wood, S., J. Rhemtulla and O.T. Coomes. 2017. “Cropping history trumps fallow duration in long-term soil and vegetation dynamic in shifting cultivation systems of the Peruvian Amazon”, Ecological Applications 27(2): 519-531

Abizaid, C., O.T. Coomes and Perrault-Archambault. 2016. “Seed sharing in Amazonian indigenous rain forest communities: A social network analysis in three Achuar villages, Peru”, Human Ecology 44(5): 577-594.

Coomes, O.T., Y. Takasaki and J.M. Rhemtulla. 2016. “Forests as landscapes of social inequality: tropical forest cover and land distribution among shifting cultivators”, Ecology and Society 21(3):20.

Coomes, O.T., Y. Takasaki, C. Abizaid, and J.P. Arroyo-Mora. 2016. “Environmental and market determinants of economic orientation among rain forest communities: evidence from a large-scale survey in western Amazonia”, Ecological Economics 129: 260-271.

Holland, T. and O.T. Coomes. 2016. “Evolving frontier land markets and the opportunity cost of sparing forests in western AmazoniaLand Use Policy 58: 456-471.

Coomes, O.T., M. Lapointe, M. Templeton and G. List. 2016. “Amazon river flow regime and flood recessional agriculture: Flood stage reversals and risk of annual crop loss”, Journal of Hydrology 539: 214-222.

Ramankutty, N. and O.T. Coomes. 2016. “Land use regime shifts: an analytical framework and agenda for future land use research”, Ecology and Society 21(2): 1.

Webb, J., O.T. Coomes, N. Ross, and D. Mergler. 2016. “Mercury concentrations in urine of Amerindian populations near oil fields in the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Amazon”, Environmental Research 151: 344-350.

Wood, S.L.R., J.M. Rhemtulla and O.T. Coomes. 2016. “Intensification of tropical fallow-based agriculture: trading-off ecosystem services for economic gain in shifting cultivation landscapes?”, Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 215: 47-56. 

Moore, T.M. and O.T. Coomes. 2016. “Publishing journal articles in Canadian geography”, The Canadian Geographer DOI: 10.1111/cag.12252.

Webster, K., J.P. Arroyo-Mora, O.T. Coomes, Y. Takasaki and C. Abizaid. 2016. “A cost path and network analysis methodology to calculate distances along a complex river network in the Peruvian Amazon”, Journal of Applied Geography 73: 13-25.

Thomas, M., N. Verzelen, P. Barbillon, O.T. Coomes, S. Caillon, D. McKey, M. Elias, E. Garine, C. Raimond, D. Jarvis, J. Wencelius, C. Leclerc, V. Labeyrie, P. Hung Cuong, Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hue, H. Sthapit, R. Bahadur Rana, A. Barnaud, C. Violin, L.M. Arias Reyes, L. Latournerie Moreno, P. De Santis and F. Massol. 2015 “A network-based method to detect patterns of local crop biodiversity: validation at the species and infra-species levels”, Advances in Ecological Research 53: 259-320.

Coomes, O.T., S.J. McGuire, E. Garine, S. Caillon, D. McKey, E. Demeulenaere, D. Jarvis, G. Aistara, A. Barnaud, P. Clouvel, L. Emperaire, S. Louafi, P. Martin, F. Massol, M. Pautasso, C. Violon, J. Jean Wencélius. 2015. “Farmer seed networks make a limited contribution to agriculture? Four common misconceptions”, Food Policy 56: 41-50.

Webb, J., O.T. Coomes, N. Mainville and D. Mergler. 2015. “Mercury contamination of fish from rivers affected by oil extraction and deforestation in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon”, Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 95: 279-285.

Abizaid, C., O.T. Coomes, Y. Takasaki and S. Brisson. 2015. “Social network analysis and peasant agriculture: cooperative labor as gendered relational networks”, The Professional Geographer 67(3): 447-463.

Miltner, B.C. and O.T. Coomes. 2015. “Indigenous innovation incorporates biochar into swidden-fallow agroforestry systems: charcoal kiln site agriculture in the Peruvian Amazon”, Agroforestry Systems 89(3): 409-420.

Takasaki, Y., O.T. Coomes, C. Abizaid, S. Brisson. 2014. “An efficient nonmarket institution under imperfect markets: labor sharing for tropical forest clearing”, American Journal of Agricultural Economics 96(3):711-732.

Coomes, O.T., T.R. Moore, J. Paterson, S. Breau, N.A. Ross and N.T. Roulet. 2013. “Academic performance indicators for departments of geography in the U.S. and Canada”, The Professional Geographer. 65(3):433-450.

