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Geoff Wells is a post-doctoral researcher analysing how nature contributes to dimensions of human wellbeing in different socio-ecological contexts across ~8000 rural households in East and Southern Africa, India, Bangladesh and South America (see the Nature4SDGs project). He also occasionally teaches mixed methods for social-ecological research to SRC masters students, and is a part of the SRC research ethics committee.
Wells has a PhD from the Global Change Institute, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh (UK). This research used statistics and qualitative comparative methods to assess the social and environmental drivers of variability (and associated uncertainty) in land cover across a series of smallholder agroforestry projects in developing countries. This work also investigated ways to improve the use of scientific and local knowledge in smallholder land use programmes, including by adopting approaches related to complex systems, adaptive management and post-normal science.
Prior to the PhD, Wells worked as a research assistant at the University of Edinburgh, and as a project officer at the International Institute for Environment and Development (UK). In these roles he worked on a range of topics around the participatory design and monitoring of land use and development programmes in East Africa and Latin America.
Wells has an MSc in Ecosystem Services (Distinction) from University of Edinburgh and a BA in International Studies from University of Canberra (Australia), and previously worked as a researcher on international treaties in the Australian Parliament’s House of Representatives Committee Office.
Generally, Wells is interested in using the increasing amount of data available to us to test theories on how adaptive management and participatory decision making may help or hinder natural resource management programmes. He is also keen to develop methods and professional learning networks to assist facilitators of (formal and informal) adaptive management at the local level: successful NRM often relies on dynamic individuals (or ‘boundary actors’) who can understand and reconcile the perspectives of many different groups, yet the role of such actors appears to often go unnoticed – Wells is keen to build recognition and support for these people.