SEED is an Oxford-based environment and development consultancy that specialises in gathering, analysing and synthesizing evidence at the interface of environment and development policy and science.

  • We draw on the complementary skills and expertise of our team to provide services varying from quantitative scientific analyses to evaluations based on local knowledge and bottom-up assessments of development needs.
  • Our multi-lingual team brings wide-ranging¬†experience communicating complicated concepts to stakeholders varying from local forest-dependent communities to academics to national policy-makers.
  • Our close ties to world-leading research institutions give us access to cutting-edge knowledge, advice and information and exposure to the latest research and innovative thinking. We have decades of experience of project review and critical assessment within highly competitive research environments.

We provide support at all stages of the scientific and policy process, from developing protocols for research and monitoring to analysing policy options or creating participatory monitoring and evaluation systems and project review and impact evaluations.

Mary Menton

Mary specialises in tropical forest conservation and development with vast experience and skills in applied research. Having worked for over a decade in the Amazon, she has focused on the science, policy and practice of land-use, natural resource management and environmental governance by both national governments and forest-dependent smallholders and communities. She has worked with a wide network of international collaborators throughout the tropics on topics ranging from carbon dynamics in degraded landscapes to climate change and REDD+ policy to multi-use forest management. Before co-founding SEED, she worked for CIFOR, GCP, and universities in the UK (Oxford) USA (University of Florida, UNC) and Brazil (Federal University of Acre). She has led several teams on the ground addressing conservation and development issues using a wide-variety of participatory and traditional research and dissemination methods. Mary has an MSc in forestry and a DPhil in forest conservation and development from the University of Oxford. She is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.

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Clare Ferguson

Clare has a background in commercial and community based horticulture. She has strong skills in and knowledge of small scale, local, sustainable, and urban agricultures. In addition, she has extensive experience of gardening-based community work with disadvantaged groups, planning, empowering and enabling people to change their lives.

Clare has researched innovative tenancy agreements and went on to run a successful market garden and vegetable box distribution business, Close to the Veg, under one of these arrangements with the Earth Trust, in Oxfordshire, UK.  While running the business she played an active role in a strong and mutually supportive network with other local growers.

Clare carried out research for various bodies including Landworkers Alliance, Institute for Development Studies, CIFOR, the Forestry Commission, LandShare and Echo, alongside running Close to the Veg. Her research interests include resilient farming systems, multifunctional agriculture, agroforestry, polyculture, food sovereignty, and common control of genetic resources. Clare has an MSc in Forestry: Science, Policy and Management from the University of Oxford. She is fluent in Spanish.

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We also work with a team of international collaborators whose skills we can draw on as needed.