Paul Barnes

p1050753Contact details


Twitter: @BeanBarnes

Skype: paul.barnes1286







I am currently a part-time London NERC DTP funded PhD candidate and a freelance ecological consultant holding survey licenses for a variety of protected species in the UK. I am a member of the Human Ecology Research Group (HERG) and the Social-Ecological Systems Reading Group (SESRG) in the Department of Anthropology at UCL, as well as a member of Turvey group and the People, Wildlife and Ecosystems research theme at the Institute of Zoology, ZSL. I am a graduate of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science (ICCS) and have over eight years experience as a field ecologist, ecological consultant and project manager. I am also the co-founder of Conservation Blog.


Research Interests

  • Political ecology of environmental issues and conservation
  • Social and ecological impacts of conservation policy
  • Multispecies anthropology
  • Highly threatened, rare and cryptic species
  • Novel methods of wildlife population monitoring
  • Biocultural diversity


I am interested in how humans interact with the natural environment. I want to understand how natural resources are created through resourcefulness, controlled through balances of power, and ultimately entwined in political, economic and social institutions at multiple scales. I also have a particular affinity for the weird, wonderful, rare, cryptic and highly threatened species of the world.

My research is interdisciplinary. I use both social and natural science approaches based around political ecology, multi species anthropology and novel biological monitoring. I use these to understand how environmental issues and conservation policies play out on the ground as well to provide robust evidence for the conservation of highly threatened, rare and cryptic species. I investigate the implications of natural resource management policy for local livelihoods and systems of governance, as well as outcomes and their sustainability for people, environment and biodiversity.

In particular, I also want to understand the process by which nature becomes detached from local ecologies, livelihoods and knowledge, and how this process interacts with the dominant conservation policies of protected area formation and a variety of project-based conservation interventions. I hope to reconcile some of the contradictions found in conservation and development narratives so that we can create a space for an alternative more nuanced understanding that sees conservation policies implemented fairly and sustainably within complex social-ecological systems. To do this, my research uses a range of qualitative, quantitative and participatory methods with a historical and multi-scale perspective.


Current Research

  • Ongoing ethnographic fieldwork with communities surrounding the Cyclops Mountains in Papua Province, Indonesia.
  • Monitoring the Critically Endangered Attenborough’s Long-Beaked Echidna. Working as a member of the Institute of Zoology and ZSL EDGE in collaboration with WWF Papua, LESTARI, BKSDA Papua and UNCEN this research combines local ecological knowledge and new ranger patrol data to determine the current population status of Attenborough’s echidna and a range of other vertebrates.
  • A systematic review of Local Ecological Knowledge literature from Southeast Asia and Melanesia exploring how this concept is represented in research agendas, and how it interacts with conservation policies.


Brief CV

2016 – present: [Freelance Ecological Consultant]

2014 – present: [PhD Student, Department of Anthropology, UCL and Institute of Zoology, ZSL]

2014 – 2014: [Field Ecologist, FOA Ecology Ltd.]

2012 – 2014: [Freelance Ecological Consultant]

2012 – 2013: [MSc Conservation Science, Imperial College London]

2010 – 2012: [Ecological Consultant and Project Manager, RSK Environment Ltd.]

2009 – 2010: [Landscape Project Manager]

2009 – 2009 [Seasonal Ecology Assistant, RSK Carter Ecological Ltd.]

2008 – 2009: [Landscape and Arboricultural Survey Assistant, Sacha Barnes Ltd.]

2005 – 2008: [BSc (Hons) Environmental Sciences, University of Brighton]


Publications and Conferences

Social Ecological Systems Student Conference. Hosted by Anthropology, University College London 7th April 2016. (Co-Organiser)

Barnes, P.A. (2016) People, parks and Attenborough’s echidna: The Political Ecology of the Cyclops Mountains, Papua. Institute of Zoology, ZSL Student Conference, 26th April 2016. (Presentation)

Barnes, P. A. (2015) Battitude: Human Fruit Bat conflict in the West Indian Ocean. 7th Annual Bristol Zoological Society Symposium, ‘Saving wildlife together: Conflict, co-existence & conservation’. (Poster)

Barnes, P. A. (2013) An investigation into human attitude and behaviour towards Pteropus Rodricensis (Rodrigues Fruit Bat). (MSc Thesis)


Funding and Awards

Private Donor: Population status and trends of the critically endangered Zaglossus attenboroughi (Attenborough’s Long-beaked echidna) in The Cyclops Mountains, Papua Province, Indonesia. Co-I and Fieldwork Lead (PI: Nisha Owen, ZSL EDGE), December 2016 – Current.

Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong (OPCFHK): Monitoring Monotremes: Establishing a conservation evidence base for long-beaked echidnas in Papua. Co-I and Fieldwork Lead (PI: Nisha Owen, ZSL EDGE), July 2014 – October 2015.

UK Government Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). PhD Studentship



  • Emergency First Aid at Work. British Red Cross, 2017
  • Register of Landbased Operatives Health, Safety and Environment. British Association of Landscape Industries, 2017
  • Tropical Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, NERC Advanced Training Short Course, 2017
  • Indonesian language course. School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016
  • Introduction to using R for spatial analysis. Liverpool University, 2015
  • Challenges of Multidisiplinarity in Socio-Environment Research (CLOSER). Kings College London, 2015
  • Arena One Gateway training for University College London Teaching Assistants. University College London, 2015
  • Environmental Justice. University of East Anglia, 2015
  • Interdisciplinary studies of evidence. University College London Doctoral Skills Development Programme, 2015
  • Academic writing for PhD Students. University College London Doctoral Skills Development Programme, 2015
  • Think-write. University College London Doctoral Skills Development Programme, 2015
  • Reading for a PhD. University College London Doctoral Skills Development Programme, 2015
  • Social science methods: An introduction to statistics. Birkbeck, University College London Doctoral Skills Development Programme, 2014
  • Networking skills. School of Oriental and African Studies, University College London Doctoral Skills Development Programme, 2014
  • Management skills for researchers. University College London Doctoral Skills Development Programme, 2014
  • Introduction to qualitative research: In-depth interviewing. University College London Doctoral Skills Development Programme, 2014
  • Generating grant funding. University College London Doctoral Skills Development Programme, 2014
  • Core natural environment training. UK Government Natural Environmental Research Council London Doctoral Training Partnership (University of London, Kew, ZSL), 2014
  • Conservation leadership and project management. Durrell, 2013
  • Fieldwork first aid. Imperial College London, 2013
  • European bat echolocation sound analysis. Echoes Ecology, 2012
  • Barn Owl ecology, survey and signs. Barn Owl Trust, 2011
  • Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS), 2011
  • European Protected Species: Legal training for ecological consultants. DLA Piper Penny Anderson Associates, 2011
  • BS5837 (Trees in relation to construction) and bats. Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, 2011
  • Emergency First Aid. JOLEE, 2011
  • Woodland Ecology. Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, 2009
  • Phase 1 Habitat Survey. Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, 2009