Post-Doctoral Research Associate for “Indigenous Communities, Land Use and tropical Deforestation” (INCLUDE) project.

University of Reading - Agri-Food Economics & Social Science

Tropical deforestation is an important contributor to climate change, through the release of significant amounts of carbon in the atmosphere. The main proximate cause of deforestation is agricultural expansion, followed by resource extraction.

This is one of 3 Post-doctoral research positions, each starting in November 2017, of which 2 positions will be held at the Centre for Development and Environment of the University of Bern (Switzerland) for a period of 36 months each and one position at the School of Agricultural Policy and Development of the University of Reading (UK) for a period of 42 months. These 3 research positions are part of the ERC Consolidator Grant funded project “Indigenous Communities, Land Use and Tropical Deforestation” (INCLUDE).

The project looks at the problem of deforestation in the Argentinean dry Chaco in the province of Salta (the Chaco Salteño). The Chaco Salteño, part of the Great American Chaco (the second largest tropical forest in the American continent after the Amazon), experiences one of the fastest deforestation rates in the world (on average about 2 football fields per minute over 1970-2015), represents an important agricultural frontier (with over 6 million ha of forest left) and hosts significant ethnic and cultural diversity, including both ‘criollos’ (small scale livestock farmers of European descent) and indigenous peoples.

The post holder at Reading will work in collaboration with researchers in a multidisciplinary team working from the University of Bern. Their primary responsibility will be for research design and data collection, involving extensive periods of fieldwork in the Chaco Salteño. The data collection is envisaged to proceed from less to more structured qualitative research methods, with indigenous peoples, criollos, agricultural producers and political or administrative actors.

The objectives of the workstream are a) to characterize the attitudes of the various actors towards the process of agricultural expansion and deforestation in the region and environmental degradation more in general; b) to evaluate the attitudes towards the existing land tenure regime and governance structures; c) to develop a conceptual framework that can be used in strategic planning.

In particular, we believe that different stakeholders have diverging attitudes, with some (e.g., public administrations, agricultural producers’ organizations etc.) more geared towards agricultural expansion. In order to characterise attitudes, structured qualitative research (e.g. Q-methodology) will be used in appropriately selected communities. Finally, a conceptual framework will be developed in order to facilitate strategic planning pertaining to suggestions put forward by the various stakeholders.

The main data collection phase is expected to take place over two consecutive years, starting in April 2018.

You will have:

  • PhD in a relevant discipline (e.g. human geography, ecological economics, human ecology, development) awarded by the time of appointment.
  • Fluency in Spanish and English.
  • Knowledge of sustainability issues, particularly deforestation.
  • Experience of qualitative or mixed methods research.

Please see the person specification for further details.

Informal contact details
Contact name: Dr Nicholas Bardsley

Alternative informal contact details
Contact name: Dr Graziano Ceddia
Contact email:

Closing Date: 18 August 2017

Interview Date: 18 September 2017

The University is committed to having a diverse and inclusive workforce and we welcome applications for job-share, part-time and flexible working arrangements which will be considered in line with business needs.

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