Scaling up Sustainable Agriculture and Conservation
Linking global social and environmental change to farmer behavior through analysis of institutions and supply chains.
Land system dynamics (e.g., agriculture, forestry, mining, etc.) are at the heart of many of the world’s greatest climate and resource challenges. Land systems are also central to millions of rural livelihoods and therefore essential to global poverty alleviation and food security. My research on environmental governance at the nexus of climate, food systems, land use, and development addresses these challenges from many angles:
Identifying the causes and impacts of land use behaviors (behavior and geography);
Assessing the effectiveness and equity of land use focused climate mitigation policies (policy analysis)
Understanding the opportunities and challenges influencing agricultural technology adoption (innovation systems)
Within these broad research areas, I focus mainly on the challenge of tropicaldeforestation and degradation. I study the leading drivers of deforestation in the tropics - cattle and soybean systems in Brazil, oil palm in Indonesia, and cocoa in West Africa, and their linkages to global markets and policies as well as national development agendas. My research agenda also examines land use and governance processes in temperate (i.e., the former Soviet Union) and sub-tropical landscapes (i.e., the coffee belt) through this multi-scalar lens.
To accomplish this diverse research portfolio, I leverage my interdisciplinary training in policy analysis, development studies, economics,history, and geography. My approach combines fieldwork, semi-structured interviews along supply chains, spatial data synthesis, statistical analysis, and scenario modelling. These different components work together to generate theory, integrate a range of data types, and test and refine theory with novel empirical analyses. This work is accomplished by a diverse, international team of doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers.