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Human Ecology Research Group (HERG)
Home | About us | Research | Masters course/teaching | Contact us
WHERE AND WHEN: Every Tuesday, 2-4pm, Daryll Forde Seminar Room
FIRST MEETING: Tuesday 2nd October, 2-4pm, Daryll Forde Seminar Room
MOODLE DETAILS: All MSc AED students as well as PhD students supervised by CG, KH, JL, SR in the area of Human Ecology, are enrolled on the HERG site on Moodle, at the start of each term. HERG’s Moodle site includes a current news notice-board, funding opportunities, job offers, reading lists, links to outside organisations and seminars of interest.
UCL Anthropology’s Human Ecology Research Group (HERG) focuses, on the one hand, on the impact of resource policy and management of people’s livelihoods, health and welfare, and on the other, on the impacts of changing resource use on environment and biodiversity. Furthermore, it focuses on developing new methodologies for participatory research. The Human Ecology group includes some 25 staff, postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers working on interactions of resource use, conservation, business and development in regions ranging from Amazonia, East, Central and West Africa to Siberia and South East Asia; in ecosystems from tropical rain forest through drylands to coastal and riverine wetlands, and with a research focus ranging from single species interactions with people (e.g. great apes/large carnivores) through to broader themes such as bushmeat; fire management regimes; fishers and aquatic resources; pastoralists; corporate social responsibility; international initiatives such as REDD, carbon accounting and payments for wildlife conservation. HERG research explores the interactions of eco-system management regimes, wildlife conservation and rural livelihoods in less developed countries, and focuses particularly on ecosystem and threatened species ecology, policy interventions, household economy and livelihoods diversification.
Our research group uses the human ecological perspective, which emphasises interdisciplinarity to develop new understandings and narratives of people’s interactions with the natural environment and the impact of human activities on nature. The group consists of a diverse range of contributors – from social anthropologists to ecologists and demographers with research projects across the world.
Who can join
All PhD students supervised by HERG staff are automatically enrolled and others working on related issues are welcome to do so. Masters students taking the Anthropology, Environment and Development programme are also automatically members of HERG.
For more information on current research themes and projects, go to our research page.
A brochure providing information on the MSc in Anthropology, Environment and development is available here.
What we do
Human Ecology is distinctive for its interdisciplinary nature, meshing both natural and social sciences approaches to the study of environment and development issues in both rural and urban settings. It aims to develop a better understanding of the way people impact on the natural world, and conversely of the way environmental policies and practices affect people’s welfare, livelihoods, land use and natural resource management.
The Human Ecology Research Group at UCL was set up by Anthropology staff in 1992. From our original focus on African rangelands and forests, the group has expanded its remit to encompass research into rural and urban populations in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Members of the group are directly involved in multi-disciplinary research using anthropological, ecological, historical, demographic and GIS data in the analysis of social factors influencing land use and environmental change. The group provides a forum for masters, post doctoral and post graduate researchers from Anthropology and other Departments to share ideas and experiences relevant to the study of the way people use natural resources, and the ways environmental policies affect welfare and livelihoods.
HERG promotes information sharing and communication between researchers by providing a regular forum for research students as well as academics to present work in progress, to receive feed-back and to develop ideas with other researchers and conservation professionals. As postgraduates have completed their research and gone on to professional roles outside UCL, the group has evolved into a broader association that includes individuals based in other institutes and agencies. HERG members share a keen interest and experience in the management and maintenance of the natural environment, and concern for understanding the role of key stakeholders, from households and local communities to local, national and international development, commercial and government agencies. Collaboration with national and international policy makers and practitioners is considered a priority by the group, given the very applied nature of the research area.
Past and current members of HERG are working with a range of national and international government agencies as well as with research institutes and other universities, NGOs, charitable organisations, and consulting companies involved in environment and development, These include: Farm Africa, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the International Livestock Research Institute, the European Union; the Department for International Development (UK); the International Institute for Environment and Development (UK); the Ford Foundation (Mozambique); the World Wide Fund for Nature; CARE (Canada); Flora and Fauna International; the Environment and Development Group (Oxford, UK); the Harvard Tropical Forestry Field Project; SOS Sahel International (UK); the Food and Agricultural Organisation, Rome); and the Institute of Zoology, (London, UK). Research carried out by the group can be broadly grouped into research programmes and research projects.
- Research programmes include studies carried out in collaboration with other universities and research institutions, primarily in Europe and Africa, involving a number of researchers from different disciplines. Research programmes carried out by the HERG include the European Union (EU) and the Department for International Development (DFID) funded studies in Benin and Burkina Faso, Ghana, Cameroon, Tanzania and Kenya.
- Research projects include studies designed and carried out by individual researchers, usually in close collaboration with national development, conservation or research programmes in the study country. Such research projects have been carried out in Algeria, Brazil, Belize, British Guyana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Lao PDR, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Siberia, Sierra Leone, Sri lanka, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, UK, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and others. Current post-graduates within HERG are funded by ESRC, EU, DFID, WWF, and IUCN among others.