With Behind the Scenes at BLS we talk to a different member of our community and share their stories with you online. This week we talk to Lecturer in Law, Dr Walters Nsoh on his research in the sustainable management of natural resources.
My research and teaching interests relate primarily to the intersection of land law and environmental law as it relates to the sustainable management of natural resources/ecosystem goods and services. In this area, it engages with land and environmental law doctrinal issues in the regulation and governance of natural resources/ecosystems and services that flow from them including both domestic (UK and Cameroon) and international comparative questions.
Across a range of land and environment topics, while some of my work is purely doctrinal, my research also aims to engage both conceptual debate and policy-based application: demonstrating a greater theoretical understanding of how the law can be translated into the effective regulation and governance of ecosystems and natural resources. This includes work challenging how the law has developed in post-colonial states as a tool for the empowerment or disempowerment of individuals and groups (e.g., my work on legal status of customary land tenure systems, customary land rights and land expropriation, land/resource ownership and unsustainable resource exploitation; etc), as well as exploring and challenging new regulatory approaches to nature conservation/resource governance more generally (e.g., my work on the privatisation of biodiversity and new approaches to nature conservation law; payments for ecosystem services, achieving groundwater governance; etc). I have an excellent understanding of the issues, not just from a law perspective but from my educational background in environmental science. Accordingly, in following this research track, I have regularly engaged in collaborative and interdisciplinary projects covering the legal/regulatory aspects of ecosystems and natural resource management. It is very exciting to be able to see issues from such diverse perspectives and I really enjoy incorporating these into my teaching practice.
I have published in leading peer-reviewed journals and edited collections in the UK (including in the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, Environmental Law & Management and in the Proceedings of the British Academy series) and internationally (the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law e-Journal and Environmental Policy and Law), as well as my recent co-authored book published in 2016. I have also published in a range of practitioner outlets such as UKELA e-law, Chartered Forester – Member Magazine for the Institute of Charter Foresters, Environmental Liability: Law, Policy and Practice, etc. With a Google Scholar h-index of 3, my scholarship has generated significant outputs and impact. In addition, I am an Associate Editor for the Environmental Policy and Law journal and Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy. I provide regular expert peer review for a host of top journals and publishers (e.g. Environmental Law Review, Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law, Journal of Property, Planning and Environmental Law, The Extractive Industries and Society, Routledge, etc), as well as serve on a number of external expert panels (e.g. Senior Fellow - Food and Agricultural Law of the Institute for Oil, Gas, Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development, Nigeria, member of the Future Earth Development Team on the Natural Assets Knowledge-Action Network, etc). Since 2019 I have been a member of the UNESCO Inclusive Policy Lab – a global space dedicated to knowledge crowdsourcing and its translation into policy.
As part of Birmingham Law School, I really value the collegiality that exists among staff and I have worked to foster this spirit within this vibrant research and teaching community, not just amongst staff, but also between staff and our postgraduate community. I am particularly proud of my work in the last five years growing our doctoral research community and supporting their integration into Law School community.