Mogens Buch-Hansen

Mogens Buch-Hansen

Lic.Scient. & PhD

  • Universitetsvej 1, 26.0

    DK-4000 Roskilde


If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


At the theoretical level my research is focussing on space as an integrated part of economic, social and political development. The utilisation of the natural resources creates an infrastructure, or add human made capital to the ‘natural' space, as well as the transformation of the natural resources in the production process of commodities and the subsequent consumption of the commodities create an infrastructure, that is: building human capital in terms of a location and its network in space. This territorial structure, created through mining/utilisation of natural resources and their transformation in production, their subsequent consumption and their final stage as deposits of waste in soil, water or air, is a circular process with physical ramifications are playing a decisive role in how subsequent circular processes are repeated. Through the tilling of the soil, the management of the water resources, the possible construction of irrigation systems or terraces, the construction of markets and roads etc., the location becomes an important production factor in itself as well as it becomes a location with cultural affinities for the communities and populations living there.
If this circular process can be repeated indefinitely, the society is truly sustainable in the deep sense of the concept. However, in the course of history, natural resources have been converted into human made capital. Whether this process is sustainable in the short term and the long term depends on whether the quality of human made capital makes up for the depletion of natural resources that will allow contemporary communities around the globe as well as future generations to fulfil their needs. Space is the basic and most important dimension of sustainability!
At the practical level, the research concentrates on the role of environmental management in a development context and specifically the role of small-scale farmers, who are normally the most important environmental managers in the developing world, in managing agriculture as part of their local resources. Through the management of their natural resources in the local territorial structure the land managers create the livelihoods of their communities that include the production oriented farming in the broader frame of rural development. My research has focussed on local environmental management, agriculture and small-scale farming communities in Africa and Southeast Asia in the context of globalisation. 
With the thread of global warming, my research has recently focussed more on small-scale farming communities' possible contribution to mitigation of greenhouse gasses through carbon sequestration (e.g. agro forestry) but especially on small-scale farming communities' necessary adaptation to changing conditions for production and maintenance of livelihoods. Space is essential for understanding options for adaptation.

Selected recent publications:
The latest phase in globalizing Thailand's agricultural resources. Occasional Papers no. 24, IDS, Roskilde University, 2006, p. 190-204
Rethinking Sustainable Natural Resource Management in Thailand. Journal of Political Ecology, Vol. 13, 2006, p. 48-59
The Territorialisation of Rural Thailand between Localism, Nationalism and Globalism: Institutional Forces in a Theory of Local Development. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Vol. 94, No. 3, 2003. Reprinted in: Nijenhuis, Broekhuis and van Westen (eds.): Space and Place in Development Geography. Dutch University Press 2005.
Agriculture and trade as a part of a Global Deal in ‘Closing the gap'. Anthology on the need for a New Global Deal. Danish Association for Protection of Nature. 2002
Is Sustainable Agriculture in Thailand Feasible? Journal of Sustainable Agriculture. Vol. 18, No. 2/3, 2001. Reprinted in NIAS: Institutions, Livelihoods and the Environment. Copenhagen 2001
Environment - a liability and an asset for economic development: some views on environmental protection with economic development in Bhutan. International Journal for Sustainable Development and World Ecology. Vol. 4, 1997, p. 17-27

To see the full document: click here
Mogens Buch-Hansen  
Profession: Associate Professor
Born: 1947
Nationality: Danish
Family Status: Married with two children

