Dr Mahesh Poudyal

Lecturer in Conservation Social Science,
+44 (0)1227 82 3550
Dr Mahesh Poudyal


Dr Poudyal is an environmental social scientist with research interests in socio-economic and institutional aspects of biodiversity conservation, natural resource management and utilisation, customary land and tree tenure systems, and gender, poverty and rural livelihoods. 

Adept in both qualitative and quantitative research methods, he has conducted extensive fieldwork to study natural resource management and governance at the local level in Nepal, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Uganda and Sweden; and to study impacts of conservation on local communities in Nepal and Madagascar.

The focus of Dr Poudyal’s work is primarily on the poverty-environment nexus, with current research extending to the issues of environmental justice, particularly in relation to conservation, forest governance and climate change mitigation policies. Prior to joining Kent, he was a Research Associate in the Department of Geography at King’s College London coordinating the NERC-funded Nature4SDGs project. 

Previously, he held postdoctoral positions at:

  • the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme directorate (August 2017-June 2018)
  • the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography at Bangor University (Sep 2013-Jan 2017)
  • the Department of Forest Resource Management at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Umeå (Sep 2011-Sep 2013).

Research interests

Dr Poudyal is broadly interested in studying the impacts of conservation and climate change mitigation policies at the local level, particularly in communities that are heavily reliant on natural resources for their livelihood.

In recent years he has analysed the local impacts of conservation in Madagascar and has demonstrated that poor, resource-dependent communities bear the cost of conservation while not receiving much benefit. Following on from these and similar findings, he is particularly interested in critically examining conservation and environmental/climate change policies and governance from equity, environmental justice and human rights-based approaches to engage with contemporary discourses in conservation research and practice.

Dr Poudyal is also interested in utilising existing data on poverty-environment nexus, particularly those that have not been fully analysed and published, including from some of his own past research projects. His most recent work with Nature4SDGs project involved the analysis of existing datasets from nine past projects looking at ecosystem services and human wellbeing, primarily in the low and middle-income countries.



  • ANTS3080: Academic and Research Skills  
  • GEOG3004: Environmental Sustainability
  • GEOG5001: Methods and Field Work in Social Science
  • WCON5460: Conservation and Communities (Module Convenor)


  • DICE8800: Conservation and Community Development (Module Convenor)  
  • DICE8850: Ecotourism and Rural Development Field Course (Module convenor)
  • DICE8880: Economics of Biodiversity Conservation (Module convenor)


Dr Poudyal would be pleased to hear from students interested in pursuing Masters’ and PhD studies that align with his research interests in: conservation and environmental justice; market-based mechanisms in environment and conservation; and community-based conservation and natural resource governance.

Current PhD students

  • Shaleen Attre: Human-snake conflict and efficacy of related mitigation measures in India (primary supervisor) 
  • Dominique Gonçalves: Living with giants: landscape occupancy and habitat choice by elephants in Gorongosa National Park (co-supervisor)
  • Javiera Malebrán Muñoz: Local ecological knowledge and biosphere reserve governance in Chile (co-supervisor) 
  • Jess Bodgener: Wildlife health and management of Leopards (Panthera pardus) captured in response to Human-Wildlife Conflict in Nepal (co-supervisor) 


  • Member of the Editorial Board, Scientific Data journal
  • Member, International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) and European Society for Ecological Economics (ESEE)
  • Member, Britain-Nepal Academic Council (BNAC) 
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