Yolanda Lopez-Maldonado is a Human Ecologist and Geographer (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU) specialised in freshwater resources. She is a successful indigenous researcher and practitioner with extensive experience in indigenous and traditional peoples, human-environmental systems, community-based conservation, participative action-research, system analysis and transdisciplinary approaches. Born and raised in Yucatan, Mexico, she has been a visiting researcher at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain, and the Natural Resources Institute – University of Manitoba, Canada. Yolanda was selected as a Young Research Scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (2015), Austria, and the Beijer Institute, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2016-2019), Stockholm, Sweden.
In her professional career, Yolanda has focused on issues such as social aspects of nature conservation, indigenous peoples, stakeholder involvement in conservation, community based conservation, and women’s involvement in natural resource management. She has worked for international academic and non-academic organisations at different levels in social issues and science fields, and collaborated with communitarian organisations in Mexico towards groundwater conservation. She is a member of the Specialist Group: Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, the Ramsar Culture Network, and Member of the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP). Yolanda has been a Delegate at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) United Nations Headquarters, New York. In her home country, Mexico, she is working towards solutions by combining natural and social sciences with traditional ecological knowledge, which respects indigenous knowledge.