My research addresses poverty, wellbeing and environmental justice among rural populations, particularly poor and marginalised social and ethnic groups, in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and South America. I use mixed-method approaches to explore many aspects of rural life, though currently focus on the interlinked themes of biodiversity conservation, agriculture and climate change.

I am a member of The Global Environmental Justice Group, an interdisciplinary group of scholars interested in the linkages between social justice and environmental change, a Steering Committee member for the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP), for which I chair a Theme on Human Wellbeing and Sustainable Livelihoods, and also a postdoc at the European School of Political and Social Sciences (ESPOL) in Lille, France


Towards Just conservation: Linking theories and practices of justice in biodiversity conservation (ESPOL-Lille)

Indigenous Sustainable Development

Evidencing links between human wellbeing, governance and conservation effectiveness (IUCN CEESP)

Advancing equity in Brazilian protected areas (University of Aberdeen) 

REDEGN II: Rethinking Environment and Development in an Era of Global Norms: Exploring international politics of justice on carbon forestry and hydropower

ESPA-Frontiers: Land-use intensification in forest-agriculture frontier landscapes: effects on ecosystem services and poverty alleviation 

IMPACTS: Issues and Myths in Protected Area Conservation: Trade-offs and Synergies

Developing a framework and tools for enhancing equity and justice in protected area management

Empirical studies of poverty and environment: implications for pursuing interrelated SDG targets (part-time fellowship funded by the School of International Development)

Ecosystem Services, Wellbeing and Justice: Developing Tools for Research and Development Practice


Selected media and outreach

The Guardian: To reduce hunger in Africa, work with poor farmers – not against them

Policy brief: REDD+ in Uganda: access rights and equity must come first

Policy Brief: Linking Conservation and Development in a Time of Rapid Change at Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area, Lao PDR 

Radio France International: Rwandan agricultural policies hurting the poorest of the poor

The Conversation: Why the ‘Green Revolution’ is making farmers poorer in Rwanda

Global Justice Now blog: Industrialising African agriculture to help the poor? Some myths exposed

Landscapes for People Food and Nature blog: In Laos, an emphasis on cash-crop agriculture entails diverse impacts

CESAD manual for practitioners – The Participatory Tool for Community Ecosystem Service Assessment and Dialogue in National Protected Areas

UEA Research webpage: Protected Areas and Poverty


I completed my PhD at UEA in October 2013, exploring changes in the wellbeing of rural populations living alongside tropical rainforests in the mountains of western Rwanda (download thesis here). Before that my career spanned quite different, though now handily complementary disciplines, including several years each as an ecologist (specialising for some time in seabirds), nature reserve warden and even economist and chartered accountant. The transition was driven by projects that took me to areas where natural resource management was intimately connected with local livelihoods: looking at fisheries in Alaska, wetland management in Belarus and in 2010 helping to monitor the Redirect PES project in Rwanda. These experiences fuelled my interest in the depth of social, economic and ecological understanding required to realise meaningful, sustained development for the rural poor at the same time as preserving nature. 


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