Marvin Joseph Montefrio

Social Sciences (Environmental Studies)

Assistant Professor


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Dr Marvin Joseph Montefrio obtained a concurrent PhD and MPA degree in Environmental Policy and Public Administration from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University in 2014. Prior to that, he did graduate work in environmental engineering and management at the National University of Singapore.

As an interdisciplinary scholar, Dr Montefrio employs diverse methodological approaches (ethnographic and quantitative) and draws from multiple theories from environmental science, environmental policy and politics, political ecology, ecological economics, environmental sociology, environmental anthropology, and more recently cultural studies. He also has a broad professional background, having practised engineering, management, consulting, policy and academic work in the Philippines, Singapore and the United States. He has been an environmental scholar, professional and advocate for more than 15 years.

Dr Montefrio’s broad research agenda explores the political economy of, environmental discourses on, and decision-making associated with contemporary environmental and agrarian issues, particularly at the intersections of globalisation, climate change, agrarian change, and frontier land development. His approach examines multiple levels and units of analysis, with particular attention to the space and time where the ‘global’ meets the ‘local’. His most recent research project examines discourses on Philippine upland environments and identities in the context of multi-level climate change governance (i.e. the green economy and low carbon development programs). Currently, he is collaborating with scholars from the Philippines, Australia, UK, and the United States to investigate agrarian change in the context of green economy development programs (biofuels, rubber and oil palm) in ancestral domains in the Global South. This includes the investigation of socio-cultural transformation, resilience, and food security in indigenous communities engaged in low-carbon commodity crop production in the Philippine uplands.

Dr Montefrio is increasingly becoming interested in exploring the nexus between food and the green economy. He is currently working on a research project to explore the political ecology and cultural politics of ‘sustainable’ (organic and local) food production and consumption in the Philippines, again in the context of the green economy project.

Montefrio, M.J.F. (2017). Land control dynamics and social-ecological transformations in upland Philippines. Journal of Peasant Studies, 44(4), 796-816

Dressler, W., de Koning, J., & Montefrio, M.J.F. (2016). Land sharing not sparing in the “green economy”: The role of livelihood bricolage in conservation and development in the Philippines. Geoforum, 76, 75-89.

Montefrio, M.J.F. (2016). Cooperation and resistance: Negotiating rubber in upland Philippines. Journal of Rural Studies, 46, 111-120.

Montefrio, M.J.F., Dressler, W.H. (2016). The green economy and constructions of the “idle” and “unproductive” uplands in the Philippines. World Development, 79, 114-126.

Montefrio, M.J.F. (2016). Confronting the “unproductive” upland discourses in biofuels development. In: Le Bouthillier, Y., Cowie, A., Martin, P., McLeod-Kilmurray, H. (Eds.), The law and policy biofuels, pp. 59-80. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Montefrio, M.J.F., Luzadis, V.A., & Sonnenfeld, D.A. (2015). Social construction of the environment and farmer intentions to cooperate in biofuels and rubber production in upland Palawan, the Philippines. Ecological Economics, 116, 70-77.

Feola, G., Lerner, A., Jain, M., Montefrio, M.J.F., & Nicholas, K.A. (2015). Farmers responses to multiple stresses in the face of global change: Assessing five case studies to enhance adaptation. Journal of Rural Studies, 39, 48-78.

Montefrio, M.J.F. (2014). State versus indigenous peoples rights: Analysis of stable system parameters, policy constraints and the process of delegitimation. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, 16(4), 335-355.

Montefrio, M.J.F., Ortiga, Y.Y., & Josol, M.R.C. (2014). Inducing development: Social remittances and the expansion of oil palm. International Migration Review, 48(1), 216-242.

Montefrio, M.J.F. (2013). The green economy and land conflicts. Peace Review, 25(4), 502-509.

Josol, M.R.C., & Montefrio, M.J.F. (2013). Understanding the resilience of swidden agro-ecosystems interacting with rubber and oil palm production regimes in the Philippines. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 37(7), 812-833.

Montefrio, M.J.F., & Sonnenfeld, D.A. (2012). Global-local tensions in contract farming of biofuels involving indigenous communities in the Philippines. Society & Natural Resources, 26(3), 239-253.

Montefrio, M.J.F. (2012). Privileged biofuels, marginalized indigenous peoples: the co-evolution of biofuels development in the tropics. Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, 32(1), 41-55.

Montefrio, M.J.F., & Sonnenfeld, D.A. (2011). Forest, fuel, or food? Competing coalitions and biofuels policymaking in the Philippines. Journal of Environment and Development, 20(1), 27-49.

Comparative Social Inquiry
Social Theory and Environment
Agrarian Change and Environmental Transformations
Ecological Economics
Environmental Conflict and Collaboration