David Lansing

Ph.D Ohio State University, 2009

Graduate Program Director
Associate Professor

Research Interests

I am broadly interested in issues of environmental governance. I seek to explain how conservation policy is formed and implemented, and the effects it has on the livelihoods of farmers. Most of my empirical work is centered on “market based” conservation policies such as carbon offsets and ecosystem service payments in Costa Rica, but I also have ongoing research on the impact of antibiotic restrictions on dairy and beef cattle farmers in the United States. More specific information and publications are below.

Governing Antimicrobial Resistant Bacteria

This project examines how and why different kinds of antimicrobial regulations have emerged across distinct governmental domains, and how this complex matrix of regulations and best practice guidelines become translated into agricultural practices among dairy cow and beef cattle farmers in the United States. This multidisciplinary work is being carried out in conjunction with engineers, microbiologists, and extension officers at the University of Maryland College Park, Cornell University, University of Nebraska, and The U.S Department of Agriculture. My work utilizes surveys, interviews, and ethnographic techniques to understand the different ways that farmers encounter bacteria and how they negotiate the twin demands of treating animals as both subjects of medical treatment and agricultural production.

Relevant Publications

Lansing D, & JR Barrett. In Press. Antibiotic Responsibility and Agricultural Publics: diverse stakeholder perceptions of antibiotic use in animal agriculture. Agriculture and Human Values

Barrett JR, Innes GK, Johnson KA, Lhermie G, Ivanek R, Greiner Safi A, & D Lansing. 2021. Consumer perceptions of antimicrobial use in animal husbandry: A scoping review. PloS one 16(12): e0261010.

Carbon Offset Development

This work examines the politics of carbon offset development, and the impact of carbon payments 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.

Relevant Publications

Lansing D, Collard RC, Dempsey J, Sundberg J., Heynen N, Büscher B, & R Fletcher. 2015. Nature Inc.: environmental conservation in a neoliberal age. Environment and Planning A 47(11): 2389-2408. (Book Review Forum).

Lansing DM 2015.  Carbon forestry and sociospatial difference: an examination of two carbon offset projects among indigenous smallholders in Costa Rica. Society & Natural Resources, 28(6), 593-608.

Lansing DM. 2013. 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 23(3): 654-663.

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.

Payments for Ecosystem Services

This research examines Costa Rica’s long running ecosystem service payment program. My work largely examines how this policy affects smallholding land users. I look at hidden access barriers to the program and the types of smallholders that enroll in the program. I also examine how ecosystem payments are taken up along the forest commodity chain by agricultural and forestry industries.

Relevant Publications

Lansing DM. 2017. Understanding smallholder participation in payments for ecosystem services: the case of Costa Rica. Human Ecology 45(1): 77-87.

Lansing DM, Grove K, & JL Rice. 2015. The neutral state: a genealogy of ecosystem service payments in Costa Rica. Conservation and Society 13(2) 200-211.

Lansing DM. 2014. Unequal access to payments for ecosystem services: the case of Costa Rica. Development and Change 45(6) 1310-1331.

Lansing DM. 2013. Understanding linkages between ecosystem service payments, forest plantations, and export agriculture. Geoforum 47: 103-112.

Political Ecology of Nutrient Management

This research is focused on farmers in Maryland’s Eastern Shore and examines political conflict around land user regulations and the disconnect between environmental regulations and farmer attitudes toward data about nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Doing so, this work examines how seemingly technical policies such as nutrient management plans are deeply politicized, and it explores how practices of accounting for nutrients are being shaped by the proliferation of data collection practices by farmers more generally.

Relevant Publications

Schall D, Lansing D, Leisnham P, Shirmohammadi A, Montas H, & T Hutson. 2018. Understanding stakeholder perspectives on agricultural best management practices and environmental change in the Chesapeake Bay: AQ methodology study. Journal of Rural Studies 60: 21-31.

Renkenberger J. Montas H, Leisnham PT, Chanse V, Shirmohammadi A, Sadeghi A., Hutson T, & D, Lansing. 2017. Effectiveness of best management practices with changing climate in a Maryland watershed. Transactions of the ASABE 60(3): 769.

Renkenberger J, Montas H, Leisnham PT, Chanse V, Shirmohammadi A, Sadeghi A, Hutson T, & D. Lansing. 2016. Climate change impact on critical source area identification in a Maryland watershed. Transactions of the ASABE 59(6): 1803-1819.


Development, Conservation, and Agrarian Change

I also have a broader interest in rural livelihoods and understanding the dynamics of capital, state power, and land dispossession in the context of development and conservation projects. I have conducted work in this vein in Costa Rica and Honduras.

Relevant Publications

Holland MB, & DM Lansing .2017. Forests in limbo: assessing Costa Rica’s forest and land reform policies. Society & Natural Resources 30(6): 738-749.

Lansing DM. 2014. Discourse and the production of territorial hegemony: Indigenous peoples, the United Fruit Company, and the capitalist state in Costa Rica, 1872-1916Journal of Historical Geography 45: 38-49.

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.

Courses Taught
    • Introduction to Human Geography (GES 102)
    • Environmental Policy (GES 328)
    • Global Environmental Change (GES 436/636)
    • Scientific Practice in Environmental Policy (GES 428/628)
    • Graduate Seminar: Governing Nature (GES 700)
    • Graduate Seminar: The Future of Food (GES 700)
    • Graduate Seminar: Geographies of Resilience (GES 700)
    • Graduate Seminar: Research Methods (GES 702)