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Gretchen Walters


Current contact information:

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


Gretchen is a senior programme officer for IUCN’s global work on Forest Landscape Restoration, focusing on biological and social aspects of restoring secondary forests and degraded lands. She is a member of IUCN’s Natural Resource Governance Framework working group and a member of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission. She is interested in bringing research results into conservation policy and practice and in the intersection of social and biological sciences. She is currently part of a pan-Africa research and policy project on natural resource management and local democracy, in partnership with the University of Illinois, CODESRIA, and IUCN. She lived and worked in Central Africa from 2000-2013.


Senior Programme Officer.
Global Forest and Climate Change Program, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland
2011-2013 Forest Program Coordinator for IUCN’s West and Central Africa program, Yaoundé, 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.
2011-present Chercheuse Associée, Institut de Pharmacopée et Médecines Traditionnelles (IPHAMETRA), Libreville, Gabon
2010-present Visiting Scholar, Department of Anthropology, UCL
2010-present Research Associate, Missouri Botanical Garden, USA
2010 PhD in Anthropology, University College London
2009-present Central African Red List Authority (plants), IUCN Species Survival Commission
2000-2010 Missouri Botanical Garden, Central Africa Program, Botanist and Coordinator, St. Louis, Missouri, USA & Libreville, Gabon (based in IPHAMETRA)
2001 MSc. in Environmental Plant Biology, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA
1999 Organisation for Tropical Studies ecology course, Costa Rica
1998 National Park Service, Saguaro National Park, Fire Effects unit, Tucson, Arizona, USA
1996 BSc Environmental Plant Biology, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA


  • Historical and current resource use in remote and peri-urban tropical environments, implications for conservation, effects on tropical ecosystem structure
  • Red listing as a tool for conservation and policy, endemic plant conservation
  • Fire (human ecology, management, policy)
  • Forest landscape restoration of secondary forests (ecology and governance)
  • Natural resource governance issues, particularly accountability and representation in local communities and administration
  • Alternative livelihoods and conservation practice

Regional Interest: Central and West Africa, particularly Gabon and Cameroon


2012-2014 Guest lectures on conservation and practice at the University of Capetown (South Africa), University of Illinois (USA), Université Catholique de Yaoundé (Cameroon), Ecole Normale Supérieur-Yaoundé (Cameroon), University of Guelph (Canada), St. Paul’s University (Nairobi, Kenya), IPHAMETRA (Libreville, Gabon).

Bidault, E. G. Walters, G. Dauby, A. Boupouya, O. Lachenaue, M. Sosef, J. Wieringa, F. Breteler, V. Deblauwe, E.C. Ngagnia Ndjabounda, D. U. Ikabanga, T. Stevart. 2014. Documenting areas of endemism in Gabon: preliminary results of a 5-year project. Association for the Taxonomic Study of the Flora of Tropical Africa Congress, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Policy roundtable discussion chair at the International Association for the Studying of the Commons Regional meeting, Capetown, South Africa, April 2013.

Walters, G., Coad, L., Schleicher, J., Hymas, O., & Kialo, P. 2011. Understanding evolving resource governance in Gabon: lessons for community-based conservation, Society for Conservation Biology, 25th Conference, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Walters, G. 2010. Understanding savanna burning in Central Africa using a human ecological approach. Oxford Center for Tropical Forestry.


Jeffery, K.J., L. Korte, F. Palla, G. Walters, K.A. Abernethy, L.J.T. White. Fire management in a changing landscape: a case study from Lope National Park, Gabon. Parks. In press.

Walters, G., L. Makouka, S. Touladjan. Integrating cultural and conservation contexts of hunting: the case of the Plateau Bateke savannas of Gabon. Africa Study Monographs. In press.

Walters, G. I. Parmentier, T. Stévart. 2013. Diversity and conservation of Gabon’s savanna and inselberg open vegetation: an initial gap analysis. African Plant Diversity, Systematics and Sustainable Development, Proceedings of the XIXth AETFAT Congress, held at Antananarivo, Madagascar, 26–30 April 2010. Natacha Beau, Steven Dessein and Elmar Robbrecht (eds).Scripta Botanica Belgica 50: 144–152.

Lachenaud, O.L., T. Stévart, D. Ikabanga, E.C. Ngagnia Ndjabounda, G. Walters. 2013. Un nouveau Psychotria (Rubiaceae) endémique de la région de Libreville (Gabon). Plant Ecology and Evolution 46(1): 68-74

Stévart, T., F. Breteler, J. Weiringa, O. Lachenaud, V. deBlauwe, H. Blanchard. 2012. Plantes endemiques du Gabon. Atlas Forestier, World Resources Institute. In press, to be published on-line.

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. Edinburgh J. Botany 145(1): 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.

Eyebe, A., D. Endamana, J.A. Sayer, M. Ruiz Pérez, A. Boedhihartono, G. Walters, L. Ngono, K. Angu Angu. 2011. Community forestry and the challenge of aligning with Cameroon's green economy. Faune et Nature 26 (1) 49-53

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.

Van der Maesen, L.J.G. & G. M. Walters. 2011. Novitates Gabonenses 77: A new Eriosema from Gabon and adjacent Congo. Plant Ecology and Evolution. 144 (1) 101-105.

Walters, G. 2010. The Land Chief's embers: ethnobotany of Bateke fire regimes, savanna vegetation and resource use in Gabon. PhD. Thesis, University College of London.

