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About Ian Scoones

Director

Ian is an agricultural ecologist whose research links natural and social sciences, focusing on relationships between science and technology, local knowledge and livelihoods and the politics of agricultural, environment and development policy processes.

All posts by Ian

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Why politics has to be at the heart of any response to zoonoses

World Zoonoses Day, on July 6 every year, is a reminder of the continuing problem of emerging diseases, particularly those originating in animals. Zoonoses have dominated policy debates in the past years – from SARS to avian influenza to Ebola. There have been calls to control ‘at source’ and stamp out such diseases through a…

Should we blame livestock for climate change?

Livestock are essential to rural economies and livelihoods across the world. But are these animals contributing to planetary destruction through greenhouse gas emissions? Estimates suggest that 14.5% of all anthropogenic GHG emissions are from livestock, and nearly all of this is from grazing ruminants. But what to do about it? This is a big debate,…

Sheep in a field in Wales, Photo: Andrew Hill

Wilderness for whom? Negotiating the role of livestock in landscapes

Livestock keeping is seen by some as a scourge on ‘natural’ landscapes, creating devastation through grazing and browsing. Reversion to some form of idealised ‘wilderness’ is seen as the solution, with value created through improved aesthetics, tourism and enhanced ecosystem services.This has been a focus by the ‘re-wilding’ debate. This takes on many forms, but…

Herders and their livestock. Photo: Matteo Caravani

The vegan craze: what does it mean for pastoralists?

by Ian Scoones There’s a vegan craze in full swing in Brighton in the UK – and it seems more broadly. There was a vegan festival near my house the other weekend, and vegan graffiti (in washable chalk, I hasten to add) appears frequently in our local park. My daughter became a vegan for a…

Food

Narratives of scarcity and the global land rush

by Ian Scoones Narratives of scarcity dominate policy discourses about resources, including land. This was certainly the case during the peak of the global land rush, as we show in a paper recently published online in Geoforum (open access, which is part of a forthcoming special issue on the politics of scarcity) The paper is written with Rebecca…

Why killing reindeer is poor science

The Norwegian state has ordered Sami reindeer owners to reduce the size of their herds to the ‘carrying capacity’ deemed acceptable by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, arguing that high stocking rates detrimentally affect the fragile tundra ecosystem. Herder Jovvset Ánte Sara has been battling the state in the courts, resisting the requirement to reduce his…

The many futures of pastoralism in the Horn of Africa

A 2016 article by Andy Catley, Jeremy Lind and Ian Scoones – The futures of pastoralism in the Horn of Africa: pathways of growth and change – outlines the different pathways of change emerging in the Horn of Africa. It is published in the Revue scientifique et technique (International Office of Epizootics) and is part of a special issue edited by…

Pastoralism is changing in the Horn of Africa

A few weeks back, Ian Scoones, representing the PASTRES project, joined Andy Catley and Peter Little in a webinar organised by the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University, and chaired by Greg Gottlieb, the Center’s director. The one-hour webinar, aimed at policymakers, donors and field practitioners, can be listened to again here. It gets going about 6 minutes…

Care or control? Four challenges for transformations to sustainability

This post introduces a series of blog posts on ‘Transformations’, our theme for 2018. Transformation is one of those buzz words that’s everywhere these days, especially in relation to the big issues of our time such as sustainability. But what does it mean, and how do we go about it? Over the last year or…

This post introduces a series of blog posts on ‘Transformations’, our theme for 2018. Transformation is one of those buzz words that’s everywhere these days, especially in relation to the big issues of our time such as sustainability. But what does it mean, and how do we go about it? Over the last year or…

Large old telephone switchboard with connecting wires

Want to transform access to technology? Follow the invisible threads

by Adrian Smith, Rob Byrne, David Ockwell and Ian Scoones This is one in a series of four blog posts exploring ideas and case studies on ‘transformations’, drawing on research carried out in 2017 and looking forward to the STEPS Centre’s work in 2018. For background and links to the other posts, read the introduction….