About Tracey Osborne
My research is broadly concerned with the commodification of nature through environmental markets. More specifically, I draw on political ecology, agrarian studies and critical development to investigate the ways in which carbon markets and payments for environmental services intersect with resource access, forest governance and livelihoods in forest communities of southern Mexico. Another research thread explores questions of climate justice in both the Global North and South. I have worked throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, most extensively in Mexico and Guyana.
Areas of Study
Commodification of nature, climate change mitigation, carbon markets, forests, development, political ecology, agrarian change, climate justice, Mexico
The Political Ecology of Deforestation and the Carbon Market in Chiapas, Mexico. This research seeks to understand the complex history of land use and deforestation in the Lacandon Rainforest of Chiapas, and the ways in which engagement with the carbon market - through carbon forestry and REDD projects - affects environmental governance and campesino access to land and resources.
Public Political Ecology Lab (PPEL): a social science lab dedicated theoretically-informed engaged scholarship, as a vehicle for social and environmental change. See our website:
My research interests and areas of supervision include climate change and development, carbon forestry and REDD, carbon markets, climate justice, payments for environmental services, commodification of nature, agrarian political economy, international development, and political ecology.
Refereed Journal Articles
Osborne, T. 2015. Tradeoffs in carbon commodification: A political ecology of common property forest governance. Geoforum, 67, 64-77.
Osborne, T. 2013. “Fixing Carbon, Losing Ground: Payments for Environmental Services and Land (In)security in Mexico.” Human Geography, 6(1):119-133.
Osborne, T. 2011. “Carbon Forestry and Agrarian Change: Access and Land Control in a Mexican Forest.” Journal of Peasant Studies, 38(4): 859-883
Osborne, Tracey and Clyde Kiker. 2005. “Carbon Offsets as an Economic Alternative to Large-scale Logging: A Case Study in Guyana.” Ecological Economics, 52(1): 481-496.
vonHedemann, N. and T. Osborne. 2016. “Communities and Forests: Payments for Ecosystem Services in the Guatemalan Highlands.” Journal of Latin American Geography.
Wilder, M., D. Liverman, L. Bellante and T. Osborne. 2016. “Southwest Climate Gap: Poverty and Environmental Justice in the US Southwest”, Local Environment, pp 1-22.
Osborne, T. 2015. “The Political Ecology of Carbon Offsets”. Why Geography Matters section in Human Geography: Places and Regions in Global Context. By P. Knox and S. Marston. 7th Edition Pearson (pg. 112-113).
Osborne, T., Bellante, L. & vonHedemann, N. (2014). Indigenous Peoples and REDD+: A Critical Perspective. Cusco: Indigenous Peoples Biocultural Climate Change Assessment Initiative. [Peer Reviewed] Retrieved from: http://ppel.webhost.uits.arizona.edu/ppelwp/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Osborne_IPCCA_FINALREDDreport.pdf
Osborne, T. 2013 “Beyond Safeguards: A Critique of Carbon Markets for REDD+”, Blog on the Public Political Ecology Lab webpage [http://www.ppel.arizona.edu], March 2013.
PhD, 2010, Energy and Resources Group, University of California - Berkeley
GEOG 150C: Environment and Society (Spring & Fall semesters)
GEOG 461: Environment and Development (Spring)
GEOG 696I: Political Ecology: The Politics & Politcal Economy of Land & Nature (Fall 2011)
GEOG 696I: Political Ecology & The Commodification of Nature (Fall 2012 and 2013)