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Josephine Chambers BSc MSc MPhil

Josephine Chambers BSc MSc MPhil

Josie's research investigates the implications of how communities interact with different intervention strategies pursuing 'win-win' outcomes for forests and people in the Peruvian Amazon.



Prior to my PhD, I worked on conservation projects in several countries, including: participatory land use planning with Ya'axché Conservation Trust and Fauna & Flora International in Belize (2013), monitoring institutional progress towards biodiversity conservation strategic objectives with UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre in the UK (2013), biodiversity and socio-economic surveys for Amazónicos por la Amazonía and Neotropical Primate Conservation in Northern Peru (2010-2012), video editing for the Golden Langur Conservation Project with Community Conservation, Inc. in the US (2010), and fieldwork for primate conservation projects in Costa Rica and Uganda (2008, 2009).


  • 2013-present: PhD Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2012-2013: MPhil Conservation Leadership (Distinction), University of Cambridge
  • 2011-2012: MSc Integrated Resource Management (Distinction), University of Edinburgh
  • 2006-2010: BSc Integrative Biology (Highest Distinction), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Funding and awards

  • Cambridge Political Economy Society Trust Supplementary PhD Funding (2017)
  • William Vaughan Lewis Fund, Geography Department, University of Cambridge (2017)
  • Cambridge Global Food Security Early Career Researcher Travel Fund (2017)
  • Antipode Foundation International Workshop Award (2016)
  • Luc Hoffman Institute - University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute Interdisciplinary Conservation Workshop Grant (2016)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Marshall Scholarship (2011 – 2016)
  • University Fieldwork Fund, Geography Department, University of Cambridge (2014 - 2015)
  • University of Illinois graduation honors – Bronze Tablet Award, Harriet Long Academic Achievement Award, Summa cum laude (2010)


The politics and reality of 'win-win' interventions for forests and people in the Peruvian Amazon

My research focuses on 'win-win' interventions which aim to jointly conserve forests and improve local people's quality of life. These interventions have proliferated globally over the past decade, yet there remains weak evidence of their success. I am interested in this disconnect between project intentions and realities, and the politics driving it.

I identify three distinct theories of change for achieving 'win-win' results and examine how they engage with households across a biodiverse landscape in Northern Peru. The findings will inform best practice for interventions aiming to benefit forests and communities.



  • Contributing author for the Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP) report on Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security: A Global Assessment Report, Chapter 5: Response Options Across the Landscape, 2015. IUFRO World Series Volume 33, Vienna.
  • Allgas, N., Shanee, S., Shanee, N., Chambers, J., Tello-Alvarado, J.C., Keeley, K., Pinasco, K. 2016. Natural re-establishment of a population of a critically endangered primate in a secondary forest: the San Martín Titi monkey (Plecturocebus oenanthe) at the Pucunucho Private Conservation Area, Peru. Primates, 1-8.
  • Milich, K.M., Stumpf, R.M., Chambers, J.M., & Chapman, C.A. 2014. Female red colobus monkeys maintain their densities through flexible feeding strategies in logged forests in Kibale National Park, Uganda. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 154(1), 52-60.


  • Political Ecology Seminar, University of Cambridge, 2017, The politics of 'success': probing the mismatch between conservation project win-win logics and local realities in Peru
  • Lab lunch, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, 2017, Investigating approaches to pursuing 'win-win' outcomes for forests and people in Peru
  • Parks and Environmental Behavior Seminar, University of Illinois, 2017, Investigating approaches to pursuing 'win-win' outcomes for forests and people in Peru
  • Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group Seminar, Cambridge, 2016, The pursuit of elusive 'win-win' results for forests and people in Peru
  • Graduate Forum, University of Cambridge, 2016, The politics and reality of 'win-win' interventions for forests and people in the Peruvian Amazon
  • Inter-disciplinarity in Conservation Research Conference, Cambridge, 2014, The politics and reality of interventions for social and ecological benefit
  • Graduate Forum, University of Cambridge, 2014, Investigating a landscape of livelihood interventions to incentivise biodiversity conservation in Northern Peru
  • Lunchtime download, Fauna & Flora International, Cambridge, 2013, Engaging communities in participatory land and resource use planning
  • Student Conference on Conservation Science, Cambridge, 2013, Land use implications for community-based conservation of a forest corridor in the Peruvian Amazon (poster)

External activities

  • Co-convenor, Political Ecology Seminars, University of Cambridge (2016-present)
  • Membership Secretary, Cambridge Conservation Forum (2016-present)
  • Workshop Leader, Action for Conservation (2016-present)

Beyond the academic nature of my work, effective local engagement during the research process is of critical importance to me. My current research involves collaboration with several Peruvian organisations and NGO professionals. The study design was developed through a series of participatory workshops, and the results were shared and discussed locally through a 2-day regional workshop funded by the Antipode Foundation.

I am committed to developing participatory methods to better engage people in collective environmental issues. I have designed and run several workshops for children and adults in the US, UK, Belize, and Peru on topics such as land use planning, resource consumption, climate change and distributional justice.

I have also produced several short videos to share local conservation projects more widely.