Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor/ Graduate Program Director, Geography & Environmental Systems, University of Maryland / Baltimore County

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2007
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Geography, Ohio State University
Farming Carbon, Sequestering Livelihoods: The Dynamics of Carbon Markets in Costa Rican Indigenous Communities

Carbon markets provide a means for farmers to receive payments for practicing sustainable agriculture. As these markets expand into indigenous territories, questions arise as to the impact these markets will have on indigenous livelihoods, which often operate in a non-market context. While research on carbon markets indicates that this juxtaposition of indigenous livelihoods and market based payments is problematic, there has been little systematic research into how these markets are established among indigenous farmers or the changes that carbon sequestration payments catalyze. Using a variety of ethnographic and survey methods, I propose to investigate how indigenous farmers in Costa Rica’s Talamanca Indigenous Reserve were incorporated into a carbon market and the impact that monthly payments for carbon sequestration have on local patterns of property rights, labor relations, and land use. This research will focus on the roles of local and global stakeholders in the process of incorporating indigenous farmers into carbon markets, the forms of knowledge that were necessary for this process to occur, and the resulting changes in local social relations of production. This study will link issues of political ecology, a field concerned with the political economy of access to and distribution of resources to issues of technology, knowledge, and power that typifies research in science and technology studies. This will unify recent geographic research on the politics of nature, with more traditional concerns about the processes and extent of agrarian change.