I am currently working on several research projects:
Mega-Development, Scientific Expertise, and the Remaking of Indonesia's Peatlands This project investigates a failed 1990s state-led scheme to turn one million hectares of peat swamp forest in Indonesian Borneo into rice paddy to satisfy domestic food self-sufficiency goals. In contrast to studies of causes of failed state-led development schemes, I investigate how these schemes catalyze new forms of development and conservation through regimes of scientific knowledge. Read more about this project here.
Data Infrastructure, Nature, and Politics Drawing on both qualitative methods and critical GIS, this line of research looks at publicly accessible, remote environmental detection technologies (remote sensing) and their implementation in Southeast Asia. Governments and corporations are increasingly using this type of global monitoring to determine how land should be developed or conserved, with consequences for forest inhabitants and the environment. I am also investigating how remote environmental monitoring changes land governance practices.
Assessing Mercury Use from Small-Scale Illegal Gold Mining in Indonesia With funding from Cornell's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future Academic Venture Fund, this project addresses human and biophysical dynamics of mercury use in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. With an inter-disciplinary team including environmental engineers and political scientists, our objective is to create interventions to reduce local use of mercury in ASGM and mitigate exposure of existing mercury in local food and water systems. We will take measurements of mercury concentrations in biota and humans; investigate local strategies to minimize risks associated with mercury use in ASGM; and assess efficacy of the UN Minamata Convention in reducing mercury use. In collaboration with Katingan Project partners, we will also determine how forest rehabilitation activities can remediate land degradation from mining.