Resources, environment and development

The challenge:

Climate change and biodiversity loss are existential threats that are disproportionally affecting socially and economically marginalised populations around the world, making them key global development challenges. Understanding how political and economic structures and interventions influence social and environmental trajectories is essential for more effective and socially just transitions to environmental sustainability.

Three acute contemporary challenges include:

  • How can increasingly ambitious climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation strategies (such as expanding protected area networks and reforestation initiatives) achieve their aims, while benefitting people and navigating difficult trade-offs?
  • How can private entities, governments and local communities manage land, agricultural commodities, and natural resources (for example, water and minerals) in more socially just and environmentally effective ways?
  • How can the development of key infrastructure (including roads and dams) be managed in more environmentally and socially sustainable ways?

How we are addressing it: 

Our research is on focused on three main areas:

  1. The political ecology and political economy of natural resource management, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity conservation.
  2. The evaluation and estimation of social and environmental impacts of climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, and natural resource management strategies, including interrogating the data justice implications of remote sensing approaches.
  3. Analysis of agricultural production systems, including alternative organisational systems, cooperatives and value chains, in relation to environmental and social sustainability.

Research Projects

Our teaching agenda:

People and publications:

Click on the names below to read their latest publications or read the latest publications from the Global Development Institute.

PhD Researchers and Post-Doctoral Fellows

  • Lucas Alencar - Post-Doctoral Research Associate
  • Armando Caroca Fernandez - Political ecology and production of space of mining waste’s sacrifice zones
  • Caroline Cornier - Postcolonial Political Economy of commodity dependence and financial subordination, (francophone) West Africa
  • Katie Devenish - Post-Doctoral Research Associate
  • Natalia Galvis AriasEffects of cash transfers on the adaptive and resilience capacity of households exposed to climate shocks. Evidence from Colombia
  • Dhanapal Govindarajulu - Sustainable Forest Transitions
  • Mariana Hernandez-Montilla - Sustainable Forest Transitions
  • Judy Hofmeyr - Extractives industries and development, natural resource governance, sustainability, political ecology, and corporate social responsibility.
  • Nabila Hasan - Sustainable Forest Transitions
  • Sandy Nofyanza - Sustainable Forest Transitions 
  • Harry QuealyPolitical ecology, climate politics, critical agrarian studies, water, and infrastructure 
  • Magdalena Rodekirchen - Post-Doctoral Research Associate
  • Hilman Triandi Sukma - Biodiversity conservation and management; Social and ecological justice
  • Esteban Valle-Riestra Padro - Green Extractivism', Mining Temporalities and the Governance of Critical Minerals for the Energy Transition in Latin America
  • César Vicencio Vega - The discarded city of extractivism. Urban changes articulated by mining logistics
  • Natalie York - Sustainable Forest Transitions
  • Zhiqiang Zheng - Social-ecological relations between human interventions, environmental change, and sustainable rural development in the Global South


News and insights: