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Bill Adams MA MSc PhD

Bill Adams MA MSc PhD

Moran Professor of Conservation and Development and Fellow of Downing College.

Bill Adams approaches questions of environmental development and conservation from perspectives of political ecology and environmental history.



  • 1984-present: Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.


  • B.A. in Geography
  • M.Sc in Conservation, University of London
  • PhD Geography, University of Cambridge.


Bill Adams is a member of the Political Ecology group, on whose website details of research projects are available.

His current interests include:

  1. The role of technology in conservation thought and practice (particularly rackiong and genetic technologies)
  2. The political ecology of landscape-scale conservation
  3. The role of metaphors (ecosystems services, ecological restoration etc) in shaping biodiversity conservation strategy
  4. Sustainability in theory and practice



Recent papers

  • Adams, W.M., Small, R.D.S. and Vickery, J.A., 2014. The impact of land use change on migrant birds in the Sahel. Biodiversity.
  • Apostolopoulou, E. and Adams, W.M., 2014. Neoliberal Capitalism and Conservation in the Post-crisis Era: The Dialectics of "Green" and "Un-green" Grabbing in Greece and the UK. Antipode.
  • Hodge, I.D. and Adams, W.M. (2013) 'The future of public forests: An institutional blending approach to forest governance in England', Journal of Rural Studies 3: 23-35
  • Adams, W.M., Hodge, I.D. and Sandbrook, L., 2013. New spaces for nature: The re-territorialisation of biodiversity conservation under neoliberalism in the UK. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.
  • Sandbrook, C. and Adams, W.M. (2013) 'Evidence and Conservation: the Need for a New Approach', Oryx 47: 327-335
  • Sandbrook, C., Adams, W.M., Büscher, B., Vira, B., (2013) Social Research and Biodiversity Conservation, Conservation Biology DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12141.
  • Zaccai, E. and Adams, W.M. (2012) 'How far are Biodiversity Loss and Climate Change Similar as Policy Issues?' Environment, Development and Sustainability 14: 557-5
  • Milne, S.A. and Adams, W.M. (2012) ''Market masquerades: Uncovering the politics of community-level Payments for Environmental Services in Cambodia', Development and Change 43: 133-158
  • Phelps, J., Edward L. Webb, E.L., Adams, W.M. (2012) 'Biodiversity Co-benefits in Forest Carbon Emissions Reduction Policy' Nature Climate Change 2: 497-503
  • Redpath, S.M., Young, J., Evely, A., Adams, W.M., Sutherland, W.J., Whitehouse, A., Amar, A., Lambert, R.A., Linnell, J.D.C., Watt, A., and Gutiérrez, R.J. (2012) 'Understanding and managing conservation conflicts', Trends in Ecology and Evolution in press online: 10.1016/j.tree.2012.08.021
  • Hodge, , I.D. and Adams, W.M. (2012) 'Neoliberalization, rural land trusts and institutional blending', Geoforum 43: 472-482
  • Hirsch, P.D., Adams, W.M., Brosius, J.P., Zia, A.M., Bariola,N., Dammert, J.L. (2011). 'Acknowledging conservation trade-offs and embracing complexity', Conservation Biology. 25(2): 259-264
  • Adams, W.M. (2010) 'Conservation plc.', Oryx 44(4): 482-4 doi:10.1017/S0030605310001213
  • Adams. W.M. (2008) 'Conservation, carbon and transition to sustainability', Oryx 42: 469-470
  • Adams. W.M. (2008) Thinking like a Human: social science and the two cultures problem, Oryx 41: 275-276
  • Upton, C., Ladle, R., Hulme, D., Jiang, T., Brockington, D. and Adams, W.M. (2008) 'Are poverty and protected area establishment linked at a national scale?' Oryx 42(1): 19-25.
  • Carter, E., Adams, W.M. and Hutton, J. (2008) 'Private Protected Areas: Management regimes, tenure arrangements and protected area categorization in East Africa', Oryx 42: 177-186
  • Adams, W.M. and Jon Hutton, J. (2007) 'People, Parks and Poverty: Political Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation', Conservation and Society 5: 147-183
  • Hutton, J. Adams, W.M. and Murombedzi, J.C. (2005) 'Back to the barriers?: Changing narratives in biodiversity conservation', Forum for Development Studies 32, 2: 341-370
  • Redford, K.G., Robinson, J.A., Adams, W.M. (2006) 'Parks as shibboleths', Conservation Biology 20(1): 1-2
  • Adams, W.M., Perrow, M.R. and Carpenter, A. (2004) 'Conservatives and Champions: River Managers and the River Restoration Discourse in the UK', Environment and Planning A 36: 1929-1942.
  • Adams, W.M. Brockington, D., Dyson, J. and Vira, B. (2003) 'Managing Tragedies: Understanding Conflict over Common Pool Resources', Science 302: 1915-1916
  • Adams, W.M. Aveling, R., Brockington, D., Dickson, B., Elliott, J., Hutton, J., Roe, D., Vira, B., Wolmer, W. (2004) 'Biodiversity Conservation and the Eradication of Poverty', Science 306: 1146-1149
  • Adams, W.M. and Infield, M. (2003) 'Who is on the gorilla's payroll? Claims on tourist revenue from a Ugandan National Park', World Development 31(1): 177-190.