Oscar Morton, MRes

Research

My research this year is fOmortonPicocusing on how shifting cultivation – a form of subsistence agriculture practice prevalent in the tropics – damages both carbon stocks and biodiversity under current scenarios. The practice creates a fluid spatial environment forming a mosaic of land uses including settlements, crops, secondary forest fallows and primary forest. I will also further examine the political, economic and cultural factors driving these small-scale cultivators to reduce fallow periods and exacerbate deforestation often leading to yield losses and reduced food security.

There is an opportunity here for carbon-based payments for ecosystem services based on the secondary forest regrowth during the fallow period. If the carbon accumulation rate is great enough this could be used to fund the opportunity cost of conserving the land currently occupied by shifting cultivators. I’m really interested in considering alternative scenarios where the carbon payments can be used to shift the culturally integral practice back to a more ecologically sustainable long fallow system. I will mostly be using collected carbon data and local level cost data from regions in North east India.

About me

In my spare time I am a keen foodie and enjoy cooking and baking with mixed success. When I get the chance, I love being outside and hiking in the peaks around Sheffield, often with a book as I am a keen reader and enjoy little more than reading in the sun. Being passionate regarding animal welfare I regularly volunteer at a local animal shelter and at home we have 3 rescue hamsters and 2 cats.