Key Qualifications
Academic background in economic geography, which apart from the spatial dimension of the man-nature relationship and general economics includes agricultural economics, regional science and physical planning.
Subsidiary subjects: Anthropology and cultural sociology.
I have during my professional life in teaching, research, consultancies, implementation of development projects and writings specialised in development problems with particular emphasis on socio-economic and institutional aspects of environmental, agricultural and regional development. As my research has focussed on small scale farmers and local level development, I have very much used participatory research methodologies, involving all stakeholders as well as analysed the development concept as a comprehensive process from the local to the global level. 
From July 2006 to end January 2007 I worked on a contract with Danida as interim adviser on the Danida/Sida Environment Programme Support (EPS) with the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in Kenya. My job was to kick-start component implementation, prepare a plan for the inception phase and ensure that appropriate management and coordination mechanisms are in place for implementation of the NEMA component of the EPS. As I was involved in the planning of the EPS and as I through my work with ICRAF - described below - have been updated on environmental issues in Kenya in a global context, the NEMA assignment has complemented my knowledge of environmental issues in Kenya.
In 2004-05 I have had a seven months assignment with ICRAF with the purpose of exploring the institutional mechanisms that could make ‘payment for environmental services' work. The assignment has primarily focussed on the institutional mechanisms to be in place to allow small scale farmers, practising agro-forestry, to benefit from economic rewards through the CDM. Part of the assignment has been to prepare for and conduct participatory research among local communities to assess opportunity costs of different types of land use and institutional arrangements with a view to minimise transaction costs. The result of the short-term assignment is preparation of two pilot studies for implementing smallholder LULUCF CDM projects in Nyando River Basin (Kenya) and Claveria (Philippines) with a view to identify institutional capacities and links from the individual farmer/local community level to national DOEs and the DNA.
In 2004 I was also offered the job as Chief Sector Advisor to the Danida funded Agricultural Sector Programme Support to Bangladesh. Although the assignment was an attractive professional challenge, I opted for joining my wife to Tanzania where she has been posted since September 2004. This allows me to fulfil the above mentioned assignment with ICRAF as well as taking up consultancies in East Africa. 
I have since 1996 been involved in establishing and managing the university consortium partnership between universities in Denmark, Thailand, Malaysia and southern Africa on Sustainable Land Use and Natural Resource Management (SLUSE). Through the programme new curricula have established at the involved universities as well as the programme has sought to provide the necessary knowledge foundation for implementing the curricula and for policy interventions in land use and natural resource management. The SLUSE programme has been supplemented by a research project, focussing on the changing conditions for natural resource management in Thailand under the era of globalisation, funded by the Danish Council for Economic and Social Research. 14 publications have so far been the outcome of my work with agriculture and natural resource management in Thailand (See List of Publications no 60-74). 
From 1993 to 1996 I worked as senior environmental specialist to the Royal Government of Bhutan with integrating environmental aspects in the socio-economic development in Bhutan. Being the only expatriate advisor to the National Environment Commission my work was to assist and facilitate in building up its secretariat, assess and recommend for funding of environmental projects, institutionalise EIAs for development projects, draft the National Environment Strategy (The Middle Path), create awareness of environmental issues within the public and private sectors and in the society in general as well as prepare for environmental legislation.
From 1985 to 1989 I worked as project co-ordinator/chief advisor to the Rural Development Fund Programme in Kenya, which has financed 500 projects in average a year since its start in 1975. The aim of that Programme was to decentralise identification, planning and implementation of small-scale development projects. As co-ordinator my job was to liase between the donor organisations (the three Scandinavian donors provided 90% of the 10 Million $ annual budget) and the Kenyan Government. As chief advisor my job was to assist in implementing the Governments development strategy and to make the Rural Development Fund Programme and its expatriate advisors support institutional development at the decentralised level.
Through my academic work as well as through my long term and short term consultancies I have especially focussed on institutional aspects of sustainable utilisation of natural resources at the farmers level, which includes sustainable agriculture, social forestry and other means of combining social and cultural aspects of "alternative" technologies among smallholders.

Formal Education
1969                B.A. Anthropology and Cultural Sociology
                       University of Copenhagen.
1973                Mag.scient. (M.Sc.) Economic Geography. 
                       University of Copenhagen.
1976                Lic.scient. (Ph.D.) Economic Geography.
                       University of Copenhagen.

The list of publications comprises more than 80 titles, in­cluding 4 books, contribu­tion to books, and articles in international and Danish journals.

Language Proficiency
Mother tongue: Danish
                                   Speaking              Reading                Writing
English                         Excellent                 Excellent                Excel­lent
French                          Good                      Good                     Poor
German                        Fair                        Good                     Poor
Thai                             Fair
Kiswahili                       Fair                         Basic