Michael Gilmore

Michael Gilmore

Michael Gilmore

Associate Professor

Ethnobiology, community-based conservation, biocultural diversity, sustainable development

Dr. Gilmore joined the faculty of the School of Integrative Studies (formerly New Century College) in 2008 where he is passionate about using an interdisciplinary approach to both research and teaching. Dr. Gilmore has worked extensively with the Maijuna and other indigenous groups of the Peruvian Amazon.  He helped the Maijuna establish an indigenous federation in 2004 and has worked with them on community-based biocultural conservation projects since 1999.  Current projects include helping the Maijuna push for the establishment of a protected area that is 391,000 hectares (22% larger than Yosemite National Park).  This area would formally and legally protect the ancestral homeland and biocultural resources of the Maijuna for future generations.  He is also conducting research on the economically, ecologically, and culturally important palm Mauritia flexuosa in Maijuna lands and throughout the Peruvian Amazon.  Additionally, he is working with a group of George Mason University faculty and students on developing community-based solutions to drinking water and sanitation challenges that the Maijuna are currently experiencing in their communities.  Dr. Gilmore collaborates with a wide variety of organizations including the Field Museum of Chicago, San Diego Zoo, Nature and Cultural International, and the Rainforest Conservation Fund, among others.  

Dr. Gilmore is an affiliate faculty member of both Environmental Science & Policy and the Latin American Studies Program at George Mason University.  He also holds a Research Collaborator position at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, and is on the Ethics Committee of the Society for Economic Botany.  Additionally, he serves on the board of directors of two non-governmental organizations focused on the conservation and sustainable use of the Amazon basin and is the technical advisor to the Maijuna indigenous federation (Federación de Comunidades Nativas Maijuna).

Current Research

The Maijuna Biocultural Conservation Project

Management and Sustainable Use of Mauritia flexuosa in Maijuna Ancestral Territory

Regional Assessment of Mauritia flexuosa Fruit Harvest in the Peruvian Amazon

Selected Publications

O'Bryhim, J. R., E. C. M. Parsons, M. P. Gilmore, and S. L. Lance.  2016.  Evaluating support for shark conservation among artisanal fishing communities in Costa Rica.  Marine Policy 71: 1-9.

Chen, C., and M. P. Gilmore.  2015.  Biocultural rights: a new paradigm for protecting natural and cultural resources of indigenous communities.  The International Indigenous Policy Journal 6(3): 1-19.

Young, J. C., and M. P. Gilmore.  2014.  Subaltern empowerment in the geoweb: tensions between publicity and privacy. Antipode 46(2): 574-591. 

Gilmore, M. P., B. A. Endress, and C. M. Horn.  2013.  The socio-cultural importance of Mauritia flexuosa palm swamps (aguajales) and implications for multi-use management in two Maijuna communities of the Peruvian Amazon.  Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 9: 1-23.

Endress, B. A., C. M. Horn, and M. P. Gilmore.  2013.  Mauritia flexuosa palm swamps: composition, structure and implications for conservation and management.  Forest Ecology and Management 302: 346-353.

Young, J. C., and M. P. Gilmore.  2013.  The spatial politics of affect and emotion in participatory GIS.  Annals of the Association of American Geographers 103(4): 808-823.

Gilmore, M. P., and J. C. Young.  2012.  The use of participatory mapping in ethnobiological research, biocultural conservation, and community empowerment – a case study from the Peruvian Amazon.  Journal of Ethnobiology 32(1): 6-29.

Horn, C., Gilmore, M. P., and B. A. Endress.  2012.  Ecological and socioeconomic factors influencing aguaje (Mauritia flexuosa) resource management in two indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon.  Forest Ecology and Management 267: 93-103.

Expanded Publication List

Gilmore, M. P., and W. H. Eshbaugh.  2011.  From researcher to partner: ethical challenges and issues facing the ethnobiological researcher.  In: E. N. Anderson, E. S. Hunn, D. Pearsall, and N. Turner (eds.), Ethnobiology.  Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken.

Gilmore, M. P., C. Vriesendorp, W. S. Alverson, Á. del Campo, R. von May, C. López Wong, and S. Ríos Ochoa (eds.).  2010.  Perú: Maijuna. The Field Museum, Chicago. [.pdf]

Gilmore, M. P.  2010.  The Maijuna: past, present, and future.  Pages 226-233 in M. P. Gilmore, C. Vriesendorp, W. S. Alverson, Á. del Campo, R. von May, C. López Wong, and S. Ríos Ochoa (eds.), Perú: Maijuna. The Field Museum, Chicago.

Gilmore, M. P., and J. C. Young.  2010.  The Maijuna participatory mapping project: mapping the past and the present for the future.  Pages 233-242 in M. P. Gilmore, C. Vriesendorp, W. S. Alverson, Á. del Campo, R. von May, C. López Wong, and S. Ríos Ochoa (eds.), Perú: Maijuna. The Field Museum, Chicago.

Gilmore, M. P., S. Ríos-Ochoa, and S. Ríos-Flores.  2010.  The cultural significance of the habitat mañaco taco to the Maijuna of the Peruvian Amazon.  Pages 141-158 in L. Main-Johnson and E. S. Hunn (eds.), Landscape Ethnoecology – Concepts of Biotic and Physical Space.  Berghahn Books, New York.

Courses Taught

INTS 102: Global Networks and Communities – Food and Sovereignty (6 Credits)

INTS 334: Environmental Justice (4 credits)

INTS 402: Plants and People - Sustenance, Ceremony, and Sustainability (6 Credits)

INTS 498: Environmental and Sustainability Studies in the Amazon Rainforest (4 credits)

INTS 498: Sustainable Solutions in the Developing World (2 credits)


Ph.D. in Botany, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

B.S. in Biological Sciences, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Professional Activities

President and Founder, OnePlanet

Member, Ethics Committee, Society for Economic Botany

Member, Board of Directors, Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Botany in Action (BIA) Fellowship Program, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Technical Advisor, Federación de Comunidades Nativas Maijuna (FECONAMAI)

In the Media

Amazon WaSH Project to Start Funding Campaign for 2015 Peru Trip, GMU Website

Mason Community Joins in a Crowdfunding Effort to Give an Imperiled Indigenous Group a Voice, SIS Website

Mason Team Helps Maijuna with Clean Water Project in the Peruvian Amazon, GMU Website

Ethnobiologist Helps Peruvian Maijuna Chart and Protect Ancestral Lands, SIS Newsletter

Mason Professor Enlists Student Engineers for Project in Peruvian Amazon, Broadside

Radio Interview about Maijuna Research, National Public Radio (NPR)

Ethnobiologist Helps Peruvian Maijuna Chart and Protect Ancestral Lands, GMU Website

Loreto: The Maijuna struggle to reclaim their heritage (Spanish or English), El Comercio, Lima, Peru

Mason's Clean Water Project in the Peruvian Amazon, Social Action and Integrative Learning (SAIL), GMU

Student’s Beekeeping Project Empowers Peruvian Indigenous Group, GMU Website

Conservation Solutions for Palms and People, Institute for Conservation Research – San Diego Zoo

Gilmore: Connecting Plants and People, Center for Amazon Community Ecology (CACE)