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People Dr Nathan Clay

Associate, Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food


Nathan Clay

Human Geography Postdoctoral Researcher

Nathan is a geographer and postdoctoral researcher working on LEAP’s Enabling Change component. Trained in social and natural sciences as well as the humanities, he has worked on issues of environment and development in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America for the past ten years. His research concentrates on agrarian change and food security in the context of global climate change. Employing case studies rooted in political ecology, he develops empirical understanding of how institutions and social-environmental variability shape adaptive capacity; in other words, how producers come to differ in their abilities to adaptively manage environmental and social uncertainties.

Nathan’s current work investigates political ecologies of dairy system transitions in the European Union (EU). The broad aim of this research is to detect opportunities and constraints surrounding transformational change in dairy production that can promote environmentally sustainable and socially just trajectories of rural development. He considers an array of factors and social-environmental processes involved in adoption of agri-environmental schemes. A key question he asks is how dairy producers have adapted farm management within the context of EU greening reforms, other agri-environmental schemes, and low milk prices. Nathan considers the effects of these state interventions to ensure dairy sustainability and competitiveness at farm and landscape levels.

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