Luke is a social scientist interested in identifying pathways towards socially-just and sustainable futures for tropical forest regions, particularly the Amazon. His research makes links between political ecology (particularly of health), food systems, urbanisation and climatic change. He uses mainly quantitative approaches and seeks to ask and answer policy-relevant questions. Luke has been working in, and learning about, the ecological, social, health and political dimensions of tropical forests since 2002. His teaching in Lancaster has two strands; geographies of health, and debates around conservation and development in Amazonia.
Luke's current research focuses mainly on the relationships between social inequities, health and climate change. For instance, his recent paper in Social Science and Medicine draws on the concept of 'invisibility' to explore systematic biases in current understanding of climate-health risks in Latin America. His empirical research is based around:
(1) Understanding linkages between social inequities, climatic shocks, and food and nutritional insecurity.
(2) Harvesting and consumption of bushmeat and fishes, linking normative perspectives on human health and dignity (in relation to food and nutrition security), local ecological knowledge and conservation of biodiversity and natural ecosystems.
(3) Water vulnerability in the semi-arid Caatinga social-ecological system in the North-East of Brazil. Led by Dr Felipe Melo from the Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil.
(4) Collaborative research addressing the causes and social and ecological consequences of environmental change in Amazonia (e.g. caring for nature, peasant livelohoods, deforestation and agricultural land-uses,)