Prof Katherine Homewood

Prof Katherine Homewood



  • Professor of Human Ecology
    Dept of Anthropology
    Faculty of S&HS

Joined UCL


I work on the interaction of conservation and development, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and with a special focus on pastoralist peoples in drylands, among other groups and ecosystems. I research the implications of natural resource policies and management for local people's livelihoods and welfare, and the implications of changing land use for environment and biodiversity. I convene the Human Ecology Research Group which brings together staff and postgraduates working on environment and development issues.

My research explores the interactions of conservation policy and practice with rural livelihoods in less developed countries, and focuses particularly on ecosystem ecology, household economy and livelihoods diversification in East African rangelands. Two current projects are at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/best; and  http://www.iccs.org.uk/measuring-complex-outcomes-of-environment-and-development-interventions/The research programmes I have led, and the PhDs (and Masters) I have supervised, have developed methodologies for in-depth qualitative and quantitative study of change in rural livelihoods and of the impacts of conservation interventions for biodiversity and for local people. In particular, the Human Ecology Research Group I set up and lead has made a name for innovative and rigorous integration of natural and social sciences approaches and was recognised in RAE2008 as being of top international quality. 

Current work contributes to building HERG's work in environment and development generally as well as contributing to the new Department-, Faculty- and UCL-wide interest in sustainability. This work has clear and direct impact through its implications for and demonstrable adoption into policy and practice by UK and other donor governments, international agencies, and also LDC governments and NGOs.

Award year Qualification Institution
1976 PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
University College London
1971 BA
Bachelor of Arts
University of Oxford

I studied Zoology at Oxford and gained my PhD in Anthropology at the University of  London. After working at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, I joined UCL in 1980 as lecturer and Tutor in Human Sciences, an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental degree. I am now Professor of Human Ecology in Anthropology at UCL. The Human Ecology Research Group I convene integrates natural and social sciences approaches to interactions of conservation and development, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and I edited a volume of HERG research (Local Livelihoods And Rural Resources in Africa (James Currey 2005). I work primarily on the interaction of conservation and development in pastoralist systems in East Africa, focusing on the implications of environmental policies and practice for people's livelihoods and welfare, and on the implications of people's resource use for biodiversity. I publish in both natural and social sciences journals and recently produced Ecology of African Pastoralist Societies (James Currey and Ohio UP, 2008) and the co-edited volume Staying Maasai: Livelihoods, conservation and development in East African rangelands (Springer 2009). I have directed several European Union- and DFID-funded  international collaborative research programmes in East and West Africa and supervised around 30 PhD students working mainly in a range of African countries but also in Latin America and Central Asia.