Duncan Macqueen

Director of forests, Natural Resources research group

Duncan Macqueen's picture
Telephone: +44 (0)20 3463 7399
Languages: English, Portuguese and Spanish (basic)

Duncan Macqueen is an expert on forest enterprise issues and local to global governance processes that affect forests. He is currently the team leader on forests within IIED, overseeing work under an overall goal of ‘resilient forests, prosperous people’.

Duncan is an experienced forest research and development practitioner. He has delivered impacts in collaborative programmes across 30-plus countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

He has been a conceptual pioneer in the design and implementation of programmes to sustain locally-controlled forest business. Impacts have included new: (i) agroforestry system improvements; (ii) funding facilities for forest and farm producer organisations; (iii) training tools and programmes for business start-up development, risk self-assessment and business incubation; (iv) labelling options for fair trade forest businesses; (v) tiered organisational structures between producer groups that aggregate product and power; (vi) effective policy advocacy positions; and (vii) knowledge and learning products for a range of audiences.

Over the last 27 years he has authored academic, practical and policy outputs covering agroforestry tree improvement, locally-controlled forest business, forest-linked organisations, value chain developments (in timber, non-timber forest products, biomass energy and ecotourism), forest climate strategies, forest governance and forest development ethics. Recent books include titles such as ‘Democratising Forest Business’ and ‘Forest Business Incubation’.

A forest botanist by training, his interests lie in ‘diverse, creative, solidarity’. By this he means work that empowers varied local groups to articulate their own hopes for prosperity, design enterprise models to pursue those hopes, and stand together to represent their hopes in policy and decision-making processes. He set up and helps manage the Forest Connect alliance that shares knowledge on how best to support locally controlled forest enterprises.  

He is currently both principal researcher and team leader of the forest team, and acts as knowledge manager within the co-management team for the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) together with partners from FAO, IUCN and Agricord.


Forest business incubation approaches for locally controlled forest enterprises; access to finance for such enterprises; risk self-assessment processes; forests and climate action; governance tactics and approaches for improving locally controlled forestry; innovations in forest ethics.

Before IIED

Deputy programme manager for the UK government Department for International Development’s (DFID) Forestry Research Programme; DFID technical cooperation officer assigned to Embrapa Amazonia Oriental in Brazil; student of theology; research ffficer for the Oxford Forestry Institute operating in Central America.

MSc in Forestry and its relation to land use from Oxford University (Magdalen College); MA in Botany from Oxford University (Magdalen College); two-year diploma in theology from Oxford University (Wycliffe Hall).

Current work

Organisational structures for business, policy representation, forest restoration and social and cultural service provision that can best serve the needs of local forest producers; access to finance for forest producer groups; prosperity for forest producer groups and the role of youth transitions to work and migration in delivering prosperity.