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Chris Sandbrook MA MSc PhD

Chris Sandbrook MA MSc PhD

Lecturer in Conservation Leadership at UNEP-WCMC and Fellow of Darwin College

I carry out research on biodiversity conservation and its relationship with society.

Biography

Career

  • 2010-present: Lecturer in Conservation Leadership, UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre and affiliated lecturer at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2009-2010: Independent Consultant, International Institute for Environment and Development
  • 2008-2009: ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2007-2008: Independent Consultant, International Institute for Environment and Development
  • 2007-2008: Lecturer in Vertebrate Biology, School of Human and Life Sciences, University of Roehampton
  • 2006-2007: Independent Consultant, International Gorilla Conservation Programme, Uganda
  • 2002-2006: PhD Student, Department of Anthropology, University College London & Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London

Qualifications

  • PhD Anthropology, University College London
  • MSc Integrative Biosciences, University of Oxford
  • MA Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge

Research

I am a political ecologist with diverse research interests around a central theme of biodiversity conservation and its relationship with society. My current research activities can be divided into three themes: (i) investigating trade-offs between ecosystem services at the landscape scale in developing countries, (ii) investigating the role of values and evidence in shaping the decisions of conservationists and their organisations, and (iii) investigating the social and political implications of new technologies for conservation.

Under the first theme I am a co-investigator in Sustainable Poverty Alleviation from Coastal Ecosystem Services (SPACES), a three-year collaborative research project running from 2013-16. Funded by ESPA, this project, led by colleagues at UEA and the University of Exeter, is investigating trade-offs between ecosystem services on the coasts of Kenya and Mozambique. I am leading the tourism research component. I also supervise three PhD students who are working on the relationship between conservation, agriculture and food security in landscapes in India, Peru and Uganda.

Under the second theme I have ongoing research interests in the values held by conservationists, particularly with respect to the use of market-based mechanisms in conservation, and the role of evidence in conservation, including evidence for biodiversity-poverty linkages. I am also interested in the challenge of interdisciplinary and intersectoral communication in conservation - an issue particularly important to me having made the transition from natural to social science during my career.

Under the third theme, I am interested in the implications of digital games for conservation, and the potential social and political implications of the increasing use of surveillance technologies (such as drones and camera traps) in conservation, particularly in the global south. As well as conducting research on games, I am an Advisor to Internet of Elephants, a startup social enterprise that is seeking to deliver conservation impact through the gamification of wildlife movement data.

A cross-cutting theme in much of my work is the role of market-based instruments in conservation. This began with my PhD, which investigated the impacts of nature-based tourism at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. I continue to have an interest in tourism, and I have also worked on REDD+.

I am strongly committed to building capacity in conservation, particularly among future conservation leaders. I contribute to this process through my work on the Masters in Conservation Leadership at the University of Cambridge, and through ongoing involvement in capacity development work across CCI.

I am on the Editorial Board of the leading conservation journal Conservation Biology, and the Board of the Social Science Working Group of the Society for Conservation Biology.

PhD supervision

I welcome approaches from potential PhD students with research plans relevant to my current interests as outlined above. Please prepare a 2-3 page outline research proposal before contacting me.

Teaching

MPhil in Conservation Leadership
Part 1B Biogeography
Part 1B Remote Sensing
Part II Political Ecology of the Global South

Publications

Other communications

  • I am committed to the open communication of research and ideas to the widest possible audience, and to this end I write a blog on conservation, Thinking Like a Human, with my colleague Bill Adams.
  • Quoted in Guardian article "RSPB uses drone to keep watch on Britain's vulnerable birds" (11th May 2014)
  • Interviewed for BBC Radio 4 Shared Planet episode on Community Protection (20th Jan 2014). Available online until Jan 2015. My interview starts around 18 minutes into the episode
  • Interviewed for BBC Radio 4 Saving Species episode on ecotourism in 2009

External activities

As well as doing formal research, I have a strong interest in applying research recommendations through project work. In 2006 I helped to establish Bwindi Advanced Market Gardeners' Association (AMAGARA), a farming cooperative which aims to increase the access of local farmers living around Bwindi to the market for produce provided by the tourist lodges in the area. Further details of the project are available on request. I am also an Advisor to Internet of Elephants, a startup social enterprise that is seeking to deliver conservation impact through the gamification of wildlife movement data.