Conservation Impact Technical Advisor – WCS Cambodia

Since October 2022 I am the Conservation Impact Technical Advisor. This position gives me the opportunity to conduct several action-research projects over the coming years, as well as develop collaborations with other researchers. The topics I expect to explore include:

  • Understanding the impacts of the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary REDD+ project on local communities
  • Developing and evaluating effective REDD+ benefit-sharing mechanisms
  • Piloting conservation agriculture schemes
Community-zone management plans in the Northern Plains of Cambodia

Consultancy with Sansom Mlup Prey. Community zones in Cambodia’s protected areas are intended to provide space for residents to live and produce sustainable agriculture, but there is not yet a legal framework for managing allocation of land within these zones. Through in-depth qualitative research in two communities, I will investigate household decision-making around land use, and better understand how land is currently governed through informal and other institutions. This research will inform the production of guidelines produced with Dr Henry Travers, which will inform the development of Community Zone management plans that aim to reduce deforestation while meeting the aspirations of residents.

Social determinants of success of community-based arapaima management in Médio Juruá, Amazonia

Together with colleagues at Rare, Harvard University, and Instituto Jurua, we are conducting research to understand the social determinants of successful community fisheries management in Amazonia.

The Conservation Basic Income

We are producing the first spatially-explicit estimates of eligible populations and costs for a global conservation basic income, under various future conservation scenarios. Collaborators: Jocelyne Sze, Robert Fletcher, Munib Khanyari, Omar Saif, Hollie Booth.

Conservation Social Science training resources with the Conservation Social Sciences consortium.

I was commissioned, together with Harriett Ibbett and Trisha Gupta, to conduct an analysis and identify gaps in the available social science training resources for conservationists on behalf of the Conservation Social Sciences consortium. We also compiled a searchable database of available resources, which will be made available online. The report is being used to prioritise investment in further resources for conservationists to learn and apply social research methods. Among others, I am working with colleagues on developing ethics resources for conservation research.

Life in Conservation

This project, led by Thomas Pienkowski, explores the challenges and rewards that those working or conducting research in conservation face. The online survey aims to build a broad picture of these challenges and rewards. This will be accompanied by more in-depth surveys in selected conservation organisations. Some of the questions used in this survey are established psychological instruments. However, other questions were developed and piloted during this study. The results of this study will be published in peer-reviewed articles, alongside the anonymous data, and contribute to the Doctoral thesis of Thomas Pienkowski. We will also be providing a publically available summary of the results. See here for more details.

(Completed) Tackling wildlife poisoning in the northern plains of Cambodia

Wildlife poisoning is a significant threat to populations of endangered wildlife and to human health and wellbeing in Cambodia’s Northern Plains. This project used mixed methods and specialised questionnaire techniques to better understand wildlife poisoning practices. Together with the provincial department of environment and WCS Cambodia, we designed and implemented a pilot social marketing campaign, aiming to reduce poisoning and encourage reporting of pesticide contamination. See here for more details.

(Completed) Improving environmental interventions by understanding social networks

My PhD project examines the role of information flows in conservation behaviour-change interventions. Communication and transfer of information are core components of all behavioural interventions, but little is known about how conservation messages reach their intended targets and how this influence their response to intervention. Using social network analysis and longitudinal survey data in the context of a field experiment implemented with WCS Cambodia, we aim to understand how local communities communicate about conservation interventions and how this information can be used to better target communications. See here for more detail.

(Completed) Monitoring the impacts of a community-based ecotourism project

Evidence for the effectiveness of conservation interventions is often lacking, but is essential if we are to allocate scarce resources effectively, learn from past efforts, and solicit support from funders or other stakeholders. This project, completed for my MRes, set up a monitoring framework for the Jahoo gibbon camp ecotourism project in Mondulkiri, Cambodia, established by WCS Cambodia. We used a theory-based design, collecting indicator data to evaluate theorised causal mechanisms.

(Completed) Measuring complex outcomes of conservation & development interventions

Measuring the impacts of development projects is increasingly viewed as critical in order to assess their contribution to global development. Rigorous impact evaluation methodologies have been developed to effectively attribute changes to projects by comparing intervention sites to controls. However, these methods have tended to focus on standard economic measures of poverty such as income which may not capture outcomes considered relevant by local people, for example resource tenure, access to education, changes in governance, and autonomy. Some of these outcomes may be difficult or inappropriate to quantify lending themselves to qualitative analyses which are rarely used. Applying a multi-dimensional and more holistic concept of wellbeing incorporating qualitative elements may be more illuminating, and puts local people at the centre of decision-making. See here for more details.