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.
Advancing equity in Brazilian protected areas (University of Aberdeen)
Empirical studies of poverty and environment: implications for pursuing interrelated SDG targets (part-time fellowship funded by the School of International Development)
Selected media and outreach
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.
Telephone: +44 (0)1603 59 2885
Mobile: 0044 7960 545 370
Assessing Equity in Protected Area Governance: Approaches to Promote Just and Effective Conservation,
in Conservation Letters
article no. e12388Full Text UEA Repository
The Park is Ruining our Livelihoods. We Support the Park! Unravelling the Paradox of Attitudes to Protected Areas,
in Human Ecology
pp. 93–105Full Text UEA Repository
Leaving no-one behind? Social inequalities and contrasting development impacts in rural Rwanda,
in Development Studies Research
pp. 1-14Full Text UEA Repository
Wild food collection and nutrition under commercial agriculture expansion in agriculture-forest landscapes,
in Forest Policy and Economics
pp. 92–101Full Text UEA Repository
From food to pest: Conversion factors determine switches between ecosystem services and disservices,
pp. 173–183Full Text UEA Repository
The research and practice of integrating conservation and development: Self-reflections by researchers on methodologies, objectives and influence,
in Global Ecology and Conservation
pp. 50-60Full Text UEA Repository
Environmental justice research shows the importance of social feedbacks in ecosystem service trade-offs,
in Ecology and Society
article no. 12Full Text UEA Repository
Justice and conservation: The need to incorporate recognition,
in Biological Conservation
pp. 254–261Full Text UEA Repository
Green revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications of imposed innovation for the wellbeing of rural smallholders,
in World Development
pp. 204-218Full Text UEA Repository
A combination of methods needed to assess the actual use of provisioning ecosystem services,
in Ecosystem Services
pp. 75-86Full Text UEA Repository
Assessing the contribution of ecosystem services to human wellbeing: A disaggregated study in western Rwanda,
in Ecological Economics
pp. 62-72Full Text UEA Repository
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.
ISBN 9781137452504Full Text
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)
ISBN 978-3-902762-40-5Full Text UEA Repository
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)
ISBN 978-3-902762-17-7Full Text UEA Repository
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,
- 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.