Rajindra Puri

Senior Lecturer in Environmental Anthropology

Dr. Raj Puri is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Anthropology and the Director of the Centre for Biocultural Diversity, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent in Canterbury, UK.  He also convenes Kent’s Ethnobotany and Environmental Anthropology MSc programmes. Trained as an ecological anthropologist and ethnobiologist, over the past 25 years Dr. Puri has been studying the historical ecology of a rainforest valley in Indonesian Borneo, documenting the ethnobiological knowledge of Penan Benalui hunter-gatherers and Kenyah swidden agriculturalists, elucidating the causes and consequences of trade in wild animals and plants, and developing theory and methods for an applied conservation anthropology. Some of this work is published in the books, Bulungan Ethnobiology Handbook (CIFOR 2001), Deadly Dances in the Bornean Rainforest (KITLV Press, 2005) and Conducting Research in Conservation: A Social Science Perspective (Routledge 2010). He is also the co-editor with M. Pardo de Santayana and A. Pieroni of Ethnobotany in the New Europe (Berghahn, 2010). His recent work has been on local adaptation to climatic variability and environmental change in Asia and Europe. He was a co-investigator on the ESPA project Human Adaptation to Biodiversity Change, where he studied local adaptation to Lantana camera in the MM Hills, southern Karnataka. This work has drawn him into research on invasive species, and other ways changes in biodiversity due to climate change threaten biocultural diversity and local livelihoods. He is now thinking about how anthropologists can contribute to climate change science, and specifically developing mixed methods for studying local responses to environmental change. Some initial work is published in The uniqueness of the everyday: Herders and invasive species in India, in the book Climate Cultures (Yale UP 2015).