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Conservation Research Institute



Josie researches the implications and politics of diverse efforts to create more sustainable and equitable outcomes, with an emphasis on collaborative multi-stakeholder approaches.

I am a political ecologist, with a focus on interventions that aim to jointly conserve the environment and improve human well-being. Diverse approaches have proliferated globally over the past decade, yet weak evidence exists for their success in practice. 


My research seeks to: 1) critically assess these interventions by exploring questions such as: how are they designed? what are their implications? why do they fail or succeed according to different perspectives? what politics often drive a disconnect between narratives and outcomes?, and 2) develop collaborative methods with diverse multi-stakeholder groups to design constructive alternatives to dominant approaches to conservation.

My doctoral research followed this approach in the context of the region of San Martin in northern Peru. The findings demonstrated how and why the approaches and narratives of 11 conservation organisations were mismatched with the perspectives of local people living in project areas. I organised a two-day Antipode Foundation sponsored workshop in the region to facilitate 70 representatives of government, NGOs, communities and research institutions to question common assumptions and approaches and promote constructive dialogue over new possibilities.

My postdoctoral research with the Luc Hoffmann Institute brought together 40+ researchers from over 20 research institutes worldwide to explore key differences between diverse collaborative methods to address environmental challenges. Together we examined in-depth cases from over 30 countries across six continents, making this the broadest scale analysis to date of collaborative approaches in conservation. We hope the improved transparency over what people actually mean when they use collaborative terminology and the implications of these choices will help people to better co-design and navigate collaborative approaches to conservation.

As an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow, I will focus on publishing my doctoral and postdoctoral research to date and will further research and trial social learning methodologies to foster self-reflection and constructive dialogue among conservation and development project donors and managers.


Key publications: 

Jucker, T., Wintle, B.C., Shackelford, G.E., Bocquillon, P., Geffert, J.L., Kasoar, T., Kovacs, E., Mumby, H.S., Orland, C., Schleicher, J., Tew, E.R., Zabala, A., Amano, T., Bell, A., Bongalov, B., Chambers, J.M., Corrigan, C.M., Durán, A.P., Duvic-Paoli, L.-.A., Emilson, C.E., Emilson, E.J.S., Silva, J.F.D., Garnett, E.E., Green, E.J., Guth, M.K., Hacket-Pain, A.J., Hinsley, A., Igea, J., Kunz, M., Luke, S.H., Lynam, W., Martin, P.A., Nunes, M.H., Ockendon, N., Pavitt, A., Payne, C.L.R., Plutshack, V., Rademacher, T.T., Robertson, R.J., Rose, D.C., Serban, A., Simmons, B.I., Tayleur, C.M., Wordley, C.F.R. and Mukherjee, N., 2018. Ten-year assessment of the 100 priority questions for global biodiversity conservation. Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology, v. 32, p.1457-1463. doi:10.1111/cobi.13159.

Chambers, J., Del Aguila Mejia, M., Ramirez Reategui, R. and Sandbrook, C.. Why joint conservation and development projects often fail: An in-depth examination in the Peruvian Amazon. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space.

Teaching and Supervisions

  • Designer, "Game of Life" – A two-hour interactive game for youth to explore how rules and power shape the distributional justice and sustainability of resource use in society; Facilitator, training session for University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute (2018) and five events for the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, Science Festival and in Community Centres in Cambridge (2013-2017)
  • Guest Lecturer, Geography, Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge (2017)
  • Guest Lecturer, Conservation Biology, University of Illinois, US (2015, 2016, 2017)
  • Presenter, Political Ecology Network – POLLEN Conference (Oslo, Norway – 2018), Political Ecology Seminars (University of Cambridge – 2018), American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting (Boston – 2017), The Value of Life: Measurements, Stakes, Implications (Wageningen, Netherlands – 2017), Parks and Environmental Behavior Seminar (University of Illinois, US – 2017), Department of Zoology Lab Lunch (University of Cambridge – 2017), Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group Seminar (University of Cambridge – 2016)
  • Organiser, International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB), Cartagena, Colombia, Triple Symposia: "Critically examining 'success' in conservation" (2017)
  • Organiser, Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) II Conference, Oaxaca, Mexico, Two-day workshop: "A closer look at co-production: what works, when, where and how?" (2017)
  • Organiser, Antipode Foundation International Workshop, Two-day workshop: "Building bridges for the conservation of forests and well-being of communities in San Martin, Peru" (2017)
  • Organiser, Luc Hoffmann Institute and University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, Half-day workshop: "How do you understand human behaviour in conservation?" (2017)

Other Professional Activities

  • Convenor, Conservation and Behaviour Change special interest group, Cambridge Conservation Initiative (2017-present)
  • Membership Secretary, Cambridge Conservation Forum (2016-present)
  • Workshop Leader, Action for Conservation (NGO), London (2016-present)
  • Jazz Singer, The Cambridge Corncrakes – Cambridge Conservation Forum Band (2013-present)
  • Co-convenor, Political Ecology Seminars, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge (2016-2017)
Postdoctoral Fellow
 Josie  Chambers

Contact Details

Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Downing Place
01223 - 333399