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Academic Profile

Paul Jepson is course director of the MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management. He previously directed the MSc in Nature Society and Environmental Policy (2007-2013) and prior to these appointments, he held Senior Research Fellowships with the Environmental Change Institute and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Said Business School. Paul transferred into academia from a successful career in conservation management and policy. He has consulted for a wide range of inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations and was Indonesia Programme Coordinator for BirdLife International (1991-1997). He started his career as a local government countryside officer developing new urban conservation initiatives in Manchester and Shrewsbury (UK). His research interests focus on the geographies of conservation governance with particular reference to long term interests in protected areas, wildlife trade, conservation history, attitudes, values and practices, media representations of conservation issues, and the role, accountability and legitimacy of conservation NGOs. Paul is actively integrating the opportunities offered by new technologies and media into his teaching and research.

Current Research

Conservation Governance Lab

Paul leads an interdisciplinary Conservation Governance Lab working to generate novel and creative insight to help conservation assure its relevance and impact in the 21st century. The lab's identity is founded on the belief that important applied insights lie at the interfaces of the natural and social sciences and of theory and practice. It aims to generate richer conceptualisations of the actor, policy and management landscape of conservation and how this varies across time and space.

More specifically, Paul's research and writing focuses on three themes: i) theory development to support better conservation practice, ii) the governance of conservation over space and time, and ii) new trends in conservation governance futures. Over the last five years he has published a series of conceptual papers together with Richard Ladle and Maan Barua exploring the agency of 'biocultural' terms and phenomena in conservation (e.g. extinction, flagships, rediscovery) and their role in producing the institutional practices and actor assemblages of conservation. His more empirically based work explores how western-formulated conservation logics and policy instruments interplay with local cultural and resource management institutions to produce differing geographies of conservation action.

Two themes long-term research interests are concern the role of NGOs in producing the spatial regimes of conservation through standards and spatial planning frameworks and ways to govern pastimes that have negative conservation impacts but that are culturally embedded and generate significant social and economic benefits (specifically bird-keeping and migratory bird hunting). A developing research theme of his lab concerns the implications of new technologies and the practices they produce for the future of conservation. Paul is also active in science communication, particularly in the area of biodiversity science-policy interfaces and the use of social media. He established the Freshwater blog and @tweetgeography.

Selected Research Projects

  • Protected Area Resilience: Promoting value creation and value protection in a globally significant asset class, Smith School for Enterprise and Environment, WWF-UK (2014)
    Leading development of a framework metrics to assess protected area assets, the forms of value they create and the risks to different asset types.
  • Identifying genomic resources against pests and pathogens in tree genera: a case study in Fraxinus, BBSRC Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Initiative (2014-2016)
    Leader of work-package 4 on Public acceptability of potential genetic solutions to tree health problems.
  • Biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems: status, trends, pressures and conservation priorities (BioFresh). European Union F7 (2009-2014)
    Leader of two components of this multi-partner eco-informatics project which aims to raise the policy profile of FW Biodiversity and develop a stronger evidence-base for policy responses. These are the Dissemination and Communication work package and the development of a climate vulnerability index.
  • A market-led response to domestic bird trade in Indonesia
    In collaboration with Dr Richard Ladle; Fahrul Amama, Burung Indonesia; Made Prana, Indonesian Bird Association; Sujatnika, Aksenta, and Farquhar Stirling, Nielsen Indonesia; Financial support from Darwin Initiative; (2005-2008).
  • Improving the performance of social organizations: the strategic management of legitimating assets (2006-2007)
    In collaboration with Dr Alex Nicholls and Alec Jacobs, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Saïd Business School; Financial support from University RDC.


MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management

  • Conservation Governance
  • Biodiversity Technologies
  • Professional Research Practice

All MScs

  • Oxford Environment Innovation and Development Forum
  • Policy Workshops and Study Days

Current Graduate Research Students

Michael 't Sas-Rolfes

Conserving Africa's rhinos and elephants: geography, economics and policy

Cheli Cresswell

Using big data and citizen science to map geographic and temporal trends in human-elephant conflict in Asia

Anna Hushlak

From virtual space to physical place: mobilising the affordances of communication technologies for biodiversity conservation

John Mittermeier

Cultural value and biodiversity conservation: harnessing the power of 'big data' to quantify the cultural importance of species

Recent Graduate Research Students (since 2006)

Nina Kruglikova
Completed DPhil in 2014

Environmental NGOs as a mediator of scientific knowledge: an enthnographic study

Mari Mulyani
Completed DPhil in 2014

The interplay between the REDD+ mechanism and forest-related institutions in Indonesia

Maan Barua
Completed DPhil in 2013

The political ecology of human-elephant relationships in India

Kathleen Buckingham
Completed DPhil in 2012

The marginalisation of an orphan species: examining bamboos fit within international forestry institutions

Natalie Page (MPhil)
Completed MPhil in 2015
Valuing a human asset through a novel framework for protected area resilience: A case study of the Mersey Valley Countryside Warden Service
Priscilla Corbett
Completed MPhil in 2015
Place, agency and policy: Does the one size of India's Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act really fit all?
Chung-Han Yang
Completed MPhil in 2015
Environmental NGO engagements with the Chinese mining and oil industry
James Erbaugh
Completed MPhil in 2013
The formalization of smallholder timber production in northern Central Java: Governmentalization beyond the political forest
Jonas Schoenefeld
Completed MPhil in 2013
The role of environmental groups in EU climate change policy-making
Maria Szauer
Completed MPhil in 2013
The role of the mass media in the disaster management political agenda, in Colombia: Case studies of the 2010-2011 La Niña floorings
Gillian Petrokofsky
Completed DPhil in 2011
Strengthening the evidence base for English forestry policy formulation (Registered in Plant Sciences, Oxford)
Edward Perry
Completed MPhil in 2010
Towards a blended governance approach for forest biodiversity conservation in Indonesia.

Selected Publications

  • View Dr Paul Jepson's ORCID profile
  • View Dr Paul Jepson's Scopus profile
  • View Dr Paul Jepson's ResearchGate profile
  • View Dr Paul Jepson's Academia.edu profile
  • View Dr Paul Jepson's Google Scholar profile
  • View Dr Paul Jepson's ResearcherID profile

If you lack access to journals and would like to read any of the articles below please follow Paul on ResearchGate or contact him directly for a reprint.


Journal Articles

Book Chapters


Selected Reports and Popular Articles

Research and Concept Notes and Digital Native Media