The epistemic politics of nature-based solutions: Knowing carbon in Scottish land governance



Current Research

Theo is an environmental geographer researching the social and political elements of 'nature-based' carbon sequestration projects in Scotland. His research is co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and Hertford College's Mortimer-May Scholarship.

Theo's research examines how the turn towards 'nature-based solutions' in Scotland's Net Zero policy is having an impact on people and landscape. Empirically, he uses a mixture of ethnographic and interview techniques to research how knowledge relating to afforestation, reforestation and peatland restoration is constructed, and how this knowledge has socio-material effects. His research aims can be broken into two strands:


  • How can carbon ever be sufficiently 'known' enough to be valued?
  • What political and technological factors determine how carbon is measured and calculated?
  • Why are some ways of knowing carbon preferred over others?


  • How is the 'turn' towards maximising carbon sequestration being used by different groups?
  • Does increasing attention on land-based carbon shape or reinforce hegemonic land governance practices?
  • Does a focus on carbon deter from considering other social and ecological issues?

Theo's broader research interests include: political ecology, new materialisms, the philosophy, sociology and geography of science, post-structuralist social theory and geographies of the Anthropocene.

In 2019, Theo completed the MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance in the School of Geography and the Environment. His dissertation focused on the post-colonial politics of forest clearance and conservation in Loita Forest, Southern Kenya. After graduating, he taught on the MSc and worked for the conservation NGO Global Canopy. He holds a BA (hons, First Class) in Philosophy from the University of Bristol.


  • Hertford College Mortimer-May Scholarship (2020-2023)
  • University of Oxford. Economic and Social Research Council Studentship (2020-2023)
  • University of Cambridge. Economic and Social Research Council Studentship (2020-2023) (Declined)
  • Nature, Society and Environmental Governance MSc Best Overall Performance Prize 2019
  • Nature, Society and Environmental Governance MSc Best Dissertation Prize 2019
  • University of Bristol

Current Teaching

Recent Publications