Dr Paul Munro

Senior Lecturer in Geography

PhD in Geography, University of Melbourne; Master of Arts, in Environment and Development, Kings College London; Bachelor of Arts, Geography; History; Government & International Relations, University of Sydney

School of Humanities & Languages


9385 8043
Toom 351, Morven Brown Building
Kensington Campus
Fields: Environment Policy, Political Economy, History: African, Human Geography, Environmental Politics
Tags: Land and water management, Renewable Energy, Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards, Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity, Rehabilitation of Degraded Environments

I am a Scientia Research Fellow and member of the Environmental Humanities group at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney. I am also the convenor for the Environmental Humanities major. I have an established research record in the fields of political ecology and environmental history, and have written extensively on forest governance and energy justice, with a particular geographical focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.

My current research is focused on the changing geographies of energy poverty. How the emergence of new technologies (e.g., small-scale photovoltaic power), new trade dynamics and financial platforms (e.g., mobile money) have reshaped how people realise their energy needs in poor rural settings. I am currently engaged in research in northern Uganda.

I have also written extensively on forest governance in Sierra Leone, drawing from large-scale research projects that have been funded by the European Union, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and USAID. I am also in the process of finalising a monograph on Sierra Leone’s colonial forest governance history, titled Colonial Roots in Africa Soil: imperialism and the emergence of forest conservation in Sierra Leone.


    Book Chapters

    • Munro P;van der Horst G, 2015, 'Breaks with the past: Conflict, displacement, resettlement and the evolution of forest socio-ecologies in Sierra Leone', in African Frontiers: Insurgency, Governance and Peacebuilding in Postcolonial States, pp. 119 - 130

