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.
- 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
- PhD Anthropology, University College London
- MSc Integrative Biosciences, University of Oxford
- MA Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge
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 (funded by an ESPA Evidence and Impact Research Grant). 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 co-founded the Games for Nature platform, building on a Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) small grant. With Bill Adams I am working to develop 'Race the Wild' - a mobile phone app that will allow the user to virtually 'race' against wild animals that are tagged with GPS tracking devices. We have a short project to develop this concept that is funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account at the University of Cambridge. We are writing a blog to describe the process of turning social science into a digital game. I am also interested in the potential social and political implications of the increasing use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or 'drones', in conservation, particularly in the global south.
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 now planning new research into the reasons that conservation organisations have embraced market-based approaches.
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 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. I would be particularly interested to hear from potential students who might wish to conduct research into the social and political implications of conservation drones, the role of social factors in shaping the IUCN RED list processes, or the diet and travel choices of conservationists and their compatibility with conservation goals.
- Sandbrook, C. & Burgess, N.D. (2015) Biodiversity and ecosystem services: not all positive. Ecosystem Services, 12, 29
- Humle, T., Duffy, R., Roberts, D.L., Sandbrook, C., StJohn, F.A.V. & Smith, R.J. (2014) Biology's drones: undermined by fear. Science, 344, 1351
- Sandbrook, C., Adams, W.M. & Monteferri, B. (2014) Digital Games and Biodiversity Conservation. Conservation Letters, DOI: 10.1111/conl.12113
- Roe, D., Fancourt, M., Sandbrook, C., Sibanda, M., Giuliani, A., & Gordon-Maclean, A. (2014) Which components or attributes of biodiversity influence which dimensions of poverty? Environmental Evidence, 3: DOI:10.1186/2047-2382-3-3
- Sandbrook, C., Fisher, J. & Vira, B. (2013) What do conservationists think about markets? Geoforum, 50, 232-240
- Sandbrook, C., Adams, W. M., Büscher, B. & Vira, B. (2013) Social Research and Biodiversity Conservation. Conservation Biology, 27(6), 1487-1490
- Adams, W. M. & Sandbrook, C. (2013) Conservation, Evidence and Policy. Oryx, 47(3), 329-335
- Sandbrook, C. & Adams, W. M. (2013) Towards evidence-informed conservation: a reply to Haddaway and Pullin. Oryx, 47(3), 339
- Sandbrook, C. (2013) Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation: What constitutes good evidence? Poverty and Conservation Learning Group Discussion Paper No10
- Ahebwa, W., van der Duim, R. & Sandbrook, C. (2012) Private-community partnerships: Investigating a new approach to conservation and development in Uganda. Conservation and Society, 10(4), 305-317
- Roe, D., Elliott, J., Sandbrook, C. & Walpole, M. (Eds.) (2012) Biodiversity Conservation and Poverty Alleviation: Exploring the Evidence for a Link. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, UK
- Sandbrook, C. & Roe, D. (2012) Species Conservation and Poverty Alleviation - The Case of Great Apes in Africa. In Biodiversity Conservation and Poverty Alleviation: Exploring the Evidence for a Link, Eds. Roe, D., Elliott, J., Sandbrook, C. & Walpole, M. pp 173-190. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, UK
- Roe, D., Elliott, J., Sandbrook, C. & Walpole, M. (2012) Linking Biodiversity Conservation and Poverty Alleviation: What, Why and Where? In Biodiversity Conservation and Poverty Alleviation: Exploring the Evidence for a Link, Eds. Roe, D., Elliott, J., Sandbrook, C. & Walpole, M. pp 3-18. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, UK
- Roe, D., Elliott, J., Sandbrook, C. & Walpole, M. (2012) Tackling Global Poverty: What Contribution Can Biodiversity and Its Conservation Really Make? In Biodiversity Conservation and Poverty Alleviation: Exploring the Evidence for a Link, Eds. Roe, D., Elliott, J., Sandbrook, C. & Walpole, M. pp 316-328. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, UK
- Sandbrook, C. & Adams, W. M. (2012) Accessing the impenetrable: the nature and distribution of tourism benefits at a Ugandan National Park. Society and Natural Resources, 25(9), 915-932
- Ahebwa, W., van der Duim, R. & Sandbrook, C. (2012) Tourism Revenue Sharing Policy at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP), Uganda: A Policy Arrangements Approach (PAA). Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 20
- Sandbrook, C., Scales, I., Vira, B. & Adams, W. (2010) Value plurality among conservation professionals. Conservation Biology, 25(2), 285-294
- Sandbrook, C., Nelson, F., Adams, W. & Agrawal, A. (2010) Carbon, Forests and the REDD Paradox. Oryx, 44(3), 330-334
- Sandbrook, C., Roe, D. (2010) Linking Conservation and Poverty Alleviation: the case of great apes. IIED Poverty and Conservation Learning Group Discussion Paper, International Institute for Environment and Development.
- Blomley, T., Namara, A., McNeilage, A., Franks, P., Rainer, H., Donaldson, A., Malpas, R., Olupot, W., Baker, J., Sandbrook, C., Bitariho, F. & Infield, M. (2010) Development AND gorillas? Assessing fifteen years of integrated conservation and development in south-western Uganda. Natural Resources Issues No. 23, International Institute for Environment and Development.
- Sandbrook, C. (2009) The local economic impact of different forms of nature-based tourism. Conservation Letters, 3(1), 21-28
- Roe, D., Nelson, F. & Sandbrook, C. (eds.) (2009) Community Management of Natural Resources in Africa: Impacts and Experiences. Natural Resource Issues series, International Institute for Environment and Development.
- Sandbrook, C. (2008) Putting leakage in its place: the significance of retained tourism revenue in the local context in rural Uganda. Journal of International Development, 22(1), 124-136
- Sandbrook, C. & Semple, S. (2006) The rules and the reality of mountain gorilla Gorilla beringei beringei tracking: how close do tourists get? Oryx, 40(4), 428-433
- Sandbrook, C. (2012) Book review of Community Forest Monitoring for the Carbon Market: Opportunities Under REDD, edited by Margaret Skutsch. Oryx, 46(1), 154
- 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
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.