Areas of specialization: Ecological anthropology

The Development of palm oil industry in North Sumatera, Indonesia

Yudi Bachrioktora, M.A.

My research will focus on the development of palm oil industry and its impacts on ecological, socio-economic and cultural life of the communities around the palm oil plantations in North Sumatera Province, Indonesia. This research will focus on how the communities respond and negotiate with the expansion of palm oil industry.

Towards food sustainability: Reshaping the coexistence of different food systems in South America and Africa

Prof. Tobias Haller, Fabian Käser, M.A.

The Centre for Development and Environment (CDE, Uni Bern) takes the lead in this SNSF funded Research For Development (R4D) project dealing with the interdependence of several food systems (domestic, national and international) to be compared in Bolivia and Kenya. The concept of food systems analyses the whole network from access to resources, production distribution and consumption and focuses at interrelations of these food systems to each other. Four work packages share the coordinated analysis on the level of

legal aspects and the right to food (WP1)
institutional analysis and access to land and land related common pool resources (WP2)
value chains and interrelations between the food systems (WP3)
Impacts on ecosystem aspects of the food systems (WP4).

In WP 2 PhD candidate PhD candidate Fabian Käser analyses the domestic food systems and its relation to water and land management starting from an analysis of a water use association in Laikipia area in Kenya. A Kenyan PhD and MA student study the national and international food systems. In Bolivia Prof.  T. Haller and MA F. Käser help coordinating research on the international food system (one Bolivian PhD, one Bolivian MA) as well as an indigenous domestic and an alternative food system (two Swiss MA students).

Constitutionality: Bottom-up Institution Building and Resource Governance

Prof. Dr. Tobias Haller

In collaboration with CDE (Prof. Dr. Stephan Rist) another PhD project looks at a new concept called constitutionality. By this term we research how under asymmetric power constellations for the management of common pool resources a sense of local ownership in the bottom-up institution building process can be created. We look at bottom-up resource management of forests in  Senegal (PhD Papa Faye, finalized 2014), the Mediterrean (Israel (Mt Camel) and Spain (Mallorca); comparative PhD Ramez Eid, finalized 2015) and Bolivia (lowland indigenous groups in protected areas; PhD Helen Gambon at CDE to be finalized).

See poster constitutionality

See publication:

Haller, T., Acciaioli, G and Rist, S. 2015. Constitutionality: Conditions for Crafting Local Ownership of Institution-Building Processes. Society and Natural Resources. , 1-20.

Special issue in Human Ecology in planning (special issue accepted)

Link to the Project

Pasture commons, institutional change and conflicts in the Swiss Alps: Negociations and institution building in Laax und Sumvitg (GR)

Gabriela Landolt

This ongoing PhD project of Gabriela Landolt is looking at the conflicts over the management of Alpine pastures in the Canton Grison) and explores in comparison issues of collective action and power constellations in two common property pasture areas (Laax and Sumvitg). First peer reviewed publication is out with the journal Human Organization:

Landolt, G., and Haller, T. 2015. Alpine Common Property Institutions under Change: Conditions for Successful and Unsuccessful Collective Action by Alpine Farmers in the Canton of Grisons, Switzerland. Human Organization, 74(1):100-111.

Contested claims: The Debate between State, Sami Parliament and Local Organizations about Fjordal Resources in Northern Norway

Angelika Lätsch

In 1990, a vessel quota system was introduced in cod fisheries due to overfishing the previous decades. As a consequence, many small-scale fishers, especially those of Sami origin, were excluded from this specific fishery. My research project describes the fight of the Norwegian coastal Sami to regain their former fishing rights, among other things in reference to their status as an indigenous people. In this context, collective identity plays a crucial role.

Why Reforestation Fails: Institutional Change, Climate Change and Migration in Coastal Yucatán, Mexico

Lysann Schneider

This PhD of Lysann Schneider focuses on a combined analysis of the failure of reforestation policies under climate and institutional change in Yucatán, Mexico.