UCL Anthropology

Dr Emily Woodhouse

Dr Emily Woodhouse

Associate Professor

Dept of Anthropology

Faculty of S&HS

Joined UCL
1st Apr 2013

Research summary

My research focuses on the cultural, institutional and livelihood dimensions of rural people's relationships with the natural environment. I study how biodiversity conservation interventions and development processes impact upon these relationships with implications for wellbeing, social justice and sustainability. I work collaboratively across the social and natural sciences, and with a range of stakeholders to feed into debates and inform policy and practice. My past and current projects address three different but interlocking issues related to the question of how to create pathways to sustainability: i) the impacts of conservation on human wellbeing; ii) gender dimensions of ecosystem governance; iii) development and environmental change in agro-pastoral 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 have conducted fieldwork on the rangelands of Tanzania to study the impacts of payment based conservation projects on human wellbeing and the impacts of mobile phone use on social networks and vulnerability to environmental shocks. 

Research projects

2021-22 UCL Global Engagement Fund: Progressing gender equity in conservation research, policy and practice (PI)

2017-21 National Science Foundation / ESRC: The effects of mobile phones on gendered social networks, decision making and vulnerability (Co-I)

2018-19 UCL Social Science Plus: The role of gender equity in the conservation outcomes of natural resource management (PI)

2017-18 Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme (NERC): Issues and Myths in Protected Area Conservation: Trade-offs and Synergies (PI)

Current PhD students

Gabriella Santini: Herder-lion entanglements in the Maasai Mara: an exploration of conservation (primary supervisor)

Sonia Dhanda: Roots, routes and regulations: the ayurvedic herbal trade in the UK (primary supervisor)

Erin Connolly: Understanding human-wildlife coexistence: Grazing, biodiversity, and livelihoods in the Greater Mara Ecosystem (subsidiary supervisor)

Bo Yang: Symbiotic species, symbiotic relationships: Pursuing more-than-human liveability on the Tibetan Plateau (subsidiary supervisor) 

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

Completed PhD students

Helen Muller: Contentious conservation: Understanding the socio-ecological impacts of trophy hunting in sub-Saharan Africa (co-supervised with Marcus Rowcliffe at ZSL, 2022)

Please get in touch if you are interested in pursuing a PhD related to my area of research.

Teaching summary

Programme Tutor for MSc Anthropology, Environment and Development

I convene and teach the undergraduate and postgraduate module: ANTH0076 Humans, Ecosystems and Conservation. 

I also regularly teach on the following modules: 

ANTH0107 Introduction to Statistics for Social Scientists 

ANTH0105 Resource Use & Impacts

ANTH0008/9/10 Introduction to Biological Anthropology

ANTH0015 Being Human

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


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.