School of Geography - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 69
Prehistoric plant use and highland vegetation change in the Pasinler Valley, Eastern Anatolia
This paper combines new archaeobotanical and palynological data from the highlands of Eastern Anatolia to explore prehistoric use of wild plants around the key archaeological site of Sos Höyük and to chart the vegetation history of this region through the last 5000 years. Macrofossils show a prevalence of Salicaceae (willow and/or poplar) during the Late Chalcolithic, shifting to Pinus (pine) and Quercus (oak) dominance in the Middle Bronze Age, then a mixture of Salicaceae, Pinus and Betula during the Iron Age. From the Late Chalcolithic to Middle Bronze Age, carbonised seed assemblages suggest a shift toward more steppic, weedy and less wooded vegetation. Pollen data from the region indicate that these changes occurred on a background of Bronze Age oak woodland advance, Iron Age climatic cooling and subsequent deforestation. In this context, it appears that people’s use of highland plant resources was tempered by the prevailing environmental conditions. Exploitation of woods during these periods probably contributed to the deforestation of the Pasinler Valley and promoted the adoption of alternative fuels such as dung bricks.
Affirmative and engaged political ecology: practical applications and participatory development actions
(Pohjois-Suomen Maantieteellinen Seura ry, 2019)
Academic critique drives most political ecology scholarship. An engaged and affirmative political ecology, however, is practiced in scholarly, everyday and activist communities. Many academic political ecologists, including some founding figures like Piers Blaikie, take an interest in the '‘relevance'’ of their work and wish to remain '‘engaged'’ with the communities and policy actors that their research identifies as vital for positive social and environmental change. A biographical approach provides clues to what makes '‘affirmative'’ scholarship important and viable. Research engagement, and particularly activism, is desirable but often deemed to be nonconformist by the research culture of Western research universities and organisations. I argue for a more affirmative political ecology, illustrated with examples from research work in an international development project in West Africa. The use of participatory research techniques can reveal injustices, but in this case it was less successful at redressing power imbalances. The more general conclusion is that strong engagement can be effective and satisfying. As environmental problems and injustices worsen, it is essential.
The impact of swidden decline on livelihoods and ecosystem services in Southeast Asia: A review of the evidence from 1990 to 2015
© 2016 The Author(s)Global economic change and policy interventions are driving transitions from long-fallow swidden (LFS) systems to alternative land uses in Southeast Asia’s uplands. This study presents a systematic review of how these transitions impact upon livelihoods and ecosystem services in the region. Over 17 000 studies published between 1950 and 2015 were narrowed, based on relevance and quality, to 93 studies for further analysis. Our analysis of land-use transitions from swidden to intensified cropping systems showed several outcomes: more households had increased overall income, but these benefits came at significant cost such as reductions of customary practice, socio-economic wellbeing, livelihood options, and staple yields. Examining the effects of transitions on soil properties revealed negative impacts on soil organic carbon, cation-exchange capacity, and aboveground carbon. Taken together, the proximate and underlying drivers of the transitions from LFS to alternative land uses, especially intensified perennial and annual cash cropping, led to significant declines in pre-existing livelihood security and the ecosystem services supporting this security. Our results suggest that policies imposing land-use transitions on upland farmers so as to improve livelihoods and environments have been misguided; in the context of varied land uses, swidden agriculture can support livelihoods and ecosystem services that will help buffer the impacts of climate change in Southeast Asia.
Everyday practices and technologies of household water consumption: evidence from Shanghai
(SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2019-04-01)
A social practice approach to household consumption examines socially produced patterns of practice, and understands these to be composed of technology, knowledge and meaning. This approach challenges many of the assumptions made about how consumers who are supposedly economically rational behave in large-scale municipal water supply systems. Yet for an emerging body of scholarship that is sensitive to the effects of context, research on social practices is notably short of studies beyond wealthy liberal democracies. In this paper we examine the key practices of daily water consumption for households in Shanghai, China. We identify boiling water, filtering water, and buying water as the three key practices associated with daily water consumption in the home, and explain the way each is the result of combinations of knowledge, meaning and technology. We also consider short-term and longer-term shifts in practices, and explain the influence of the materiality of pollution, information and trust on these changing practices.
Geografías fluidas: territorialización marina y el escalamiento de epistemologías acuáticas locales en la costa Pacífica de Colombia
(Universidad Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca, 2019-07-15)
El Pacífico colombiano ha sido imaginado vacío en términos sociales y lleno de recursos naturales y biodiversidad. Estos imaginarios han permitido la creación de fronteras de control que históricamente han despojado a afrodescendientes e indígenas de sus territorios ancestrales. Este artículo examina la territorialización en los océanos, tomando como referencia el Golfo de Tribugá. Muestra como comunidades afrodescendientes y actores no estatales se ven obligados a usar el lenguaje de recursos, en vez del de arraigo socio-cultural, para negociar los procesos de territorialización marinos. Informadas por sus epistemologías acuáticas, las comunidades costeras reclaman su autoridad sobre el mar a través de la creación de un área marina protegida. Usan instrumentos del estado para asegurar el acceso y control local, subvirtiendo el marco jurídico del mar como bien público de acceso abierto. El área protegida representa un lugar de resistencia que irónicamente somete a las comunidades a tecnologías disciplinarias de conservación.
Phylogeography and Sex-Biased Dispersal across Riverine Manatee Populations (Trichechus inunguis and Trichechus manatus) in South America
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-12-20)
Phylogeographic patterns and sex-biased dispersal were studied in riverine populations of West Indian (Trichechus manatus) and Amazonian manatees (T. inunguis) in South America, using 410bp D-loop (Control Region, Mitochondrial DNA) sequences and 15 nuclear microsatellite loci. This multi-locus approach was key to disentangle complex patterns of gene flow among populations. D-loop analyses revealed population structuring among all Colombian rivers for T. manatus, while microsatellite data suggested no structure. Two main populations of T. inunguis separating the Colombian and Peruvian Amazon were supported by analysis of the D-loop and microsatellite data. Overall, we provide molecular evidence for differences in dispersal patterns between sexes, demonstrating male-biased gene flow dispersal in riverine manatees. These results are in contrast with previously reported levels of population structure shown by microsatellite data in marine manatee populations, revealing low habitat restrictions to gene flow in riverine habitats, and more significant dispersal limitations for males in marine environments.
Uncertainty in Estimates, Incentives, and Emission Reductions in REDD plus Projects
The accurate monitoring and measurement of emission reductions is a critical step in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+). However, the existence of uncertainty in emission reduction estimates affects the performance of REDD+ projects. We assert that incentive could be a valuable policy tool for reducing monitoring errors and transaction costs. Using Stackelberg models and simulation research, this paper examines the effects of uncertainty and incentive on performance and stakeholder benefits of REDD+ projects. Finally, the uncertainties in REDD+ projects are further discussed, and equilibrium errors, emission reductions, and stakeholder benefits in different scenarios are compared. The results show that errors do affect the measured value of carbon emissions and compensation payments. However, incentive for investors can reduce monitoring errors and improve the performance of REDD+ projects. Therefore, in the future, incentive should be provided to investors rather than landholders.