Current Research Project
Over the 3-year period of my postdoctoral research, I will be looking at emergent transformations in the global governance of forest-based climate change mitigation (specifically REDD+) schemes in response to a range of imperatives including the poor performance of these schemes and the rise of extreme nationalism on the one hand, and on the other hand, new impetus from the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Other Research Themes and Projects
Here I have focused on the growing role of the market principle in the contemporary governance of the environment. Here I draw on Marxian political economy and Foucauldian notions of neoliberal governmentality to understand market organisation processes in innovative environmental projects (such as carbon offsetting, biodiversity banking, and payment for ecosystem services broadly) with their modes of environmental valuation and calculative logics. I am interested in how neoliberal projects are assembled, the part played by various actors (state, NGO, transnational institutions and local actors), and the various impacts of these projects especially on local communities, indigenous peoples and the environment, and how these projects are contested and resisted. I have carried out fieldwork in Nigeria and Ghana on REDD+ projects which are an archetype of the integrated vision of contemporary development and market-based environmental governance. Together with scholars at the University of Victoria, University of Marburg and UK universities, we have been debating the nature and outcomes of neoliberalisation of the environment. My contributions to the growing international debate in this area include articles in Environment and Planning A, Geoforum, the International Handbook of Political Ecology (Edward Elgar, 2015), and a forthcoming commentary piece in Environment and Planning E.
My interest in climate change builds on years of collaborative projects and graduate research work. Here I engage with the social and political dimensions of climate change including public engagement, knowledge politics, urban vulnerability and adaptation, and climate-forest-development nexus through REDD+. I have researched urban vulnerabilities and adaptation through a collaborative research, Coastal Cities at Risk project, an IDRC-funded international collaboration studying vulnerability and adaptive capacity in Vancouver, Manila, Bangkok and Lagos. I was also part of the team that worked on the Lagos cases study for the edited volume on Land-Sea Interactions at the Coastal Zone (LOICZ) project. As part of my work on climate change adaptation, I have consulted for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Nigeria on the National Adaption Programme. Aside from various project publications, my peer-reviewed articles and other publications in this area have appeared in Public Understanding of Science, Natural Hazards, Forests and in contribution to the book Megacities and the Coast: Risk Resilience and Transformation (Routledge, 2014).
Political Ecology of Conservation
Here I am interested in the politics of historical and contemporary forest conservation. Aside from understanding the form, logics and impacts of conservation practices, I also ask how the particular temporalities and spatialities of historical (particularly British colonial) conservation have created the conditions of possibility for contemporary conservation policies and practices. I am interested in continuities and discontinuities across different conservation era, with particular attention to conservation-and-development, the rise of market-based approach, and the emergent militarization of conservation. I situate my work on REDD+ within this longue durée of forest conservation. I have contributed to this broad area of debates on conservation geographies through publications in The Geographical Journal and Geoforum.