Biography

Research

I am a social scientist specialising in poverty, wellbeing and environmental justice research among rural populations in developing countries, primarily those living alongside some of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. I am a member of The Global Environmental Justice Group, an interdisciplinary group of scholars interested in the linkages between social justice and environmental change, a Steering Committee member for the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP), for which I co-chair a Theme on Human Wellbeing and Sustainable Livelihoods, and also a Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen. I use innovative mixed method approaches to understand the dynamic political, social, environmental and economic processes which impact people, particularly poor and marginalised social and ethnic groups. My work, in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and South America, covers three interlinked themes: biodiversity conservation and protected areas; agriculture, and; climate change mitigation and adaptation. I seek to develop novel approaches to these complex sustainable development issues, to integrate disciplines and sectors, and to promote policy impact.

Projects

Advancing equity in Brazilian protected areas (University of Aberdeen) 

REDEGN II: Rethinking Environment and Development in an Era of Global Norms: Exploring international politics of justice on carbon forestry and hydropower

ESPA-Frontiers: Land-use intensification in forest-agriculture frontier landscapes: effects on ecosystem services and poverty alleviation 

IMPACTS: Issues and Myths in Protected Area Conservation: Trade-offs and Synergies

Developing a framework and tools for enhancing equity and justice in protected area management

Empirical studies of poverty and environment: implications for pursuing interrelated SDG targets (part-time fellowship funded by the School of International Development)

Ecosystem Services, Wellbeing and Justice: Developing Tools for Research and Development Practice

 

Selected media and outreach

The Guardian: To reduce hunger in Africa, work with poor farmers – not against them

Policy brief: REDD+ in Uganda: access rights and equity must come first

Policy Brief: Linking Conservation and Development in a Time of Rapid Change at Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area, Lao PDR 

Radio France International: Rwandan agricultural policies hurting the poorest of the poor

The Conversation: Why the ‘Green Revolution’ is making farmers poorer in Rwanda

Global Justice Now blog: Industrialising African agriculture to help the poor? Some myths exposed

Landscapes for People Food and Nature blog: In Laos, an emphasis on cash-crop agriculture entails diverse impacts

CESAD manual for practitioners – The Participatory Tool for Community Ecosystem Service Assessment and Dialogue in National Protected Areas

UEA Research webpage: Protected Areas and Poverty

Background

I completed my PhD at UEA in October 2013, which explored changes in the wellbeing of rural populations living alongside tropical rainforests in the mountains of western Rwanda (download thesis here). For that study I used a broad conceptual approach to wellbeing to explore the impacts of both development and conservation policies on people’s lives, from the often overlooked perspective of rural people themselves. However rather than representing an ethnographic study, my PhD presented a mixed methods approach to the study of rural change to try to link rigorous qualitative study of individuals’ circumstances to the more clear-cut quantitative types of evidence of patterns and trends sought by policy makers. 

I have a diverse background spanning quite different, though now handily complementary disciplines, having spent several years each as an ecologist (specialising for some time in seabirds), nature reserve warden and also previously as an economist and chartered accountant. Before my PhD research, projects had taken me to several areas where natural resource management has strong implications for local livelihoods: looking at fisheries in Alaska, wetland management in Belarus and in 2010 helping to monitor the Redirect PES project in Rwanda. These experiences fuelled my interest in the depth of social, economic and ecological understanding actually required to realise meaningful, sustained development for the rural poor at the same time as preserving important biodiversity. 

Contact

Neilm_dawson@yahoo.co.uk
Neil.Dawson@uea.ac.uk 

Room 1.69

Telephone: +44 (0)1603 59 2885

Mobile: 0044 7960 545 370

All Publications

Broegaard, R. B., Rasmussen, L. V., Dawson, N., Mertz, O., Vongvisouk, T., Grogan, K.

(2017)

Wild food collection and nutrition under commercial agriculture expansion in agriculture-forest landscapes,

in Forest Policy and Economics

84

pp. 92–101

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Martin, A., Myers, R., Dawson, N. M.

(2017)

The Park is Ruining our Livelihoods. We Support the Park! Unravelling the Paradox of Attitudes to Protected Areas,

in Human Ecology

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(E-pub ahead of print)


Dawson, N., Martin, A., Danielsen, F.

(2017)

Assessing Equity in Protected Area Governance: Approaches to Promote Just and Effective Conservation,

in Conservation Letters

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(E-pub ahead of print)


Rasmussen, L. V., Christensen, A. E., Danielsen, F., Dawson, N., Martin, A., Mertz, O., Sikor, T., Thongmanivong, S., Xaydongvanh, P.