Pautasso, M., Aistara, G., Barnaud,A., Caillon, S.,Clouvel, P., Coomes, O.T., Delêtre, M., Demeulenaere, E., De Santis, P., Döring, T., Eloy, L., Emperaire, L., Garine, E., Goldringer, I., Jarvis, D., Joly, H.I., Leclerc, C., Louafi, S., Martin, P., Massol, F., McGuire, S., McKey, D., Padoch, C., Soler, C., Thomas, M. and Tramontini, S. 2012. “Seed exchange networks for agrobiodiversity conservation. A review”, Agronomy for Sustainable Development. 33(1): 151-175.  

Caillon, S. and O.T. Coomes. 2012. “Agriculture traditionnelle et fleurs coupées: un mariage réussi en Amazonie”, Journal des Anthropologues 128-129: 85-113.

Salonen, M., T. Toivonen, J-M Cohalan and O.T. Coomes. 2012. “Critical distances: comparing measures of spatial accessibility in the riverine landscapes of Peruvian Amazonia”, Applied Geography 32(2): 501-513. 

Coomes, O.T., Y. Takasaki and J. Rhemtulla. 2011. “Land-use poverty traps identified in shifting cultivation systems shape long-term tropical forest cover”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108(34): 13925-13930.

McSweeney, K. and O. T. Coomes. 2011. “Climate-related disaster opens a window of opportunity for rural poor in northeastern Honduras”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108 (13): 5203-5208. 

Coomes, O.T., Y. Takasaki, C.Abizaid and B.L. Barham 2010. “Flood plain fisheries as natural insurance for the rural poor in tropical forest environments: evidence from Amazonia”, Fisheries Management and Ecology 17(6): 513-521.

Coomes, O.T. 2010. “Of stakes, stems and cuttings: the importance of local seed systems in traditional Amazonian societies”, The Professional Geographer 62(3): 323-334.

Barona, E., N. Ramankutty, G. Hyman and O.T. Coomes. 2010. “The role of pasture and soybean in deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon”, Environmental Research Letters 5(2): article. no. 024002.

Maheu-Giroux, M.,Casapia, V.E. Soto-Calle, L. Berrang Ford, D.L. Buckeridge, O.T. Coomes and T.W. Gyorkos. 2010. “Risk of malaria transmission from fish ponds in the Peruvian Amazon”, Acta Tropica 115(1-2): 112-118.

Takasaki, Y., B.L. Barham and O.T. Coomes. 2010. “Smoothing income against crop flood losses in Amazonia: rain forests or rivers as a safety net?”, Review of Development Economics 14(1): 48-63.

Barrett, C.B., A. Agrawal, O.T. Coomes and J-P. Platteau. 2009. STRIPE Review of the Social Sciences in the CGIAR. Science Council, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, Rome, Italy, 75 pp.

Coomes, O.T., C. Abizaid and M. Lapointe. 2009. “Human modification of a large meandering Amazonian river: genesis, ecological and economic consequences of the Masisea cutoff on the central Ucayali, Peru”, Ambio 38(3): 130-134.  

Manzi, M. and O.T. Coomes 2009. “Managing Amazonian palms for community use: a case of aguaje palm (Mauritia flexuosa) in Peru”, Forest Ecology and Management 257(2): 510-517.

Coomes, O.T., F. Grimard, C. Potvin and P. Sima. 2008. “The fate of the tropical forest: carbon or cattle?”, Ecological Economics 65(2): 207-212.

Moreau, M.A. and O.T. Coomes. 2008. “Structure and organisation of a small-scale fisheries: aquarium fish collection in western Amazonia”, Human Ecology 36(3): 309-323.  

Perrault-Archambault, M. and O.T. Coomes. 2008. “Distribution of agrobiodiversity in home gardens along the Corrientes river, Peruvian Amazon”, Economic Botany 62(2): 109-126.

Potvin, C., O.T. Coomes and F. Grimard. 2007. “Will RED work where it should?”, Science (E-letter)

Tschakert, P., O.T. Coomes and C. Potvin. 2007. “Indigenous livelihoods, slash-and-burn agriculture, and carbon stocks in Eastern Panama”, Ecological Economics 60: 807-820. 

Moreau, M.A. and O.T. Coomes. 2007. “Aquarium fish exploitation in western Amazonia: conservation issues in Peru”, Environmental Conservation 34(1): 12-22.

Moreau, M.A. and O.T. Coomes. 2006. “Potential threat of the international aquarium fish trade to silver arawana (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum) in the Peruvian Amazon”, Oryx 40(2): 1-9.

