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Conservation Research Institute



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.


I am chiefly interested in understanding why conservationists do what they do, and what happens when they do it.  

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 digital and analogue tracking of animals and the application of 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


Key publications: 

Leader-Williams, N., Adams, W.M. and Smith, R.J., 2010. Trade-offs in Conservation, Wiley-Blackwell. 400pp.

Adams, W.M., 2009. Green Development: environment and sustainability in a developing world, 3rd edition, Routledge. 257pp.

Hutton, J., Dickson, B. and Adams, W.M. (eds.), 2009. Recreational Hunting, Conservation and Rural Livelihoods, Wiley-Blackwell. 382pp.

Adams, W.M., 2008. Transition to Sustainability: towards a humane and diverse world, IUCN.

Adams, W.M. (ed.), 2008. Conservation, Routledge.

Adams, W.M., 2004. Against Extinction: the story of conservation, Earthscan. 311pp.

Adams, W.M., 2003. Future Nature: a vision for conservation, Revised edition, Earthscan. 250pp.

Adams, W.M. and Mulligan, M. (eds.), 2003. Decolonizing Nature: strategies for conservation in a postcolonial era, Earthscan / James & James. 308pp.

Adams, W.M., 2001. Green Development: environment and sustainability in the Third World, 2nd edition, Routledge. 257pp.

Mortimore, M. and Adams, W.M., 1999. Working the Sahel: environment and society in northern Nigeria, Routledge. 226pp.

Adams, W.M., Goudie, A.S. and Orme, A.R. (eds.), 1996. The Physical Geography of Africa, Oxford University Press. 429pp.

Adams, W.M. and Slikkerveer, L.J. (eds.), 1996. Indigenous Knowledge and Change in African Agriculture, University of Leiden.

Adams, W.M., 1995. Future Nature: a vision for conservation, Earthscan. 226pp.

Hollis, G.E., Adams, W.M. and Aminu-Kano, M. (eds.), 1993. The Hadejia-Nguru Wetlands: environment, economy and sustainable use of a Sahelian floodplain wetland, IUCN Wetlands Programme. 244pp.

Adams, W.M., 1992. Wasting the Rain: rivers, people and planning in Africa, Minnesota University Press. 256pp.

Adams, W.M., 1990. Green Development: environment and sustainability in the Third World, Routledge. 257pp.

Seeley, J.A. and Adams, W.M. (eds.), 1987. Environmental issues in African development planning, African Studies Centre. 84pp.

Adams, W.M., 1986. Nature's Place: conservation sites and countryside change, George Allen and Unwin. 209pp.

Adams, W.M., 1984. Implementing the Act: a study of habitat protection under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act, World Life Fund. 79pp.

Adams, W.M. and Grove, A.T. (eds.), 1984. Irrigation in tropical Africa, Problems and Problem Solving, African Studies Centre. 148pp.

Moran Professor of Conservation and Development

Contact Details

Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Downing Place
01223 333363