People, Wildlife and Ecosystems

The PWE theme is led by Sarah Durant and brings together ZSL staff undertaking research in the theme from the Institute of Zoology and Conservation Programmes. It has the following aims:

  1. To understand humans as a component of ecosystems.
  2. To use this understanding to develop solutions ensuring sustainable coexistence in the face of environmental change.

Research focuses on the following key areas

Understanding processes that promote and impede human-wildlife coexistence

Projects include understanding and mitigating conflict between people and large carnivores in Africa and Asia, including ongoing research at sites in Algeria, Tanzania, Kenya and Mongolia (Sarah Durant, Rosie Woodroffe and Nathalie Pettorelli); Understanding and mitigating conflict caused by bovine TB between farmers and badgers in the UK (Rosie Woodroffe and Jon Bielby); Identifying priority areas for conservation of saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) using local ecological knowledge (Sam Turvey). Three PhD students work in this area: Claudia Amphlett, Farid Belbachir & Sarah Brooke.

Evaluating the contribution of ecosystem services to sustainable livelihoods, economies and society

Projects include measuring natural capital (Nathalie Pettorelli); Assessing the cultural and biological values of large highland lakes in Papua, Indonesia (Sarah Durant); Environment change and it's perception in riparian ecosystems: a case study and development of a new policy-planning tool (Guy Cowlishaw, Nathalie Pettorelli); Social and ecological dynamics of the bushmeat trade: commodity chains and sustainability (Guy Cowlishaw, Marcus Rowcliffe);s Understanding community responses to trawling impact (    Kirsty Kemp); Ecosystem service provision and adaptive co-management in the Solomon Islands (Nathalie Pettorelli); Marine resources, livelihoods and conservation around a West African marine protected area ( Marcus Rowcliffe); Ecosystem services in Ghana: understanding the human component (Marcus Rowcliffe, Guy Cowlishaw ); Monitoring bushmeat imports from Africa to Europe: Refining methods, establishing scale and evaluating threats (Marcus Rowcliffe, Noelle Kumpel, Andrew Cunningham); Evaluating the alternative livelihood approach to improving the sustainability of bushmeat hunting in West and Central Africa (Marcus Rowcliffe, Noelle Kumpel); Modelling hunting in multi-prey systems ( Marcus Rowcliffe); Saving Sumatran swamps: Linking carbon credits and biodiversity conservation in Indonesia (Chris Carbone, Marcus Rowcliffe). Four PhD students work in this area: Gita Kasthala, Tammy Davies, Caitlin Douglas & Juliet Wright.

Understanding and predicting the impacts of policy and management interventions on conservation outcomes

Projects include Biodiversity, ecosystem services, social sustainability and tipping points in African drylands (Marcus Rowcliffe); Tiger Conservation and Dam Development in the Tribal Forests of Northeast India (    Chris Carbone, Marcus Rowcliffe); developing an evidenced based approach to large carnivore management in Tanzania (Sarah Durant     and Maurus Msuha); the range wide conservation program for cheetah and African wild dogs (Sarah Durant, Rosie Woodroffe, Rosemary Groom, Nick Mitchell and Audrey Ipavec); River dolphins, fish and fisheries in Bangladesh: evaluating trends in mortality and indicator status (Sam Turvey); Mangrove management in the face of climate change (Nathalie Pettorelli). Four PhD students work in this area Andrew Jacobson, Nadia Richman, Murray Collins & Clare Duncan.

By its very nature, this theme uses a multidisciplinary approach to address key questions that ensure the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems. Ongoing research draws on collaborations from the fields of geography, anthropology, social science, agriculture and economics. Researchers in this theme also work with a wide range of international partners, including governments, businesses and NGOs. The theme focuses on high impact research that has the potential to develop new models and strategies to conserve biodiversity and ensure a sustainable future.




  • Sarah Durant
  • Rosie Woodroffe
  • Nathalie Pettorelli
  • Jon Bielby
  • Sam Turvey
  • Guy Cowlishaw    
  • Marcus Rowcliffe
  • Andrew Cunningham
  • Noelle Kumpel
  • Chris Carbone