Texas Tech University

Natural Resource Management Professor Awarded Two Prestigious Grants!

Dr. Michael Farmer is an Associate Professor with appointments in both the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics as well as the Department of Natural Resource Management. Historically he has researched the relationship between humans, land use, and water allocation, but of late, he has spent a great deal of time in the Montane tropical “cloud” forests of Malaysian Borneo. It is this work that garnered him two prestigious grants, a Fulbright Award and a National Science Foundation Award.

Dr. Michael Farmer

Dr. Michael Farmer- Associate Professor - Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics

Twice during the 20th century, the British empire clear-cut the montane cloud forests of the Borneo Highlands before returning control of these forests to the indigenous Kadazan and Dusun producers. For his Fulbright, Dr. Farmer will work with the local farmers and the University of Malaysia in Sabah (UMS) to try and restore the native forest and canopy through the initiatives of local stakeholders. This research will focus not only on the agricultural side of things, but also build on the economic governance work of Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom to help the indigenous producers to produce sustainable economic entrepreneurial models without the need of central authorities.

As part of the National Science Foundation grant, Michael Farmer along with TTU Co-investigators Dr. Sarah Fritts, Dr. Tigga Kingston, Dr. Robin Verble, and Dr. David Weindorf plan to help identify specific species of fruit which are not only ecologically sustainable but are highly sought-after in (regional) markets. To get the best prices in these markets requires proof that the production processes are ecologically beneficial or ‘green.' This requires a tremendous collaborative Eco tracking effort to establish green benefits over time. The NSF effort will focus on analyses of soils, arthropods (ants, bees, moths and butterflies) and bat communities. For both projects, Dr. Farmer plans to include research and internship opportunities for students, which in turn could provide a pathway to graduate school for those students.