Elina is currently leading a research project dealing with crop pest challenges and use of pesticides in Ugandan smallholder agriculture, which is carried out in collaboration with Ellinor Isgren and funded by the Swedish Research Council Formas. While the use and promotion of pesticides have increased rapidly in recent years, poor regulation and control implies significant risks to human health and sustainability. At the same time, crop loss due to pests is a serious challenge to food security. Through a lens of environmental justice, the research contributes to a much needed understanding of how pesticide use and governance impact on rural communities in the context of a rapidly changing agro-political landscape. The project also draws on action research involving smallholder farmers and other actors to explore alternatives to pesticide use and pathways towards more sustainable pest management.
Elina is also part of an interdisciplinary research project on perennial crops and their potential to contribute to increase the sustainability and resilience of agriculture. Based on participatory experimentation together with smallholder farmers in Uganda, the project investigates the potential of various perennial farming systems to decrease vulnerability to extreme weather events, land degradation and other environmental stressors. The project is carried out in collaboration with colleagues at The Land Institute (USA) and Makerere University and NARO (Uganda). In 2018, Elina was also co-coordinating an interdisciplinary research theme on perennial agriculture at the Pufendorf Institute.
In her PhD thesis in Sustainability Science, defended in 2014, Elina explored the ‘everydayness’ of soil use and degradation in smallholder farming in Uganda, with focus on local experiences of environmental change and various forms of collective strategies mediated by farmer groups in response to changing livelihood conditions. In an attempt to co-produce knowledge with a transformative potential, she also explore how action research can be used to envision, implement and evaluate a locally anchored practice (urine fertilizer) to improve soil fertility.
Elina is teachers for a variety of courses for the Lund University International Master's Program in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science (LUMES) and other programs and courses at Lund University on topics related to sustainability, natural resource management, international development and methodology. She is also supervisning students in thesis writing.