Mahesh Poudyal

Social Scientist | Researcher

environment, development, natural resources, institutions, poverty, livelihood, gender, climate change, equity, environmental justice


I am an environmental social scientist with over 15 years of policy-oriented research experience in developing countries in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa 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. The focus of my work is primarily on the poverty-environment nexus, with current research extending to the issues of environmental justice particularly in relation to forest governance and climate change mitigation policies. I'm currently a Research Associate at King's College London.

Read more about my current and past research projects HERE.

Publications (selected)

  • Poudyal, M., J.P.G. Jones, O.S. Rakotonarivo, N. Hockley, J.M. Gibbons, R. Mandrimbiniaina, A. Rasoamanana, N.S. Andrianantenaina (2018) “Who bears the cost of forest conservation?”, PeerJ 6:e5106
  • Schreckenberg, K., G. Mace, and M. Poudyal (Eds.) (2018) Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation: Trade-offs and Governance. London: Routledge. Open Access Book, download from:
  • Rafidimanantsoa, H., M. Poudyal, B. Ramamonjisoa, and J.P.G. Jones (2018). “Mind the gap: the use of research in protected area management in Madagascar.” Madagascar Conservation & Development. Available at:
  • Jones, J.P.G., R. Mandimbiniaina, R. Kelly, P. Ranjatson, B. Rakotojoelina, K. Schreckenberg, and M. Poudyal (2018) “Human migration to the forest frontier: implications for land use change and conservation management.” Geo: Geography and Environment 2018;e00050.
  • O.S. Rakotonarivo, J.B. Jacobsen, M. Poudyal, A. Rasoamanana, N. Hockley (2018) "Estimating welfare impacts where property rights are contested: methodological and policy implications", Land Use Policy 70: 71-83.
  • Poudyal, M., B.S. Ramamonjisoa, N. Hockley, O.S. Rakotonarivo, J.M. Gibbons, R. Mandimbiniaina, A. Rasoamanana, J.P.G. Jones (2016) "Can REDD+ social safeguards reach the ‘right’ people? Lessons from Madagascar", Global Environmental Change 37: 31-42.
  • Sandström, S., M. Poudyal, S. Berg Lejon, and G. Lidestav (2016) “Absent neighbours and passive shareholders – The issue of residency and involvement in the management of a forest common”, Journal of Forest Economics, 24: 205-217.
  • Poudyal, M., G. Lidestav, P. Sandström, and S. Sandström (2015) "Supporting community governance in boreal forests by introducing participatory-GIS through action research", International Journal of Action Research, 11(3): 236-264.
  • Poudyal, M., B. Adhikari, and J. Lovett (2014) "Community-Based Leasehold Forestry in Nepal: A Genuine Tenure Reform in Progress?", in R. Bluffstone and E.J.Z. Robinson (eds) Forest Tenure Reform in Asia and Africa: Local Control for Improved Livelihoods and Forest Management, RFF Press.
  • Adhikari, B., D. Knowler, M. Poudyal, and W. Haider (2013) “Park-people conflicts, rhino conservation and poverty alleviation in Nepal”, in P.J.H. van Beukering et. al. (eds) Nature’s Wealth: The Economics of Ecosystem Services and Poverty, pp 37-55. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lidestav, G., M. Poudyal, E. Holmgren, and E.C.H. Keskitalo (2013) “Shareholder perceptions of individual and common benefits in Swedish Forest Commons”, International Journal of the Commons 7(1): 164-182.
  • Poudyal, M. (2011) “Chiefs and trees: tenures and incentives in the management and use of two multipurpose tree species in agroforestry parklands in Northern Ghana”, Society and Natural Resources 24(10): 1063-1077.
  • Poudyal, M., K. Rothley, and D. Knowler (2009) “Ecological and economic analysis of poaching of the greater one horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) in Nepal”, Ecological Applications 19(7): 1693-1707.
Find out more, including full text links HERE.
‘My Citations’ on Google Scholar

About Me

I’m proficient in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods social science research, especially in relation to poverty-environment nexus, with publication record in high-impact journals. I’m an efficient project manager with experience of leading significant portions of large interdisciplinary and multi-partner research projects.

Previously, I've been a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme directorate (August 2017-June 2018); in the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography at Bangor University (Sep 2013-Jan 2017); and in the Department of Forest Resource Management at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Umeå (Sep 2011-Sep 2013). Until March 2011, I was a Research Associate in Environment Department at the University of York, UK. At York, I was involved in EU sixth framework project, INNOVKAR, on ‘sustainable management of shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) in Sudano-Sahelian zone’, and worked as the leader for the workpackage looking at the shea parkland dynamics in relation to climate and land use change. I received my PhD in Environment and Politics from the University of York in 2010. I have a Master of Resource Management degree from Simon Fraser University in Canada, and a BSc in Environment, Economics and Ecology from the University of York, UK.

I am interested in using open-source tools in my research as much as is possible, and primarily rely on R for data analysis and visualisation, QGIS for spatial analysis, and collaborative platforms such as GitHub to share my work.

View/download my full resume HERE.


I can be reached at @mpoudyal or via email.