Dr James FraserLecturer
James is broadly interested in contemporary and historical interactions between institutional and agro-ecological dimensions of natural resource management in the global tropics, and their relationship to the wider ‘sustainability’ and ‘resilience’ of social-ecological systems.
James was trained in Development Studies and Anthropology, and has since become more interdisciplinary through field collaborations with Biologists and Soil Scientists.
He uses both qualitative and quantitative methods and is interested in developing interdisciplinarity in research and teaching.
James’ doctoral and post-doctoral research focused on relationships between small-scale farmers and Anthropogenic Dark Earths in Central Amazonia (Brazil) and the Upper Guinea Forests of West Africa (Liberia).
Anthropogenic Dark Earths are high-fertility carbon-rich soils formed through intensive depositions of charred and fresh organic material by forest inhabitants throughout the global humid tropics. Commentators suggest that these human-made soils could provide models for more sustainable agriculture.
James was lead researcher in Liberia for an ESRC funded project led by the Universities of Sussex and Cornell which has revealed hitherto unknown yet extant African Dark Earths across West Africa. This post-doctoral research with the Loma of North-Western Liberia examined the historical-political ecology of African Dark Earth formation; institutional and gender aspects of their usage, and calorific efficiencies in food production. Collaborators in soil science and botany examined biophysical dimensions of these soils and the diversity of plants and trees associated with them.
James’ Leverhulme funded doctoral research with Amazonian peoples in Brazil examined the historical ecology, knowledge and practice of annual and perennial crop cultivation in dark earths. He collaborated with a botanists and soil scientists at the National Amazonian Research Institute in Manaus to investigate soil fertility and agrobiodiversity.
James' masters research focused on fair trade and the coffee crisis in Nicaragua.
He is currently developing a research project on the ‘African Green Revolution’ in Mozambique.
James contributes to several undergraduate and postgraduate modules and is convener for:
LEC 322 Environment, Society and Politics in Amazonia (taught with Luke Parry & Jos Barlow)
LEC 331 Food and Agriculture in the 21st Century (taught with Rebecca Whittle & Katerina Psarikidou)
James is on the LEC Interdisciplinary PhD Panel
James is a pro bono consultant for the NGO Solidaridade Mozambique
Reframing ‘crisis’ in Fair Trade coffee production: trajectories of agrarian change in Nicaragua
Fraser, J., Fisher, E., Arce, A. 01/2014 In: Journal of Agrarian Change. 14, 1, p. 52-73. 22 p.
“God made the soil, but we made it fertile”: gender, knowledge and practice in the formation and use of African Dark Earths in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Frausin, V., Fraser, J., Narmah, W., Lahai, M., Winnebah, T., Fairhead, J., Leach, M. 2014 In: Human ecology.
Anthropogenic dark earths in the landscapes of Upper Guinea, West Africa: intentional or inevitable?
Fraser, J., Leach, M., Fairhead, J. 2014 In: Annals of the Association of American Geographers.
Convergent Adaptations: Bitter Manioc Cultivation Systems in Fertile Anthropogenic Dark Earths and Floodplain Soils in Central Amazonia
Fraser, J.A., Alves-Pereira, A., Junqueira, A.B., Peroni, N., Clement, C.R. 29/08/2012 In: PLoS ONE. 7, 8, 13 p.
Green grabs and biochar: revaluing African soils and farming in the new carbon economy
Leach, M., Fairhead, J., Fraser, J. 2012 In: Journal of peasant studies. 39, 2, p. 285-307. 23 p.
Anthropogenic soils in the Central Amazon: from categories to a continuum
Fraser, J., Teixeira, W., Falcao, N., Woods, W., Lehmann, J., Junqueira, A.B. 09/2011 In: Area. 43, 3, p. 264-273. 10 p.
Crop Diversity on Anthropogenic Dark Earths in Central Amazonia
Fraser, J.A., Junqueira, A.B., Kawa, N.C., Moraes, C.P., Clement, C.R. 08/2011 In: Human ecology. 39, 4, p. 395-406. 12 p.
Homegardens on Amazonian Dark Earths, Non-anthropogenic Upland, and Floodplain Soils along the Brazilian Middle Madeira River Exhibit Diverging Agrobiodiversity
Fraser, J.A., Junqueira, A.B., Clement, C.R. 03/2011 In: Economic botany. 65, 1, p. 1-12. 12 p.
Caboclo Horticulture and Amazonian Dark Earths along the Middle Madeira River, Brazil
Fraser, J.A. 10/2010 In: Human ecology. 38, 5, p. 651-662. 12 p.
The Diversity of Bitter Manioc (Manihot Esculenta Crantz) Cultivation in a Whitewater Amazonian Landscape
Fraser, J. 2010 In: Diversity. 2, 4, p. 586-609. 24 p.
Historical Ecology and Dark Earths in Whitewater and Blackwater Landscapes: Comparing the Middle Madeira and Lower Negro Rivers
Fraser, J., Cardoso, T., Junqueira, A.B., Falcao, N., Clement, C.R. 2009 In: Amazonian dark earths : Wim Sombroeks vision. Dordrecht : Springer Verlag p. 229-264. 36 p.
Dark Earths and manioc cultivation in Central Amazonia: a window on pre-Columbian agricultural systems?
Fraser, J., Clement, C.R. 2008 In: Boletim do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi. Ciências Humanas. 3, 2, p. 175-194. 20 p.