Maano holds a PhD in geography from Royal Holloway, University of London. He is a Professor in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science at the University of Cape Town. A Conon Collins scholar and a Fellow of the Society of South African Geographers, Maano held the Distinguished Hubert H Humphrey Visiting Chair of International Studies at Macalester College and the Mandela Mellon Fellow of W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University.
Maano uses political ecology and political geography to understand power dynamics in nature conservation. His work on peace parks in southern Africa investigates the development and consequences of southern African peace parks. He is interested in how practices in these parks relate to the colonial history of conservation and to post-independence political, developmental and security concerns. His current project is on the intersection between environmentalism and borderlands and the emergent political terrain that has huge implications for border citizens and for the unresolved land question in southern Africa.
Maano has undertaken fieldwork in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Tanzania.