Adrian joined the Business School in 2012 after being a Senior Lecturer, Reader and Professor of Geographical Sciences between 1985 and 2006. Prior to that he was a Lecturer and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Zambia for 10 years.
He has been involved in research, teaching and field activities concerned with African development and the environment for more than three decades. His work links field research to teaching and advisory support for a number of NGOs and government agencies. He has also worked with a range of international development agencies such as the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Bank and UK AID / DFID. He has also worked with the governments of Zambia, Ethiopia and Malawi, and with the World Conservation Union and the Ramsar Convention.
He has been the Director of the Centre for Wetlands, Environment and Livelihoods at the University and is also a Director of a European based NGO, Wetland Action.
Adrian’s research is involved with the link between natural resource management and livelihoods in Africa, with a focus on the development of enterprises which enhance the value of natural resources and so motivate sustainable management of these areas. There are two main foci of this work: wetlands and forests, although the two are often linked.
The wetland work concerns addressing the gap between conservationist views of wetlands and the agro-development approach to these areas. Between the extremes of protected areas and agricultural estates are the 99% of wetlands in the developing world which are used by communities in a variety of ways to meet their livelihood needs. This may be for domestic water, agriculture, fishing, gathering of craft and medicinal materials and grazing of livestock. As the population grows in these parts of the world, as uplands become more degraded, and as rainfall becomes more variable with climate change, there are increasing pressures on these wetlands. The challenge now is to develop sustainable use regimes which help ensure that livelihood benefits can be maintained for the future. Projects which are exploring this have been undertaken in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zambia and Malawi.
The forestry work addresses the need to increase the value of natural forests so that communities will be motivated to protect and manage them in a sustainable way. The main initiative here is a ten year (2003-2013), EU funded, project looking at the development of non-timber forest products in the tropical montane rain forests of south-west Ethiopia. This involves developing market linkages for a range of forest products, such as coffee, honey and spices, and linking this to the development of local community institutions which can undertake marketing and forest management. Major policy discussions are also on-going with government to facilitate these changes. The methods developed through the initial forest products project are now being applied to the management of forests for the conservation of wild coffee, again with EU funding, but also with a grant from the UK government’s Darwin Initiative. This project runs for five years, 2010 to 2015.