Harris, D.J., J.M. Moutsamboté, K. Armstrong, E. Kami, J.C. Mouandza, R. Niangadouma, G. Walters, and A.H. Wortley. 2009. Plantes d’Afrique Centrale: la collection de référence en images (DVD). Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Great Britain

Hymas, O. and G. Walters. 2009. Between the forest and the savanna. Film. 8 minutes 52 seconds.

Sosef, M.S.M., J.J. Wieringa, C.C.H. Jongkind, G. Achoundong, Y. Azizet Issembe, D. Bedigian, R.G. van den Berg, F.J. Breteler, M. Cheek, J. Degreef, R. Faden, P. Goldblatt, L.J.G. van der Maesen, L. Ngok Banak, R. Niangadouma, T. Nzabi, B. Nziengui, Z.S. Rogers, T. Stévart, J.L.C.H. van Valkenburg, G. Walters & J.J.F.E. de Wilde. 2006. Check-list des plantes vasculaires du Gabon. Scripta Botanica 35.

Stone, D., G. Walters, J-P. Ghogue. 2006. Memecylon batekeanum, a New Species from Southeastern Gabon, and a Note on the Circumscription of Memecylon sect. Mouririoidea (Melastomataceae) Novon 16:276-280.

Walters, G., Bradley, A. & Niangadouma, R. 2006. Floristics of Gabon's Batéké Plateaux: Guineo-Congolian plants on Kalahari Sands. In: S.A. Ghazanfar & H. J. Beentje (eds), Taxonomy and ecology of African plants, their conservation and sustainable use, pp. 259-266. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

C. Taylor, R. Gereau, & G. Walters. 2005. Revision of Ancistrocladus Wall. (Ancistrocladaceae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 92:360-399.

Walters, G. 2004. Perennial plants and ephemeral seed banks in Papago Park, Phoenix, Arizona. Natural Areas Journal 24:36-43.

Walters, G. 2004. Native Plant Dyes: a History of Ozark Color. Wildflower 20(1): 16-19.

Gereau, R.E. & G.M. Walters. 2003. Chamaecrista mwangokae (Fabaceae: Caesalpinioideae), a new species from the southern highlands of Tanzania. Novon 13(4):438-442.

Christy, C., D.Z. Damrel, A. Henry, A. Trauth-Nare, R. Puente-Martinez, and G. Walters. 2003. Lamiaceae, part 1--Vascular Plants of Arizona. Agastache, Hyptis, Lamium, Leonurus, Marrubium, Monarda, Monardella, Nepeta, Salazaria, Stachys, Teucrium, and Trichostemma. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 35(2): 151-170.

Walters, G. 2003. Winter ephemeral vegetation and seed banks of four north-facing slopes in the Sonoran Desert. Madroño 50:45-52.

Walters, G. 2002. Flora of the Papago Park Military Reservation: a desert remnant in Phoenix, Arizona. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science. 34:16-23.

Walters, G. 2001. Noteworthy collection for Arizona: Enchylaena tomentosa R. Br.. Madroño. 48:61.

Walters, G.M. & B.C. McCarthy. 1997. Forest decline and tree mortality in a southeastern Ohio oak-hickory forest. Ohio Journal of Science. 97:5-9.


Walters, G., Stévart, T., Ngagnia N.Eddy, Biteau, J. P., Ikabanga, D. U., Hymas, O., & Lachenaud, O. 2012, Conservation des plantes endémiques de la forêt de la Mondah et des environs de Libreville: plantes, population, et urbanisme, Rapport à l'Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux, Libreville, Gabon.Walters, G. 2010, Rapport sur l'état actuel de la gestion des savanes dans les parcs nationaux du Gabon, University College London.

Walters, G. 2010. Proposition de plan de gestion du feu pour le Parc National de Loango (Gabon). Submitted to the Wildlife Conservation Society and Gabon’s National Parks.

Walters, G., Touladjan, S., & the Bateke People 2009, Savanna burning yesterday and today in Gabon's Bateke Plateaux: foraging-fires and ecosystem effects, Thesis Summary for diffusion in Central Africa, University College London.

Walters, G., Ngok Banak, L., Abitsi, G., & Nziengui, B. Approaches to parataxonomy in Gabon's national parks, AETFAT, 18th Congress, Yaoundé, Cameroun.


Ikabanga, D.U. 2011. Utilisation de l'espace forêt et ses espèces végétales par deux communautés sud de la Forêt Classée de la Mondah, Gabon. Mémoire Master 2, Université des Sciences et Techniques de Masuku.Ngagnia Ndjabounda, E.C. 2011. Localisation, conservation et evaluation selon l'UICN des plantes endemiques et rare de l'Estuaire. Mémoire Master 2, Université des Sciences et Techniques de Masuku.

Ikabanga, D.U. 2010. Analyse de l’endémisme des plantes vasculaires du Gabon. Mémoire Master 1. Université des Sciences et Techniques de Masuku, Gabon.

Ngagnia Ndjabounda, E.C. 2010. Analyse descriptive des plantes endémiques du Gabon. Mémoire Master 1. Université des Sciences et Techniques de Masuku, Gabon.

Ndong, L.O. 2005. Utilisation de l'imagerie sattelitale pour le suivi et la lutte contre les feux de savane «cas du Parc des Plateaux Batéké». Ecole National des Eaux et Forêts, Gabon.

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