UCL Anthropology


Gretchen Walters


Current Contact Information:

International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Global Forest and Climate Change Programme, 28 rue Mauverney, Gland, Switzerland

Current Post

Gretchen is a social scientist and botanist and has worked in the Americas, Europe and Africa for 22 years, 13 of which were spent in Central Africa. She is committed to bridging gaps between the biological and social-historical sciences, and gaps amongst research, practice and policy, and in improving natural resource governance. She is currently co-leading work within IUCN on developing their institutional approach to nature-based solutions and in mainstreaming governance within the organisation. She is a member of IUCN's Natural Resource Governance Framework Working Group and a member of the Species Survival Commission. She currently co-leads work in a pan-Africa research and practice project on natural resource governance and local democracy, in partnership with the University of Illinois, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), and IUCN. 

Recent Positions

2013-present Global Forest and Climate Change Program, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Switzerland
2011-2013 Forest Program Coordinator for IUCN's West and Central Africa program, Cameroon
2012 ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Sussex. "The political ecology of fire in Central Africa: informing regional policy and conservation". Awarded but unable to accept.
2010 PhD in Anthropology, University College London (2010)
2000-2010 Missouri Botanical Garden, Central Africa Program, Botanist and Coordinator, St. Louis, USA & Libreville, Gabon

Honorary Associations and Memberships

2010-present Visiting Scholar, Department of Anthropology, UCL
2010-present Chercheuse Associée, Institut de Pharmacopée et Médecines Traditionnelles, Gabon
2010-present Research Associate, Missouri Botanical Garden, USA
2009-present Central African Red List Authority (plants), IUCN Species Survival Commission

Current Research and Application

  • Improving nature conservation practice
  • Natural resource governance issues
  • Tropical ecology and botany (including savanna fire ecology)

Select Recent Publications

Natural Resource Governance

Walters, G. 2015. Changing fire governance in Gabon's Plateaux Bateke savanna landscape. Conservation and Society 13(3): 275-286

Responsive Forest Governance Initiative Working Paper Series, co-editor with J. Ribot and J. Murombedzi. 25+ papers published 2015-2016 with the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, Dakar, Senegal. 

Conservation tools and practice

Walters, G, J. Schleicher, O. Hymas and L. Coad. 2015. Evolving hunting practices in Gabon: lessons for community-based conservation interventions. Ecology and Society 20 (4) 

Walters, G., E. Ngagnia Ndjabounda, D Ikabanga, J-P Biteau, O. Hymas, L.J.T. White, K.J. Jeffery, O. Lachenaud, T. Stévart. 2015. Peri-urban conservation in the Mondah forest of Libreville (Gabon): Red List endemic plant species assessments and avoiding degazettement. Oryx

Walters, G., L. Makouka, S. Touladjan. 2014. Integrating cultural and conservation contexts of hunting: the case of the Plateau Bateke savannas of Gabon. Africa Study Monographs 35(2): 99-128.

Jeffery, K.J., L. Korte, F. Palla, G. Walters, K.A. Abernethy, L.J.T. White. 2014. Fire management in a changing landscape: a case study from Lope National Park, Gabon. Parks 20(1): 35-48. 

Tropical Ecology and Botany

Lachenaud, O.L., T. Stévart, D. Ikabanga, E.C. Ngagnia Ndjabounda, G. Walters. 2013. Les forêts littorales de la région de Libreville (Gabon) et leur importance pour la conservation: description d'un nouveau Psychotria (Rubiaceae) endémique. Plant Ecology and Evolution 46(1): 68-74 

Walters, G. 2012. Customary fire regimes and vegetation structure in Gabon's Bateke Plateaux. Human Ecology 40(6): 943-955 

Harris D.J., K.E. Armstrong, G.M. Walters, C. Wilks, J.J. Wieringa, F.J. Breteler, M. Sosef, J-C. Mouandza Mbembo, R. Niangadouma. 2012. Phytogeographical Analysis and Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Loango National Park. Plant Ecology and Evolution 145(2): 242-257.

Walters, G. I. Parmentier, T. Stévart. 2012. Diversity and conservation of Gabon's savanna and inselberg open vegetation: an initial gap analysis. Plant Ecology and Evolution 145(1): 46-54.

Walters, G., G. Dauby, T. Stévart, R. Niangadouma, S. Dessein & O. Lachenaud. 2011. Novitates Gabonenses 80: additions and corrections to the flora of Gabon. Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 68 (3) 423-442.