Tessa Minter is an assistant professor at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology. In her research and teaching, she focuses on environmental anthropology, with a specific interest in livelihood strategies of forest-dependent and coastal peoples in the Asia-Pacific region, and their adaptation to social and environmental change.
Tessa’s research assesses under what circumstances environmental exploitation and protection benefit or harm rural people’s well-being. She particularly studies forest-dependent and coastal people’s livelihood strategies and their relationships with logging, mining and conservation activities in the Philippines and the Solomon Islands. Through her work, she aims to contribute to greater environmental justice.
In the Philippines, Tessa’s work started in 2002 and is based on long-term fieldwork with the Agta of the Northern Sierra Madre, in which she combines classical ethnographic methods with the collection of systematic records on demography, mobility, time-allocation, hunting- and fishing success, diets, and child-care. She also looks into the question of how the Agta are involved in environmental decision-making processes with a specific focus on land rights and development planning.
Since 2015 Tessa has also worked in the Solomon Islands, where she takes an ethnographic approach to study the socio-economic impacts of logging on the island of Malaita. In 2017, she received an EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant for her research project called Women at the Cutting Edge. Assessing the gendered impacts of industrial logging on well-being in the Solomon Islands. This three-year project aims to contribute to more gender equitable forestry practices by assessing the differential impacts of logging on men and women and by developing a guideline for integrating gender in forestry assessments in and outside the Solomon Islands.
Tessa recently moved back to Leiden. In the period ahead, she looks forward to working on a number of project outputs. These include scientific outputs like peer-reviewed papers based on her own field research, as well as a special issue on the social impacts of logging, which she will co-edit with her colleague Prof. Terry Sunderland from CIFOR/University of British Columbia. She will also work on outputs intended for professionals working in the forestry and environmental management sector. These include a Policy Brief, which summarizes her main research findings in accessible language, and a manual for the assessment of women’s well-being in logging concessions.