The 106th RIHN seminar

 1. Destruction of Cambodia's forests.
 2. Social-Ecological Systems Research

We will hold a seminar on the 18th November as follows. It will be the last presentation by the two visiting research fellows: Andrew Cock and Tom Evans. Feel free to join.

Date and time: November 18th, 2014 (Tuesday) 14:00-16:00
Place: Seminar room 3&4( → Access)


  1. ① Andrew Cock (30 minutes)
  2. Are the world’s remaining tropical forests doomed? Insights from the political economy of forestry in Cambodia

    This presentation examines the destruction of Cambodia’s forests over the past two decades. It frames the domestic and international policies that have driven the denudation of Cambodia’s landscape in terms of what I call the “global problematique”. Two critically important questions are addressed. First, why was the ruling elite of a state highly dependent on foreign aid able to evade and neutralize much of the forestry policy reform agenda promoted by these aid organizations and the non-governmental organizations with which they often worked? Second, why did the interaction between the ruling elite and these reform-minded external actors seem to contribute more to the enhancement of the elite’s control over Cambodia’s forestland than to further the interests of Cambodia’s overwhelmingly rural population?

    The presentation will report on some of the findings of a forthcoming book on Cambodian forestry to be published by NIAS Press. Please see:

  3. ② Tom Evans (30 minutes)
  4. Moving Beyond Case Studies in Social-Ecological Systems Research

    Massive investments have been made in case-study based research on different types of social-ecological systems and this scientific mode has produced many valuable findings. Yet there are significant questions whether case-study research is capable of perhaps only incremental scientific progress when arguably revolutionary solutions are needed given the threats currently facing global systems and human welfare. This presentation will discuss the prospects for moving beyond case-study research through the design of long-term research visions and methods for data integration. This agenda relates to several ambitious scientific challenges in human-environment research. For example, how can research findings and data from diverse sites be harmonized to produce the types of theoretical developments necessary to find pathways to sustainable futures? Can findings derived from one type of resource system (e.g. fisheries) be used to inform successful governance of another type of resource (e.g. irrigation systems)? How can researchers be incentivized to allocate the time and energy necessary to facilitate cross-site analysis? This presentation will not answer all of these questions but will discuss different cross-site analysis “success stories” as well as “failures” to hopefully catalyze discussion of how such a long-term scientific research vision might be implemented.

  5. ③ Discussion (1 hour)