Maria DiGiano is an environmental anthropologist with experience working on an array of sustainable development issues in the Tropics and California. She leads research related to Indigenous Peoples (IP), Local Communities (LC) and climate change policies as part of EII’s broader mission to advance bottom-up solutions for climate-friendly rural development. She worked with the Governors’ Climate and Forest (GCF) Task Force Secretariat to establish a collaborative network of IP and Local Community LC organizations, governmental actors and civil society groups to advocate for greater inclusion of IP and LC in climate dialogues and policies, who then together co-designed the “Guiding Principles for Collaboration and Partnership Between Subnational Governments, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.” She received her MS and PhD degrees from the School of Natural Resources & Environment at the University of Florida, with concentrations in Anthropology and Tropical Conservation and Development. She also holds a BA in History from the University of North Carolina.