University of Vermont


Meryl Richards

Meryl Richards

Research Analyst, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics

Phone: 802-656-0890
Office: Johnson House, 617 Main Street
Gund Institute profile:

Meryl Richards is an agroecologist who is currently supporting research on Pro-Poor Climate Change Mitigation with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS, This research, one of four themes within the CCAFS program, investigates how smallholder farmers in developing countries can improve their livelihoods while reducing their impact on climate change. Her research experience and interests center around synergies and trade-offs between food security and environmental conservation in smallholder agriculture, as well as measurement of GHG emissions from agriculture. She has a particular interest in agroforestry systems and has conducted research in Central America and West Africa.


B.A. (2005) and B.E. (2006), Environmental Engineering, Dartmouth College
Ph.D. (2013), Plant and Soil Science, University of Vermont, "Agrobiodiversity, conservation, and food security among small-scale coffee farmers in El Salvador."

Selected Publications

Richards, M.B. & Méndez, V.E. Interactions between carbon sequestration and shade tree diversity in a smallholder coffee cooperative of El Salvador. In press at Conservation Biology.

Olson, M.B., Morris, K.S., & Méndez, V.E. Cultivation of maize landraces by small-scale shade coffee farmers in western El Salvador (2012). Agricultural Systems, 111, 63-74.

Olson, M.B., Peyser, R., Méndez, V.E., Fujisaka, S., Oberthür, T., Seville, D. & Georgeoglou, M.U. (2012). Measuring impact at origin. In Specialty Coffee: Managing Quality, eds. T. Oberthür, P. Läderach, H. A. Jürgen Pohlan, & J. Cock, Northcross, Georgia: International Plant Nutrition Institute.

Méndez, V. E., Bacon, C.M., Olson, M., Petchers, S., Herrador, D., Carranza, C., Trujillo, L., Guadarrama-Zugasti, C., Cordón, A. & Mendoza, A. (2010). Effects of Fair Trade and organic certifications on small-scale coffee farmer households in Central America and Mexico. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 25, 236-251.

Méndez, V. E., Bacon, C., Olson, M. B., Morris, K. S., & Shattuck, A. (2010). Agrobiodiversity and shade coffee smallholder livelihoods: Synthesis of ten years of research in Central America. Professional Geographer, 62, 357-376.

Additional Links

Gund Institute for Ecological Economics

Low Emissions Agriculture