Harry Fischer

Harry Fischer
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | SLU · Department of Urban and Rural Development

PhD

About

29
Publications
12,414
Reads
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506
Citations
Citations since 2016
27 Research Items
466 Citations
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2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
Additional affiliations
September 2017 - September 2018
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
January 2015 - present
Indian School of Business
Position
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow
August 2010 - December 2014
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
January 2011 - December 2014

Publications

Publications (29)
Article
Decentralized, “community-based” approaches to climate adaptation are now viewed as a key strategy to assist vulnerable populations confront global climate change. While these efforts are premised on the belief that citizen participation will lead to more effective climate responses, there remains limited empirical evidence of the relationship betw...
Article
Full-text available
Scientists, corporations, mystics, and movie stars have convinced policymakers around the world that a massive campaign to plant trees should be an essential element of global climate policy. Public dialogue has emphasized potential benefits of tree planting while downplaying pitfalls and limitations that are well established by social and ecologic...
Preprint
Full-text available
Myriad scholars, policymakers, and practitioners advocate tree planting as a climate mitigation strategy and to support local livelihoods. But, is the broad appeal of tree planting supported by evidence? We report estimated impacts from decades of tree planting in Northern India. We find that tree plantings have not, on average, increased the propo...
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Full-text available
A growing number of studies seek to identify global priority areas for conservation and restoration. These studies often produce maps that highlight the benefits of concentrating such activity in the tropics. However, the potential equity implications of using these prioritization exercises to guide global policy are less often explored and articul...
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Full-text available
India's nearly 1-million strong band of quasi-volunteer accredited social health activists (ASHAs) have been key actors in government efforts to control COVID-19. Utilizing a nationalist rhetoric of war, ASHAs were swiftly mobilized by the government in March 2020 as ‘COVID warriors’ engaged in tracking illness, disseminating information, and carin...
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Full-text available
Many countries have adopted large-scale tree planting programmes as a climate mitigation strategy and to support local livelihoods. We evaluate a series of large-scale tree planting programmes using data collected from historical Landsat imagery in the state of Himachal Pradesh in Northern India. Using this panel dataset, we use an event study desi...
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Full-text available
For those concerned with the future of forests, the COVID-19 pandemic has simultaneously offered cause for great concern, and renewed hope. On one hand, the pandemic is occurring at a time when forests are already under unprecedented pressures from climate change, amplifying concerns about unsustainable forest extraction in the name of economic rec...
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Full-text available
Support for rural livelihoods to adapt to climate change is a top policy priority around the world. We advance the concept of “self-organized adaptation” to analyze how long-term pathways of transformation come about as the organic outcome of farmers’ incremental and continuous responses to climate and other challenges. Through an analysis of four...
Article
Full-text available
Online e-letter https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/36/eabb2824/tab-e-letters Also available at: https://biosec.group.shef.ac.uk/2021/05/14/whats-wrong-with-the-global-safety-net-approach-to-conservation/
Article
Full-text available
The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented disruption to lives and livelihoods around the world. These disruptions have brought into sharp focus experiences of vulnerability but also, at times, evidence of resilience as people and institutions gear up to respond to the crisis. Drawing on intensive qualitative enquiry in 16 villages of H...
Preprint
Full-text available
This commentary will make an important contribution to the discourse surrounding green recovery from the pandemic with a focus on forests in the context of developing countries while also focusing on issues of return migration induced land use change in rural landscapes, the important role of local institutions and conceptualization of forests as c...
Article
Interest in forest-based carbon storage has led to growth in financing for carbon forestry. Most financial strategies rest on strong assumptions which are not valid in many parts of the world. We use cases drawn from tribal forestry in the US and government forestry in India to illustrate how carbon finance relies on the presence of enforceable rig...
Article
Full-text available
Countries around the world have undertaken a wide range of strategies to halt the spread of COVID-19 and control the economic fallout left in its wake. Rural areas of developing countries pose particular difficulties for developing and implementing effective responses owing to underdeveloped health infrastructure, uneven state capacity for infectio...
Article
Full-text available
Scientists, corporations, mystics, and movie stars have convinced policymakers around the world that a massive campaign to plant trees should be an essential element of global climate policy. Public dialogue has emphasized potential benefits of tree planting while downplaying pitfalls and limitations that are well established by social and ecologic...
Article
Full-text available
While extensive scholarship has explored principles for pro-poor climate support, there is a need for knowledge of specific strategies that can achieve these objectives on the ground. This paper examines India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and its effects on climate risk reduction. Although the MGNREGA was not d...
Article
Full-text available
COVID-19 and its associated disease control measures have greatly altered everyday life. The burden of these challenges has fallen disproportionately on women. Drawing on qualitative inquiry in agrarian north India and Nepal, this research note analyzes how South Asian COVID-19 lockdowns have affected women's labor responsibilities in sometimes sur...
Article
Most discussions about solar microgrids focus on sustainable energy and development goals and the technical aspects of electricity generation, storage, transmission, and distribution. Very few explicitly examine the ways in which their introduction upsets and reshapes entrenched practices of electoral politics and citizen claim- making around elect...
