My research examines human-environment relations within the framework of critical political ecology in conservation and development. Ethnographic in nature, my research examines how regional political economic processes shape resource access and use, exchange relations and environmental change at different societal scales in Southeast Asia. Specifically, I examine the historical origins and contemporary consequences of changing conservation practices on the livelihoods and landscapes of rural, resource reliant peoples in insular Southeast Asia, focusing on the frontier island of Palawan, the Philippines. I use this frame to critically examine the spread, impact and outcomes of neoliberalism on conservation, livelihoods, and landscapes, with a focus on protected areas, market-based mechanisms (REDD, PES etc) and resource commodity chains.
My ARC Future Fellowship (2014-2018) examines local social responses to the convergence of transnational governance, major resource extraction/ investment (biofuels etc) and climate change in the Philippines and Indonesia. As an entry point, I will examine the process and outcomes of indigenous social movements engaging boom crop production and carbon governance in the context of agrarian political economies in southern Palawan. This work is in collaboration with the indigenous NGO, NATRIPAL, Palawan State University, and the University of the Philippines Los Banos.
Related research interests include the neoliberalisation and decline of fisheries, social responses to and movements against enclosures and changing perceptions of identity, knowledge and ethnicity during resource use struggles and violence.
I am available to supervise post-graduate students in the broader field of environment and development, but am particularly interested in working with students who have an interdisciplinary background in anthropology, human geography and development studies. While the geographical focus is somewhat open, most of my work has been with students engaged in the political ecology of conservation and development in frontier Southeast Asia.