Coomes, O.T. 2006. “Biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation: a comment for discussion”, Proceedings of the International Conference on Biodiversity, Science and Governance, Paris, January 24-25, 2005, 3 pp.

Chhabra, A., H. Geist, R.A. Houghton, H. Haberl, A.K. Braimoh, P.L.G. Vlek, J. Patz, J. Xu, N. Ramankutty, O. Coomes and E. F. Lambin. 2006. “Multiple impacts of land-use/cover change”. In: Land-use and Land-Cover Change: Local Processes and
Global Impacts. E.F. Lambin and H.J. Geist (eds), Global Change - The IGBP Series, Springer, Berlin, pp. 71-116.

Rudel,T.K., O.T. Coomes, E. Moran, F. Achard, A. Angelsen, J. Xu, and E. Lambin. 2005. “Forest transitions: towards a global understanding of land use change”, Global Environmental Change 15: 23-31.

Barham, B.L. and O.T. Coomes. 2005. “Sunk costs, extractive industries, and development outcomes”. In: Nature, Raw Materials and Political Economy. D. Smith and P. Ciccantell (eds.) Elsevier Ltd (Oxford) pp.159-186.

Ban, N. and O.T. Coomes. 2004. “Home gardens in Amazonian Peru: diversity and exchange of planting material”, The Geographical Review 94(3): 348-367.

Coomes, O.T. 2004. “Rain forest 'conservation-through-use'? Chambira palm fibre extraction and handicraft production in a land-constrained community, Peruvian Amazon”, Biodiversity and Conservation 13(2): 351-360. 

Abizaid, C. and O.T. Coomes. 2004. “Land use and forest fallowing dynamics in seasonally dry tropical forest in the southern Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico”, Land Use Policy 21(1): 71-84.

Takasaki , Y., B.L. Barham and O.T. Coomes. 2004. “Risk coping strategies in tropical forests: floods, illness, and resource extraction”, Environment and Development Economics 9(2): 203-224. 

Coomes, O.T. 2004. “Paleoriverine features of the Amazon lowlands: human use of the ' arena negra' soils of Lake Charo, Northeastern Peru”, In: Explorations in Amazonian Dark Earths. B.Glaser and W.I. Woods(eds.) Springer Verlag, Heidleberg, pp.53-65.
Coomes, O.T., B.L. Barham and Y. Takasaki. 2004. “Targeting conservation-development initiatives in tropical forests: insights from analyses of rain forest use and economic reliance among Amazonian peasants”, Ecological Economics 51(1&2): 47-64.

Coomes, O.T. and N. Ban. 2004. “Cultivated plant diversity in home gardens of an Amazonian peasant village in northeastern Peru”, Economic Botany 58(3): 420-434.

Manzi, M. and O.T. Coomes. 2003. “Cormorant fishing in southwest China: a traditional fishery under siege”, The Geographical Review 92(4): 597-603.     

Coomes, O.T. 2003. Brookfield, H. 2001. “Exploring agrodiversity”. Columbia University Press, New York, USA, Conservation Ecology 7(1): 4 [on line] 

Coomes, O.T. and G.J. Burt. 2001. “Peasant charcoal production in the Peruvian Amazon: rain forest use and economic reliance”, Forest Ecology and Management 140: 39-50.

Takasaki, Y., B.L. Barham and O.T. Coomes. 2001. “Amazonian peasants, rain forest use, and income generation: the role of wealth and geographical factors”, Society and Natural Resources 14(4): 291-308. 

Lambin, E.F., B.L. Turner II, H.J. Geist, S.B. Agbola, A. Angelsen, J.W. Bruce, O.T. Coomes et al.. 2001. “The causes of land-use and land-cover change: moving beyond the myths”, Global Environmental Change 11: 47-59.

Coomes, O.T. and B.L. Barham. 2001. “La extracción forestal y conservación del bosque humedo en la Amazonía”, In: Desarrollo Sostenible en la Amazonía: ¿Mito o Realidad? M. Hiraoka and S. Mora (eds). Editorial Abya-Yala, Quito, pp. 47-59.

Coomes, O.T., F.Grimard, and G.J. Burt, 2000. “Tropical forests and shifting cultivation: secondary forest fallow dynamics among traditional farmers of the Peruvian Amazon”, Ecological Economics 32(1): 109-124.

Takasaki, Y., B.L. Barham and O.T. Coomes. 2000. “Rural rapid appraisal in humid tropical forests: an asset possession-based approach and validation methods for wealth assessment among forest peasant households”, World Development 28(11): 1961-1977.  

