UCL Anthropology

Dr Emily Woodhouse

Dr Emily Woodhouse

Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Environmental Anthropology/ Human Ecology

Dept of Anthropology

Faculty of S&HS

Joined UCL
1st Apr 2013

Research summary

My research broadly concerns people’s relationship with the natural environment. I am interested in the social dimensions of nature conservation, how environmental policy and interventions impact on rural people's lives and the implications for social justice and sustainability. I have a particular interest in pastoralist and agro-pastoralist systems. My doctoral research was on the Tibetan Plateau where I explored the relationship between religion and the environment in the context of Chinese state environmental policies and transformations to the rural economy. More recently, I've conducted field work on the rangelands of Tanzania to study the impacts of payment based conservation projects on human wellbeing. I draw upon approaches from natural science and social anthropology and I work with people across disciplines and sectors with the aim of informing policy and practice.

Research projects

2017-20 National Science Foundation/ ESRC: 'The effects of mobile phones on gendered social networks, decision making and vulnerability' (Co-Investigator)

Mobile phones have been heralded as transformative new tools to reduce global poverty, but an alternative perspective is that they can magnify or reproduce situations. This project asks 1) How do mobile phones affect the structure and functions of women’s and men’s social networks? 2) How do shifting networks affect access to information and livelihood decision-making? 3) How does the manner in which livelihood decisions are made affect the ability to respond to environmental and economic shocks? We are investigating these questions with Maasai pastoralist communities in Tanzania using mixed methods. I am working with Dr Tim Baird at Virginia Tech (PI), Prof Terry McCabe at the University of Colorado and a field team in Tanzania.

2018-2019 UCL Social Science Plus: ‘The role of gender equity in the conservation outcomes of natural resource management’ (Principal Investigator)

I am collaborating with Fauna & Flora International, the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association, and the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research at UCL on a pilot project to explore how enhanced gender equity affects conservation outcomes using the case study of wildlife conservancies in Kenya.

2017-18 Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme (DFID/ESRC/NERC): 'Issues and Myths in Protected Area Conservation: Trade-offs and Synergies' (Principal Investigator)

I led a project to synthesise the current state of knowledge on the social and ecological outcomes of protected areas in the Global South. Combining interviews with experts and a review of the literature we investigated key narratives underlying protected area establishment and management to identify where how and why positive and negative outcomes occur.

PhD students

Helen Muller (primary supervisor): ‘Understanding the socio-ecological impacts of the hunting moratorium in Botswana’. Co-supervised with Marcus Rowcliffe at ZSL.

Simon Hoyte (subsidiary supervisor): ‘Indigenous Conservation in the Anthropocene: An investigation into Baka hunter-gatherer perspectives and an Extreme Citizen Science case study in Cameroon’

Post-doctoral researchers

I am mentoring Sahil Nijhawan during his ESRC post-doctoral fellowship which builds upon his doctoral research on cultural norms and indigenous institutions in tiger conservation in Arunachal Pradash, India.

Teaching summary

Programme Tutor for MSc Anthropology, Environment and Development

I teach the following modules:

ANTH0076 Humans, Ecosystems and Conservation (undergraduate module)

ANTH0107 Introduction to Statistics for social scientists (post-graduate module)

I also contribute to:

ANTH0105 Resource Use & Impacts

ANTH0008/9/10 Introduction to Biological Anthropology

ANTH0015 Being Human

ANTH0172 Biosocial Medical Anthropology

I will not be teaching during the academic year 2019/2020 because I am on maternity leave.


I gained my PhD from Imperial College London in the Conservation Science Group in 2012 with co-supervision in the Anthropology department of Aberdeen University. I then became a post-doctoral researcher at UCL working on the ESRC-DFID funded project 'Measuring Complex Conservation Interventions' (MCCoI) in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Imperial College. I joined UCL Anthropology as a Lecturer in 2015. I am a member of the Human Ecology Research Group.