I am interested in the politics of nature and the economic life of marginalized groups. I study how the production of knowledge shapes our understandings of nature, the formation of markets, and how efforts to create markets for conserving nature affect patterns of agrarian development.
Recent Research Activities
- Carbon Offset Development: I study the social relations of power, knowledge, and technology that are involved in establishing carbon offsets among indigenous smallholders in Costa Rica. Carbon offsets are a “market-based” conservation mechanism where farmers receive payments from “upstream” carbon polluters for planting carbon-capturing trees on their land. My research explores how gender differences, uneven patterns of land accumulation, and non-market forms of labor produces a complex and uneven terrain of land use practices; how these practices are interpreted by scientists and economists in the process of creating a carbon “price tag” for land use changes; and the resulting impacts of this process on indigenous land use and livelihoods.
- Payments for Ecosystem Services: This research examines the extent to which state-peasant relations set the context for the effectiveness of ecosystem services payments among smallholders. There is a great deal of debate among scholars about whether Costa Rica’s long-standing ecosystem service payments program is subsidizing existing patterns of land use, or producing new forms of forest cover. Much of the empirical research on this topic tends to ignore smallholders, and often sets aside the complex social relations between land owners and the state as a variable that is too complex to assess. My work on PES in Costa Rica aims to examine these relationships and determine the extent to which smallholder interactions with state agents, policies, and laws create a context of land use decision making that alters the effectiveness of ecosystem service payments.
Lansing DM. In-press. Understanding linkages between ecosystem service payments, forest plantations, and export agriculture. Geoforum.
Lansing DM. In-press. Not all baselines are created equal: A Q methodology analysis of stakeholder participation in a carbon forestry offset project in Costa Rica. Global Environmental Change.
Lansing DM. 2012. Performing carbon’s materiality: the production of carbon offsets and the framing of exchange. Environment and Planning A 44(1): 204-220.
Lansing DM. 2011. Realizing carbon’s value: discourse and calculation in the production of carbon forestry offsets in Costa Rica. Antipode 43(3): 731-753.
Lansing DM. 2010. Carbon’s calculatory spaces: the emergence of carbon offsets in Costa Rica. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 28(4): 710-725.
Lansing D. 2009. The spaces of social capital: livelihood geographies and marine conservation in the Cayos Cochinos Marine Protected Area, Honduras. Journal of Latin American Geography 8(1): 29-54.
Lansing D, Bidegaray P, Hansen D, McSweeney K. 2008. Placing the plantation in smallholder agriculture: evidence from Costa Rica. Ecological Engineering 34(4): 358-372.
The Nature of Ecological Rents. Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting. New York, NY. February, 2012.
Performing Carbon’s Materiality. Critical Geography Conference. Clark University. November, 2011.
Ecosystem Payments, Agrarian Change, and Inequality: New Paradigms for Old Policies. Association of American Geographer’s Annual Meeting. April 2011. Seattle, WA.
- Environmental Policy
- Introduction to Human Geography
- Global Environmental Change
- Scientific Practice in Environmental Policy