    Journal articles

    • Munro PG;Bartlett A, 2019, 'Energy bricolage in Northern Uganda: Rethinking energy geographies in Sub-Saharan Africa', Energy Research and Social Science, vol. 55, pp. 71 - 81, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2019.04.016
    • Melo Zurita MD L;Munro PG, 2019, 'Voluminous territorialisation: Historical contestations over the Yucatan Peninsula’s subterranean waterscape', Geoforum, vol. 102, pp. 38 - 47, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2019.03.019
    • Munro PG;Schiffer A, 2019, 'Ethnographies of electricity scarcity: Mobile phone charging spaces and the recrafting of energy poverty in Africa', Energy and Buildings, vol. 188-189, pp. 175 - 183, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2019.01.038
    • Kirksey E;Munro P;Van Dooren T;Emery D;Kreller AM;Kwok J;Miller M;Morris K;Newson S;Olejniczak E;Ow A;Tuckson K;Sannen S;Martin J, 2018, 'Feeding the flock: Wild cockatoos and their Facebook friends', Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, vol. 1, pp. 602 - 620, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2514848618799294
    • Melo Zurita MD L;George Munro P;Houston D, 2018, 'Un-earthing the Subterranean Anthropocene', Area, vol. 50, pp. 298 - 305, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/area.12369
    • Silva Ontiveros L;Munro PG;Melo Zurita MD L, 2018, 'Proyectos de Muerte: Energy justice conflicts on Mexico's unconventional gas frontier', Extractive Industries and Society, vol. 5, pp. 481 - 489, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2018.06.010
    • Melo Zurita MD L;Cook B;Thomsen DC;Munro PG;Smith TF;Gallina J, 2018, 'Living with disasters: social capital for disaster governance', Disasters, vol. 42, pp. 571 - 589, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/disa.12257
    • Zurita MD L M;Thomsen DC;Holbrook NJ;Smith TF;Lyth A;Munro PG;de Bruin A;Seddaiu G;Roggero PP;Baird J;Plummer R;Bullock R;Collins K;Powell N, 2018, 'Global water governance and Climate Change: Identifying innovative arrangements for adaptive transformation', Water (Switzerland), vol. 10, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/w10010029
    • Samarakoon S;Christiansen A;Munro PG, 2017, 'Equitable and Quality Education for All of Africa? the Challenges of Using ict in Education', Perspectives on Global Development and Technology, vol. 16, pp. 645 - 665, http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/15691497-12341454
    • Munro P;van der Horst G;Healy S, 2017, 'Energy justice for all? Rethinking Sustainable Development Goal 7 through struggles over traditional energy practices in Sierra Leone', Energy Policy, vol. 105, pp. 635 - 641, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2017.01.038
    • de Rijke K;Munro P;Melo Zurita MD L, 2016, 'The Great Artesian Basin: A Contested Resource Environment of Subterranean Water and Coal Seam Gas in Australia', Society and Natural Resources, vol. 29, pp. 696 - 710, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08941920.2015.1122133
    • Munro PG;van der Horst G, 2016, 'Contesting African landscapes: A critical reappraisal of Sierra Leone’s competing forest cover histories', Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, vol. 34, pp. 706 - 724, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0263775815622210
    • Munro P;van der Horst G;Willans S;Kemeny P;Christiansen A;Schiavone N, 2016, 'Social enterprise development and renewable energy dissemination in Africa: The experience of the community charging station model in Sierra Leone', Progress in Development Studies, vol. 16, pp. 24 - 38, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1464993415608080
    • Munro PG, 2015, 'Book Review: Global Population: History, Geopolitics and Life on Earth', Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 61, pp. 476 - 477
    • Munro P, 2015, 'Geza Teleki and the Emergence of Sierra Leone's Wildlife Conservation Movement', Primate Conservation, vol. 29, pp. 115 - 122, http://dx.doi.org/10.1896/052.029.0112
    • Jacobson C;Hughey KF D;Lynch AJ J;Nursey-Bray M;O'Connell M;Munro PG;Vella K;Whiley D;Dovers S;Carter RW B, 2014, 'Twenty years of pacifying responses to environmental management', AUSTRALASIAN JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, vol. 21, pp. 143 - 174, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14486563.2014.917594
    • Kemeny P;Munro PG;Schiavone N;van der Horst G;Willans S, 2014, 'Community Charging Stations in rural sub-Saharan Africa: Commercial success, positive externalities, and growing supply chains', Energy for Sustainable Development, vol. 23, pp. 228 - 236, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.esd.2014.09.005
    • Munro PG;Hiemstra-van der Horst G, 2011, 'zzzzzzzz Conserving exploitation? A political ecology of forestry policy in Sierra Leone', AUSTRALASIAN REVIEW OF AFRICAN STUDIES, vol. 32, pp. 59 - 78, http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/gateway/Gateway.cgi?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000216273200005&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a
    • Munro PG;Melo Zurita MD L, 2011, 'The Role of Cenotes in the Social History of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula', Environment and History, vol. 17, pp. 583 - 612, http://dx.doi.org/10.3197/096734011X13150366551616
    • Hiemstra-van der Horst G;Munro PG;Batterbury S, 2011, 'Les réseaux illégaux du pillage: La demande globale de bois et la (re)commercialisation des forêts d’Afrique de l’Ouest', Écologie & Politique, vol. 42, pp. 47 - 58
    • Munro PG, 2011, 'Miguel, E. 2009: Africa’s Turn? A Boston Review Book. London: The MIT Press. xii + 161 pp. £9.95 cloth. ISBN: 978-0-262-01289 8', Progress in Development Studies, vol. 11, pp. 260 - 261, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/146499341001100310
    • Munro PG;Hiemstra van der Horst G, 2011, 'Conserving exploitation? A political ecology of forestry management in Sierra Leone', The Australasian Review of African Studies, vol. 21, pp. 59 - 72, http://www.informit.com.au/products/productdetails.aspx?id=1447-8420&container=IELIND
    • Munro PG, 2011, 'BOOK REVIEW: Emma Christopher. A Merciless Place: The Lost Story of Britain's Convict Disaster in Africa and How it Led to the Settlement of Australia', The Australasian Review of African Studies, vol. 32, pp. 152 - 153
    • Munro P, 2009, 'Deforestation: constructing problems and solutions on Sierra Leone ' s Freetown Peninsula', JOURNAL OF POLITICAL ECOLOGY, vol. 16, pp. 104 - 122, http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/gateway/Gateway.cgi?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000210027400006&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a
    • Munro PG;Melo Zurita M, 2009, 'Aprendiendo del pasado: Impactos históricos de intervenciones en la agricultura de Sierra Leona', Ecología Política, vol. 38, pp. 92 - 95

