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David Humphreys's OpenLearn Profile

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Profile: David Humphreys

David Humphreys


David Humphreys is Professor of Environmental Policy in the Geography department of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.


David has a long-standing interest in environmental policy and environmental politics, with a particular interest in international forest policy. He hashave tracked the evolution of all international forest policy initiatives over the last 25 years, both within and outside the United Nations.

David has written two books on this subject, Forest Politics: The Evolution of International Cooperation (1996) and Logjam: Deforestation and the Crisis of Global Governance (2006), the latter of which won the International Studies Association’s Sprout Award for the best book of the year on international environmental problems. In 2015 hewas awarded an Honorary Fellowship with the Institute of Chartered Foresters.

He is also interested in researching international climate change policy, including the controversial proposal for ‘geoengineering’, namely global level interventions in the atmosphere to control the Earth’s temperature to counter the effects of human-induced climate change. Most recently he has been researching the idea of rights of nature in South America, its legal codification in Ecuador and Bolivia and the international emergence of this idea in 2009.

David has take a keen interest in all areas of sustainability policy which, in addition to forests, includes fisheries. Interestingly, similar policy initiatives have been created to deal with both sustainable forest management and sustainable fisheries management, namely the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) respectively. He isinterested in exploring the similarities and differences between these two processes.


David has taught on a range of The Open University modules on the environment at both undergraduate and Masters levels. He iscurrently co-chairing the production of The Open University’s new Level 3 module Environmental policy in an international context (EPIC). In 2017 hereceived a UK national Teaching Fellowship.

Policy relevant work

David iskeen to work on policy relevant initiatives that may make a difference ‘on the ground’ and have been a co-author of several policy reports produced by International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) expert panels and working groups. Hewas a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the European Forest Institute for five years.