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Socio-Ecological Systems: environment, development and sustainability


This one-day postgraduate research conference seeks to bring research across both social/political and ecological/biophysical disciplines to share experiences together. The conference will explore themes in SES and sustainability, including multiple interactions and relations between people and ecosystems; political ecology of human-animal relations, customary modes of natural resource management and their conflict or complementarity with western ideas of management; community-based conservation and development approaches and factors influencing their outcomes; impacts of changes in land use, tenure, access and management on livelihoods; impacts of climate change on human well-being, ecosystems and wildlife; and integrative methodologies in understanding SES.


9:30- 10:15 – Registration

10:15 – Welcome

Session 1

10:20 Claudia Amphlett (UCL) – Mobility and access during extreme drought: impacts of political and social constraints on pastoralist communities in Laikipia, Kenya.

10:40 Stephanie Postar (Oxford University) – Forest histories and nuclear futures: mapping value and landscape change in southern Tanzania.

11:00 Rafael Morais Chiaravalloti (UCL) – Overfishing or over reacting? Management of fisheries in the Western Border of the Pantanal wetland, Brazil.

11:20 – Questions (15 mins)

11:35-11:50 – BREAK

Session 2

11:50 Nuttavikhom Phanthuwongpakdee (KCL & National University of Singapore) – Adaptation in Central Thailand.

12:10 Dennis Mailu (Reading University) – A critical assessment of governance of urban ecosystem services in developing countries: A case study of Kibera informal settlement Nairobi, Kenya.

12:30 Debbie Kobani (Aberystwyth University) – A Legal Framework for Petroleum Host Community Participation in The Niger Delta.

12:50 – Questions (15 mins)

13:05-14:05 – LUNCH (Anthropology staff common room)

Session 3

14:05 Flavia Donadelli (LSE) – Paradoxes of ratification: The impact of the Nagoya Protocol on Brazilian biodiversity policies.

14:25 Jéssica Fonseca da Silva (Cambridge University) – The (un)sustainable production of bioethanol in the Cerrado: from habitat to gas emissions.

14:45 Linda Thompson ((Aberystwyth University) – Offsetting Climate Change, an Agricultural Policy Collaboration.

15:05 – Questions (15 mins)

15:20-15:40 – BREAK

Session 4

15:40 Sahil Nijhawan (UCL) – Do cultural taboos conserve wildlife?

16:00 Chris RJ Pollard (Stirling University) – What’s good for the goose, isn’t good for the farmer: Strategic decision making in conservation conflict.

16:20 Kim S Jacobsen (Oxford University) – Environmental justice and the conflict surrounding carnivore policy in Norway.16:40 – Questions (15 mins)

16:55 – Closing remarks Prof. Katherine Homewood

17:00 – Wine reception (Anthropology staff common room)

Register here / Take a look on the SES_programme_7April or SES_abstracts_7April

Coordinators: CLOSER & The Socio-Ecological Systems (SES) Reading Group in the Department of Anthropology, UCL 

Place: Room 347, 16 Taviton St, University College London WC1H 0BW.

Date: 04/07/2016

Time: 9:30AM to 7:00PM

Register Here!

Session 1: Going Multidisciplinary

One of the most used key words in academia all over the world nowadays is ‘interdisciplinarity’ or 'multidisciplinarity'. From call for papers and conferences, to Deans and rectors’ speeches and description of courses and modules, these words are almost omnipresent. However, problems generally appear when we need to translate these concepts into practice. Dr Vinínius Mariano de Carvalho will open the training by presenting guidelines to successfully explore different areas of expertise within research.

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Session 2: Colonising Nature: People and Protected Areas

Taking the Amazon rainforest as a point of reference, Dr Vinicius Mariano de Carvalho will expose some of the historical views on colonisation and representation of nature. Subsequently, Grace Iara Souza will present a case study on the Amazonian colonisation through the setting of areas aside for environmental protection.

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Session 3: Regulation and the Environment

Questions concerning public policy and regulation in the environment-development debate will be addressed. The focus will be on the role of voluntary multi-stakeholder sustainability initiatives in the context of states with limited administrative capacity. Flavia Donadelli and Larissa Boratti will present a case study on private forest regulation in Latin America in order to stimulate an open debate about the role of alternative environmental governance mechanisms in developing countries.

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Session 4: Governance, institutions and actors: the challenges of researching socio-environmental complexity

Dr Daanish Mustafa will give an overview on the theoretical and epistemological questions that arise in socio-environmental research, namely in what regards interplay of governance, institutions and actors. Tiago Freitas will present a case study from the Brazilian Amazon and Kay Phanthuwongpakdee a case study from Thailand.

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Session 5: Natural resource management and gender: can pro-poor strategies work in a neo-liberal world?

Natural resources such as land, water and forests are of key importance to the livelihoods of very many people in the countries of the Global South. In many countries most people still live in rural areas and derive significant parts of their livelihoods from agriculture, livestock and fisheries as well as from timber and non-timber forest products. The management of these resources is thus of great significance both for reducing poverty and trying to attain improved sustainability in the use of the natural environment. During this session, Dr Deborah Potts will discuss some of these themes with particular reference to southern African societies, while Giovanna Grandoni will introduce the gendered implications of natural resource management in small rural communities in the Northeast of Brazil.

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Session 6: The Space and Place of Indigenous and Riverine Peoples in The National State

This session will provide an analysis of cultural, institutional and livelihood dimensions of Indigenous groups and traditional communities and how it can interact with the conservation agenda. Moreover it will present the recent evolution of international and national policies and rights of indigenous and riverine peoples, and explore its consequences on the analytical framework on human-environment interactions.

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Session 1: Between Conservation, Development & Territorial Rights

The local people right to the territory has been one of the major struggles when creating and implementing conservation and development policies throughout natural resource rich countries. Embedded in a conflict between different stakeholders and agendas, conducting research in and about such places require constant adaptation and persistence

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Session 2: Environment, Public Policy and Regulation

Several changes in environmental policies and regulations have happened in Brazil in the past decade. Although commentators and protesters often use the term ‘environmental roll-back’ to describe these changes little research has been published on the actual nature and processes leading to these reforms. This session aims to fill in this gap and shed light on the actual characteristics and drivers of this recent trend.

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Session 3: Conducting Research with Indigenous Peoples in the Amazon

This session will focus on research with indigenous peoples from an anthropological, environmental and economic perspective, and present the challenges of conducting fieldwork in indigenous territories in the Amazon.

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Reimagining Prosperity: Futures from the Global South

Given the planetary challenges we face, we urgently need to formulate more explicit projects of transformation and transition. The announcement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015 emphasises that making substantial changes using tried and tested models is unlikely to work. This paper discusses how we might move beyond the SDGs to formulate diverse pathways to future prosperity, and explains why many of the philosophical and practical ideas arising in the Global South offer innovative ways forward.

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