    Conference Papers

    • Munro PG, 2010, 'The Role of Water? Henequen, Chicle and the Caste War on the Yucatan Peninsula; 1800 to 1950', in The Role of Water? Henequen, Chicle and the Caste War on the Yucatan Peninsula; 1800 to 1950, Mexico: Revolution, Independence and Beyond Conference 2010, Canberra: Australian National University,, presented at Mexico: Revolution, Independence and Beyond Conference 2010, Canberra: Australian National University,, 05 - 06 July 2010
    • Munro PG;Hiemstra-van der Horst G, 2010, 'Conserving exploitation? A political ecology of forestry management in Sierra Leone', in Conserving exploitation? A political ecology of forestry management in Sierra Leone, 33rd conference of the African Studies Association of Australia and the Pacific,, Melbourne: Victoria University, presented at 33rd conference of the African Studies Association of Australia and the Pacific,, Melbourne: Victoria University, 02 - 04 December 2010


    • Munro PG;van der Horst G, 2012, The Domestic Trade in Timber and Fuelwood Products in Sierra Leone: current dynamics and issues, FLEGT: FAO/EU
    • Munro PG;van der Horst G, 2012, The governance and trade of wood-based products in and around the Kambui Hills North Forest Reserve, Freetown
    • van der Horst G;Munro PG, Land cover assessment of the Kambui Hills North Forest Reserve and its surrounds, EFO, Freetown

Teaching and Supervision

I am the course convenor for ARTS2240 "Environment, Sustainability and Development" which forms part of the Environmental Humanities undergraduate major.

I am interested in supervising PhD, MRes and Honours students with a background in critical geography (or a cognate discipline) in the areas of environmental history,forest governance and energy geographies. Interested students should contact me with a CV, a short research proposal (include references tokey scholarship that want to buildupon) and a short statement explaining why they believe I would be a good fit as a supervisor.

Student Supervision

*indicates secondary supervisor.


*Hai-Yuen Tuilima. Thesis title (tentative):Protecting Traditional Knowledge and Confronting Biopiracy.; 2018 to present. (Primary Supervisor: A/Prof Dan Robinson)

Shanil Samakaroon. Thesis title (tentative):How are issues of energy justice entangled in the process of household solar adoption in northern Malawi; 2017 to present.

*Sue Slowikowski. Thesis Title: Making Sense of Disaster - Identity Challenges from a Bushfire. Completed in 2017. (Primary supervisor: Professor Judy Motion


Taylor Coyne.Fishing for Answers: Sustainable small-scale fish farming in post-conflict Uganda. 2018 to present (co-supervised with A/Prof Jes Sammut).

Amy Ow.Understanding Human-Tree Relationships: A Case Study of the CBD andSouth-East Lightrail Project.Completed in 2016.

Engagement and Professional contributions

I am a member ofthe Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG), and the Geographical Society of New South Wales, the African Studies Association of Australasian and the Pacific, and the Society for Social Studies of Science.

I am also the co-founder of Energy for Opportunity (EFO), a non-for-profit organisation based in West Africa that is dedicated to the spread of renewable energy in the region. Since 2009, EFO has completed over 200 renewable energy installations in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana and Benin, ranging from pico-solar dissemination projects to village-level micro-grids.