University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management

PhD thesis defense

Erwan Sachet, IGN, defends his thesis at the Geography Section

PhD thesis defense — Erwan Sachet 6 SEP


Date & Time:


Hosted by:
Geography Section, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Øster Voldgade 10, 1350 København K


Erwan Sachet defends his thesis,

Co-devising long-term use of agroecological practices in the Amazonian piedmont of Colombia

Zoom link

Professor Ole Mertz, IGN
Director Marcela Quintero, CGIAR

Assessment Committee:
Professor Ernesto Mendez, University of Vermont – USA
Associate Professor Erika Speelman, Wageningen University – The Netherlands
Associate Professor Martin Rudbeck Jepsen (chair), IGN

Abstract (shortened):
Participatory action research (PAR) supporting the agroecological transition highlights the complexity of designing methods that induce the emancipation of communities over the research object, notably in development projects in which necessary resources are limited. This thesis contributes to these debates as it develops and analyzes methodologies rooted in the epistemologies of participatory action research to implement agroecological practices.
In the context of an agri-environmental project, the thesis examines pathways and the long-term use of agroecological praxis toward land-use transitions in a deforestation frontier in the province of Caquetá, Colombia. This is done by enabling collective learning and action through the implementation of codesigned alternative land uses and by co-devising a role-playing game, which can contribute to agroecological praxis and reveal the participants’ standpoint on the methods employed in a research and development project (R&D).
This thesis’s crucial point of analysis is the friction between the PAR framework and R&D constraints for the agroecological transition. Even if the methods inherently include a space for a higher level of participation in the research design, the conduct of these methods is embedded in the constraints of an R&D project. Then, when agroecological transitions call for empowering the rural population through emancipatory frameworks, it is essential to examine how the project constraints induce control on research practitioners and beneficiaries and to understand their conditions of practices to engage in more democratic research, as called for by agroecology and participatory action research frameworks

A digital version of the PhD thesis can be obtained from the PhD secretary Mikala Heckscher at