Article
Over the past three decades, governments around the world have undertaken reforms for decentralization. These reforms are founded on the belief that more democratic participation in local governance will lead to better outcomes for rural development, public service delivery, and environmental governance. However, the effects of these efforts have b...
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Full-text available
Identifying and tackling local and regional vulnerabilities to global climate change is one of the defining challenges facing India today. Tis Very Short Policy Brief discusses the important role of India's local government bodies – panchayats – in coordinating, integrating, and implementing strategies for adapting to climate change. It outlines ke...
Article
Jakimow, Tanya 2015:Decentring Development: Understanding Change in Agrarian Societies. Houndsmills, Basingstoke and Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. xi + 200 pp. $90.00 (hardback), $69.99 (eBook). ISBN 978 1 137 46642 6 (hardback), 978 1 137 46643 3 (eBook).
Article
Despite a proliferation of programs and policies aimed at promoting local resource management, we still have limited knowledge of the conditions under which state interventions can be a supportive force in everyday aspects of common pool resource governance. This article explores growing state involvement in community- managed irrigation systems of...
Article
Full-text available
It is commonly acknowledged that the world’s rural poor are vulnerable to loss and suffering from global climatic change, but there remains disagreement about how vulnerability should be defined and measured. In this paper, we advance the “profile approach” to vulnerability analysis, illustrated through a cluster analysis of livelihoods and assets...
Article
Vibrant protests against restrictions imposed by the Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary (DWLS) in Himachal Pradesh, India have galvanized area residents to protect local forests. In this paper, we examine how local opposition has become entangled with environmental values and practice, culminating in the decision of a women’s group to embark on a local...
Article
Strict protected areas are a critical component in global biodiversity conservation, but the future of biodiversity conservation may well depend upon the ability to experiment successfully with a range of institutional forms, including those that permit human use. Here, we focus on forest commons in human-dominated landscapes and their role in biod...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
In many low-income countries, rural populations have faced great difficulties from COVID-19 and associated disease control measures. Loss of off-farm employment opportunities, broken supply chains, disruptions in basic social services, and more have brought about significant challenges in securing income and, often, adequate food. Forests and other natural resources often serve as an important safety net for rural populations particularly during times of distress. This project aims to study the role of forests and their resources in helping to promote more secure and sustainable livelihoods in the context of the present shock.
Project
This project seeks to explore how experiences of shocks (both natural and manmade) and democratic political systems—comprised of multiple actors, institutions, and forms of state support shape local responses to climate risk and change. By combining intensive qualitative inquiry with quantitative analysis, our empirical approach aims to map networks of interaction through which climate responses are developed and implemented on the ground—providing a direct look at how adaptation in vulnerable population happens through the political channels that enable it. Most recently we adapted our research to also focus also on shocks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been one of the most significant disruptions in living memory. Our ongoing work has documented the variegated ways in which COVID-19 and movement restrictions have been experienced at the local level, its impacts on different populations, and the role of subnational governance systems in responding to these events.
Project
Artificial afforestation programs are emerging as important policy interventions globally to increase carbon sequestration, yet there has been little systematic study of the impacts of afforestation programs on the livelihoods of forest dependent people. Afforestation projects do not simply improve ecosystem service provision, as widely assumed; they replace other land-cover types – such as grasslands, savannas, or degraded forests – thus changing the mix of goods provided by these ecosystems. Depending on the species planted and the success of the plantation, afforestation may increase the availability of timber and fuelwood while decreasing availability of fodder and some non-timber forest products. Livelihood impacts will depend on the importance of these goods and services to different households, the availability of alternatives, and the capacity of households to respond. As a result, plantations may improve the livelihoods of some households while hurting others, particularly those dependent on non-forest resources produced on lands converted to plantation. Better understanding of the effects of plantations on livelihoods is crucial for designing policies that maximize the positive benefits and mitigate negative impacts of afforestation. We propose to study the impact of afforestation programs in India, a country in which afforestation efforts are extensive, on the livelihoods of the rural poor. We will do so by combining recent government data on afforestation with long-term estimates of afforestation based on NASA satellite data and household surveys in 140 villages with varying levels of exposure to afforestation. In April of 2016, we obtained government records for all 2252 plantations made by the state forest department in the Kangra district of the Western Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh between 2005-2015. We will combine this data with ground-truthing in a subset of these plantations. We will conduct land-cover/land-use change (LCLUC) analysis based upon use of an advanced image endmember estimation algorithm and spectral unmixing/endmember mapping. This will allow us to detect and differentiate different types of small plantations using historical Landsat data. We will conduct household livelihood surveys in a sample of 140 villages which have been exposed to different types of plantations. Combining estimates of afforestation activities with household livelihood data will allow us to estimate, using regression and propensity score matching techniques, the impacts of afforestation on the livelihoods of households with different characteristics. These analyses will allow us to develop guidelines, which will help Indian policy-makers develop and implement plantation programs that align the imperative for carbon sequestration with the needs and interests of the poor.