(2017)

From food to pest: Conversion factors determine switches between ecosystem services and disservices,

in AMBIO

46

(2)

pp. 173–183

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Pasgaard, M., Dawson, N., Rasmussen, L. V., Enghoff, M., Jensen, A.

(2017)

The research and practice of integrating conservation and development: Self-reflections by researchers on methodologies, objectives and influence,

in Global Ecology and Conservation

9

pp. 50-60

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Dawson, N. M., Grogan, K., Martin, A., Mertz, O., Pasgaard, M., Rasmussen, L. V.

(2017)

Environmental justice research shows the importance of social feedbacks in ecosystem service trade-offs,

in Ecology and Society

22

(3)

article no. 12

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Martin, A., Coolsaet, B., Corbera, E., Dawson, N., Fraser, J., Lehmann, I., Rodriguez, I.

(2016)

Justice and conservation: The need to incorporate recognition,

in Biological Conservation

197

pp. 254–261

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Dawson, N., Martin, A., Sikor, T.

(2016)

Green revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications of imposed innovation for the wellbeing of rural smallholders,

in World Development

78

pp. 204-218

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Rasmussen, L. V., Mertz, O., Christensen, A. E., Danielsen, F., Dawson, N., Xaydongvanh, P.

(2016)

A combination of methods needed to assess the actual use of provisioning ecosystem services,

in Ecosystem Services

17

pp. 75-86

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Dawson, N., Martin, A.

(2015)

Assessing the contribution of ecosystem services to human wellbeing: A disaggregated study in western Rwanda,

in Ecological Economics

117

pp. 62-72

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Dawson, N.

(2015)

Bringing context to poverty in rural Rwanda: Added value and challenges of mixed method approaches,

in Mixed Methods Research in Poverty and Vulnerability : Sharing Ideas and Learning Lessons.

Palgrave Macmillan

ISBN 9781137452504

(Chapter (peer-reviewed))

(Published)


Kleinshmit, D., Basnett, S., Martin, A., Rai, N., Smith-Hall, C., Dawson, N., Hickey, G., Neufeldt, H., Ojha, H., Walelign, S.

(2015)

Drivers of Forests and Tree-based Systems for Food Security and Nutrition,

in Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition : A Global Assessment Report.

International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO)

pp. 87-112

ISBN 978-3-902762-40-5

UEA Repository

(Chapter)

(Published)


Strassburg, B., Vira, B., Mahanty, S., Mansourian, S., Martin, A., Dawson, N., Gross-Camp, N., Latawiec, A., Swainson, L.

(2012)

Social and economic considerations relevant to REDD+,

in Understanding relationships between biodiversity, carbon forests and people: The key to achieving REDD+ objectives.

International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO)

pp. 83-115

ISBN 978-3-902762-17-7

UEA Repository

(Chapter)

(Published)


Professional Activities

Other Publications (relating to prior research on marine ecology)

  • Dawson N.M., Bishop M.A., Kuletz K.J. and Zuur A.F. 2015. Using ships of opportunity to assess winter habitat associations of seabirds in subarctic Alaska, Northwest Science 89:111-128  
  • Zuur A.F., Dawson N.M., Bishop M.A., Kuletz K.J. 2013. Zero inflated Common Murre density data. In: Zuur A.F., Saveliev A.A., Ieno E.N. (eds) Analysing Ecological Data - Practical Solutions When Things Get Complicated.
  • Dawson, N.M., MacLeod C.D., Smith, M. and Ratcliffe, N. 2011. Interactions with Great Skuas Stercorarius skua as a factor in the long-term decline of an Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus population, Ibis, 153:143-153.
  • Dawson N., Wilson L.J., Dean B.J., Webb A. and Reid J.B. 2009. The numbers of inshore waterbirds using Scapa Flow during the non-breeding season, and an assessment of the area’s potential for qualification as a marine SPA, JNCC Report, No. 407, Peterborough.
  • Dawson, N., Söhle, I., Wilson, L.J., Dean, B.J., Webb, A. and Reid, J.B. 2008. The numbers of inshore waterbirds using the Firth of Forth during the non-breeding season, and an assessment of the area's potential for qualification as a marine SPA. JNCC Report No. 402, Peterborough.
  • Söhle, I., Dawson N., Wilson L.J., Dean B.J., Webb A. and Reid J.B. 2009. The numbers of inshore waterbirds using the waters around Mull, Coll and Tiree during the non-breeding season, and an assessment of the area’s potential for qualification as a marine SPA, JNCC Report No. 416, Peterborough.