People load crops onto a trailer behind a tractor

Political Ecology

Group Leader

Frances Cleaver

Professor Frances Cleaver

Chair in Political Ecology

Political Ecology


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‘Glocalising’ transboundary water governance: Knowledge, Scale and Practices.
01/02/2021 → 31/12/2021

Illegal trade & sustainable use of medicinal orchids in Nepal
01/10/2020 → 30/09/2022

RESBEN: Unlocking resilient benefits from African water resources
01/04/2020 → 31/12/2023

Supporting Local Officers and Politicians to Implement Rapid Climate Action
01/01/2020 → 31/12/2020

Governing Nepal’s water resources through Environmental Impact Assessments
15/12/2019 → 15/12/2020

ACTUATE : Accelerating the adoption of circular sanitation demonstration systems for improved health outcomes
01/10/2019 → 31/12/2021

GCRF Hub: Living Deltas
13/02/2019 → 12/02/2024

Blue Seas Thinking: A Comparative Approach to Understanding Deep-Sea Mining Politics in the UK and Japan
01/01/2019 → 31/10/2019

Wildlife in Indonesia, Loss, Damage, & Sanctions (WILDS)
01/10/2018 → 31/03/2021

RECIRCULATE : GCRF: Driving eco-innovation in Africa:capacity-building for a safe circular water economy
01/10/2017 → 31/12/2021

RECIRCULATE : GCRF: Driving eco-innovation in Africa:capacity-building for a safe circular water economy
01/10/2017 → 31/12/2021

Assessing the Mitigation Deterrence Effects of GGRs
01/08/2017 → 30/04/2020

Observatoire socio-économique du projet Koniambo
01/02/2017 → 01/11/2019

The Last 100metres : Safeguarding potable water provisioning to urban informal settlements
01/12/2016 → 30/11/2018

ODYSSEA: Observatory of the Dynamics of Interactions Between Societies and Environment in the Amazon
01/01/2016 → 31/12/2019

Amazonian Cities and Extreme Hydro-Climatic Events: Research to Reduce Vulnerability and Build Resilience
01/01/2015 → 30/09/2016

Predicting urban food insecurity under climate change in Brazilian Amazonia
01/01/2014 → 31/12/2017

Low Carbon Innovation in China - Prospects, Politics and Practice
01/12/2013 → 31/05/2017

Research Activity

Political ecology looks at the relationships between culture, politics and nature. The Political Ecology group is a distinct and vibrant cluster of researchers and students. We offer critical perspectives and research on human-environmental issues, particularly the implications of social and environmental relationships and change in the Global South.

We use a combination of approaches and methodologies, working across academic several disciplines. Our group examines how valuable resources, and the benefits that derive from them, are unequally accessed and shared, giving rise to inequalities, conflict, and policy responses. The group's research in rural and urban contexts have included work on mining and extractive industries; livelihoods and moral economies; the politics of land, water, and ‘green’ grabbing; the relationship between climate change and existing social inequalities; fishing and marine ecosystems; forest policy; sustainable transport; poverty and service delivery; and the political economy of global environmental change. We also address the workings of international development, trade (legal and illegal), agri-food systems, and biodiversity conservation.

We work nationally and internationally with a host of academic, government, civil society and private sector partners – including those in Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and South America. We use qualitative and quantitative methods in our research, some of which is co-designed and co-produced with the societies where we work, to support social and environmental justice and sharing of knowledge.

We are a dynamic, diverse and interdisciplinary research group and engage with other clusters of expertise across the University, including:

We also work very closely with members of the Critical Geographies research group, and other groups in LEC, especially the cross-cutting global challenge cluster, Tropical Futures. We are a central node in the international POLLEN network of political ecologists, and the International Journal of Political Ecology is edited from LEC.

Our teaching spans undergraduate degree programmes in Ecology and Conservation and several taught and research Masters degrees including Environment and Development and Sustainable Water Management, and a PhD Programme. We contribute to a number of field-based modules including Amazonia and Paris.

Research Highlights

Further Highlights

Fair access to fish
Researcher wins a prestigious €1.5M grant to explore how small-scale fisheries can help prevent malnutrition in East Africa.

Breaking the deadlock on ivory
Scientists propose a process to protect endangered African elephants that take into account conflicts over values.

The illegal wild orchid trade
The large-scale commercial trade of wild orchids is a pressing, but little-recognised conservation problem, according to researchers.

Decolonising maps
Why Amazonian forest peoples are ‘counter-mapping’ their ancestral lands.

Cities threaten rainforest wildlife
Urban food demand in the Amazon could be hitting wildlife up to 1,000 km away from the city, according to new research.

Remote Amazonian cities more vulnerable to climate change
Amazonians living in remote cities are more vulnerable to flooding and droughts than more accessible centres, researchers at Lancaster University have discovered.

Safe water hope for slum dwellers
Attempts to deliver safe water to people living in some of the world’s poorest slums are falling at the final hurdle, according to research led by Lancaster.

Fishing and human rights
Scientists launch global agenda to curb social and human rights abuses in the international seafood sector.

Interdisciplinary research with impact
Natural and social scientists must work together to influence policy, says Lancaster’s new Professor of Political Ecology.

Mining the deep
Political ecologist wins prestigious ‘Future research leader’ fellowship to study the geopolitics of deep-sea mining, the latest frontier of resource extraction.

Political Ecology
New Lancaster research group focusses on how people interact with the environment at a social, political and economic level.