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Anca Serban

Anca Serban

PhD Candidate

I am interested in understanding how trade-offs between agricultural productivity and biodiversity conservation are negotiated between different actors in forested landscapes and what are the socio-ecological implications of different policy interventions in these landscapes.


Prior to entering the PhD program, I worked with local and international conservation societies, in community-based conservation projects. My main role was to develop socio-economic tools to improve the livelihoods of Romanian traditional farming communities while conserving the biologically diverse environments these communities live in, including the enhancement of landscape connectivity for large carnivores.


  • 2013-present: PhD Student, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2011-2013: Landscape Connectivity and Community Outreach officer in Romania, Fauna and Flora International, Cambridge, UK and Zarand Association, Romania
  • 2010: Agriculture and Environmental Advisor Internship, European Parliament, Bruxelles, Belgium
  • 2009-present: Vice-president and Scientific Adviser for Agent Green Environmental Protection Organisation, Bucharest, Romania


  • PhD Candidate in Geography, University of Cambridge (2013-Present)
  • MA Management and International Economics, Academy of Economic Studies, Romania and Université D'Artois, France (2011)
  • MSc Environmental Protection and Management, University of Edinburgh (2010)
  • BSc (Honours) in Economics, Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest, Romania (2009)


  • William Vaughn Lewis Fund, Philip Lake (2017)
  • Cambridge Philosophical Society Travel Grant (2017)
  • Cambridge Philosophical Society Research Studentships (2016)
  • St Catharine College, University of Cambridge Travel Grant (2016)
  • Cambridge Philosophical Society Travel Grant (2016)
  • Funds for Women Graduates (2016)
  • University Fieldwork Fund (2015)
  • Fieldwork funding grant from UNEP-WCMC as part of a broader project on agrarian change and biodiversity conservation (2014-2015)
  • Fieldwork funding grant from Tim and Wendy Whitmore Fund (2014)
  • St Catharine College, University of Cambridge Travel Grant (2014)
  • Private donor fund, PhD Scholarship (2013-2014)
  • Green Entrepreneurship start-up grant from the Romanian-American Foundation for the development of an eco-business whose profit supports the long-term activity of an environmental protection association (2011-2013)
  • Conservation Leadership, Fauna and Flora International (2011-2012)


My interest in conservation is motivated by the desire to use scientific research in reconciling conflicts between human land and livelihood uses and biodiversity conservation in developed and developing countries.

I am particularly interested in coupling representations of natural and human systems, using participatory modelling approaches, to understand how agricultural and environmental trade-offs are negotiated between different actors in agricultural forested landscapes and what are the implications of different policies on food security, ecosystem services and future land use patterns in these landscapes.

My current research is based in India and aims to bring new insight into the ability of future landscapes to provide habitat and ecosystem while ensuring food security and improving livelihoods under different policy interventions.


  • 2009: Reducing Emissions from Forestation and Forest Degradation - World Nations Join Forces in Copenhagen to save Climate and Forests. Info Mediu Europa, No 11 (48), pg 72-79
  • 2011: Biodiversity report- DN 66A road construction project. The National Agency for Environmental Protection, Romania.
  • 2015: Contributing author Chapter 2, 3 and 5:
  • Vira, Bhaskar, Wildburger, Christoph and Mansourian, Stephanie. Forests and Food: Addressing Hunger and Nutrition Across Sustainable Landscapes. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers, 2015.
  • 2016: Henry, Travers, Ana, Nuno, Matthew,Selinske, Emma, Bush, Tatsiana, Barychka, Ranaivo, Rasolofoson, Anca, Serban, Francesca, Mancini, James, Watson, EJ, Milner-Gulland. A manifesto for predictive conservation. Conservation Biology. In prep.
  • 2017: Tommaso, Jucker et al, 2017. Revisiting the 100 priority questions for global biodiversity conservation: how far have we come and what should we focus on next? Conservation Biology. Under review.

Conference participation

  • SCCS, Cambridge 2017 – presentation on Socio-economic implications of land use interventions
  • Lab lunch, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, 2017 –presentation on Assessing land use interventions using agent-based modelling
  • RGS New Castle, 2016 – presentation on Socio-economic implications of land use interventions
  • Third Year Forum, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge- presentation on Land use, food production and environmental sustainability
  • World Congress on Agroforestry New Delhi, India, 2014-participation

  • UCCRI student conference 2014 -organizer

  • ECCB Glasgow, 2012- presentation on Socio-ecological Landscapes of Transylvania
  • SCCS, Cambridge 2011-poster on Wildlife Corridors in Romania

Training and skills

  • Modelling decision-making processes- training, Leipzig, UfZ 2015
  • Companion Modelling- training on participatory modelling ETH Zurich, 2014
  • R course - training on basics of R, University of Cambridge, UK, 2014
ABM –agent-based modelling in socio-ecological systems Montpelier, CIRAD, France, 2014

External activities

External links

Introducing my research UCCRI