Takasaki, Y., B.L. Barham and O.T. Coomes. 2000."Dynamic analysis of wealth accumulation and activity choice among Amazonian peasants". Staff Paper No.434, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Barham, B.L., O.T. Coomes and Y. Takasaki, 1999. “Rain forest livelihoods: income generation, household wealth and forest use”, Unasylva 50(198): 34-42 Español PDF

Coomes, O.T. 1998. “Traditional peasant agriculture along a blackwater river of the Peruvian Amazon”, Revista Geográfica (No. 124:33-35).

Barham, B.L., J-P. Chavas, and O.T. Coomes. 1998. “Sunk costs and the natural resource extraction sector: Analytical models and historical examples of hysteresis and strategic behavior in the Americas”, Land Economics 74(4): 429-448.

Coomes, O.T., B.L. Barham, K. Chanthaboune, and Y. Takasaki. 1998. "Household demographics and natural resource use in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, northeastern Peruvian Amazon". Paper presented on September 24th to the XXI International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Chicago, IL., USA.

Coomes, O.T. and B.L. Barham. 1997. “Rain forest extraction and conservation in Amazonia”, The Geographical Journal 163(2): 180-188.  

Coomes, O.T. and G.J. Burt. 1997. “Indigenous market-oriented agroforestry: dissecting local diversity in western Amazonia”, Agroforestry Systems 37(1): 27-44. 

Coomes, O.T., B.L. Barham and B. Craig. 1996. “Uso de recursos por los ribereños en la Reserva Nacional Pacaya-Samiria: Datos de una encuesta reciente e implicaciones para el manejo del area protegida”, Espacio y Desarrollo no. 8 (Centro de Investigacion en Geografia Aplicada, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, Lima), pp. 5-32.

Coomes, O.T., B.L. Barham, and B. Craig, 1996. “Resource extraction and the forest peasant household: Results of analyses of IIAP data from the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve”. Working Paper prepared for The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA., 38 pp.

Coomes, O.T. 1996. “State credit programs and the peasantry under populist regimes: lessons from the APRA experience in the Peruvian Amazon”, World Development 24(8): 1333-1346.

Coomes, O.T. 1996. “Income formation among Amazonian peasant households in northeastern Peru: empirical observations & implications for market-oriented conservation”, Yearbook, Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers 22: 51-64.

Coomes, O.T. 1995. “A century of rain forest use in western Amazonia: lessons for extraction-based conservation of tropical forest resources”, Forest and Conservation History 39(3): 108-120.

Coomes, O.T., 1995. “From blackwater to whitewater river: initial observations on peasant livelihood responses to fluvio-geomorphological change in western Amazonia”. Presented on February 10 to The Centre for Society, Technology, and Development, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Barham, B., O. Coomes, B. Craig and P. Tarasoff, 1995. “Wealth and the forest peasant household: evidence from the Tahuayo and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve”. Working Paper prepared for The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA., 26 pp.

Coomes, O.T., 1994. “Ayudando a los campesinos? Populismo agrario en la Amazonia Peruana: lecciones aprendidas”, In: Biodiversidad y Desarrollo Sostenible de la Amazonia en una Economía de Mercado. José, M. Toledo (ed.), Proceedings of Seminar - Workshop held at Pucallpa, Peru, October 11-15, 1994, Lima, pp.139-153.

Barham, B.L. and O.T. Coomes, 1994. “Wild rubber: industrial organisation and microeconomics of extraction during the Amazon rubber boom (1860-1920)”, Journal of Latin American Studies 29(1): 37-72.  

Coomes, O.T. and B.L. Barham, 1994. “The Amazon rubber boom: labor control, resistance, and failed plantation development revisited”, Hispanic American Historical Review 72(2): 231-257. 

Barham, B.L. and O.T. Coomes, 1994. “Reinterpreting the Amazon rubber boom: investment, the state and Dutch disease”, Latin American Research Review 29(2): 73-109.

Coomes, O.T., 1992. “Blackwater rivers, adaptation, and environmental heterogeneity in Amazonia”, American Anthropologist 94(3): 698-700.

Coomes, O.T., 1992. Making a Living in the Amazon Rain Forest: Peasants, Land and Economy in the Tahuayo River Basin of Northeastern Peru. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 450 pp.

Contact Information

Department of Geography

McGill University

805 Sherbrooke Street West

Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 0B9

phone: (514) 398-4111 fax: (514) 398-7437

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Last updated January 19, 2018