Alejandro Mora Motta

Research themes
  • Environmental and climate change
  • Institutions
  • Sustainable use of natural resources
  • Theories of Development
  • Development Politics
  • Governance and conflict
Research countries
  • Chile
  • Colombia

Focus Groups Interviews (Grad., ZEF A Disciplinary Course)

Undisciplined methodologies in the social sciences (Grad., DSSP, ZEF, Uni Bonn, Germany)

Extractivism, resource grabbing, and agricultural commercialisation (with W Laube & A Pereira, Grad. SoPoWi, Uni Bonn, Germany)

Human scale development (with MdV Barrera, Grad., FACEA, MEDEH, UACh, Chile)

Economics and politics of sustainability (Undergrad., FCE, UNAL, Colombia)

Professional experience

Lecturer (see teaching)

One-year visiting postgraduate researcher, RLC Campus Austral-Valdivia, FACEA, Austral University of Chile



MSc Environment and Development, IDEA, FCE, National Univesity of Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia

BA in Economics, FCE, National Univesity of Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia

Funding institutions

DAAD (Right Livelihood College)

Thesis title

Rural well-being, sustainability and territorial transformation: fundamental human needs in the context of extractive forestry plantations in Los Rios, Chile

Thesis abstract

Chilean economic model is founded on neoliberal institutions and depends largely on the exploitation of its natural resources. The forestry model has transformed the south-central territory of the country through deforestation of native forest and plantation development, grabbing land and water, and affecting biodiversity. After 1990, Chilean institutions had a major change towards a more inclusive model with ecological concerns. But forestry entered international markets and grew as a dynamic extractive model. Parallel to this historical process, indigenous and peasant communities in the region have shown nonconformity and resistance to the plantation model, which has remained outside the bulk of profits and has caused the loss of territoriality. Institutional rules to govern the resources are settled in such a way that most profits are captured by few private actors, but the social and ecological costs of the extraction are often bearded by indigenous and peasant communities, threatening local sustainability and diminishing their well-being and, ultimately, crating socio-ecological conflicts.

The aim of this research is to analyse the relationship of well-being of peasant communities and local sustainability in the context of extractive large scale forestry in rural Los Ríos, Chile. It uses the concept of extractivism characterize the Chilean forestry model, the alternative approach to development known as Human Scale Development and its cornerstone, the theory of Fundamental Human Needs, to understand well-being, and a relational ontological basis to link it with the constructed categories of sustainability and territoriality. The methodology consists on a mixed methods approach, based on a case study. The study of the forestry sector, its regulations evolution, the economic implications, and the consequent territorial transformations will be done with an institutional analysis, based on documental review, semi-structured interviews and participatory tools. The effects of the forestry model over peasant well-being and local sustainability is going to be based on deliberative focus group workshops on Fundamental Human Needs as well as interviews. Finally, the way peasant communities organize in response to this extractive model will be researched with interviews and observations.


Key words: extractivism, forestry, human scale development, sustainability, socio-ecological conflicts, Chile


Supervisors of
doctoral work

Prof. Dr. Eva Youkhana

Advisor at ZEF

Dr. Till Stellmacher


Youkhana, E., Rojas-Robles, R., Avilés-Irahola, D., Mora-Motta, A., & Santander-Durán, J..  2021.  Pensamiento Ambiental, Críticas al Desarrollo y Propuestas en Construcción para la Cooperación Sur-Sur-Norte.  Gestión y Ambiente, 24(supl1)   : 11-38   . (Open Access)   Further Information


Mora-Motta, A. & Stellmacher, T..  2020.  Tree plantations at the last resource frontiers: extractivism and territorialisation in southern Chile.  In: Laube, W. & Pereira, A. R. B. (eds.): 'Civilizing' resource investments and extractivism: Societal negotiations and the rule of law. ZEF Development Studies, Vol. 31, Lit Verlag.   115-155. 
Mora-Motta, Alejandro; Stellmacher, Till; Pacheco-Habert, Guillermo; Henríquez-Zúñiga, Christian.  2020.  Between extractivism and conservation: Tree plantations, forest reserves, and peasant territorialities in Los Ríos, Chile.  In: Felix Fuders & Pablo J. Donoso (eds.): Ecological economic and socio ecological strategies for forest conservation: A transdisciplinary approach focused on Chile and Brazil. Springer.   99-125.  Further Information


Aranda Camacho, Yesid; Mora-Motta, Alejandro.  2018.  Procesos de evaluación de tierras en el ordenamiento productivo agrario de los territorios rurales.  In: Molina, Juan; Aranda, Yesid; Lesmes, Angélica (eds.): Desafíos para la implementación de políticas de desarrollo rural con enfoque territorial en Colombia. Editorial Universidad Nacional de Colombia.   167-198.  Further Information
Mora-Motta, A..  2018.  Salidas a la crisis ambiental: conciencia relacional, transdisciplinariedad y suficiencia en la base de otra economía (Reseña de Max-Neef, M. Economía Herética: treinta y cinco años a contracorriente. Barcelona: Icaria, 2017).  Desenvolvimento e Meio Ambiente, (46)   : 357-361   . (Open Access)   Further Information
Mora-Motta, Alejandro.  2018.  Plantaciones forestales en Chile: ¿hacia un modelo más sustentable?.  Gestión y Ambiente, 21 (supl. 2)   : 100-116   . (Open Access)   Further Information


Mora Motta, A. and N. León Rodríguez.  2017.  Cambiando de perspectiva en la economía de la mitigación del cambio climático.  Cuadernos de Economia , 36 (70),   : 169-195   . Further Information


Ortega-Guerrero, Gustavo; Mora-Motta, Alejandro & Arciniegas-Barrera, Jair.  2012.  La regulación social de los bienes comunes: justicia ambiental como salida a una crisis ambiental y climática.  In: Gregorio Mesa Cuadros (Ed.) (eds.): Elementos para una teoría de la Justicia Ambiental y el Estado Ambiental de Derecho. Universidad Nacional de Colombia, sede Bogotá.   115-148. 

Additionals, Curriculum Vitae
and Downloads

Alejandro Mora Motta

Junior Researcher


Department :
ZEF A: Department of Political and Cultural Change

alejandromm87(at); alejandro.mora.motta(at)