UCL Anthropology


Yara Shennan-Farpon

Yara Shennan-Farpon

UCL Email: yara.shennan-farpon.17@ucl.ac.uk
Year of Start: 2018    
Supervisors: Prof Katherine Homewood (UCL), Prof Ken Norris (ZSL Institute of Zoology) 
Subject: Conservation science in socio-ecological systems 
Fieldsite: Atlantic Forest, Brazil, Sao Paulo State

PhD Research

Using regional scenarios and modelling to identify pathways towards forest restoration in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest

My PhD research focuses on defining and analysing the impact of different socio-economic scenarios of change on forest restoration planning in the Atlantic Forest biome, in Brazil.  

The Atlantic Forest of Brazil is one of 25 biodiversity conservation hotspots, lying within the most species rich region on Earth, the Neotropics. Over 80% of Brazil’s population live within the biome range, creating strong competition for land between population and the natural habitat. The region has lost an estimated 85% of its native forest cover, along with several endemic species. It is also a world restoration hotspot.

This project focuses on the policy mechanisms and pathways for forest restoration, considering drivers and socio-economic changes to 2050 to assess the options for restoration under different development scenarios. It will include qualitative and quantitative methods, using Participatory Scenario Development and stakeholder workshops in Brazil to design contextual narratives of change, and share local and expert knowledge on the impacts of forest restoration, including within the framework of Brazil’s Native Vegetation Protection Law (NVPL) which sets specific restoration requirements for this biome. I will also conduct fieldwork at a case study location in Sao Paulo state to assess the benefits and barriers to forest restoration within an agricultural community dominated by small and subsistence farmers.

Research interests

  • Biodiversity conservation in socio-ecological systems
  • Tropical terrestrial ecosystems
  • Natural resource management
  • Social and ecological impacts of conservation policy and management
  • Landscape ecology and conservation planning
  • Impact of conservation interventions on local livelihoods


  • Darrah, S., Shennan-Farpón, Y., Loh, J., Davidson, Nick C., Finlayson, M., Gardner, R. and Walpole, Matt J. (2019) Improvements to the Wetland Extent Trends (WET) index as a tool for monitoring natural and human-made wetlands. Ecological Indicators 99, 294–298.
  • Dinerstein, E., Olson, D., Joshi, A., Vynne, C., Burgess, N.D., […], Shennan-Farpon, Y., Kindt, R., Lillesø, J-P, B., van Breugel, P., Graudal, L., Voge, M., Al-Shammari, K. F. and Saleem, M. (2017) An Ecoregion-based Approach to Protecting Half the Terrestrial Realm. BioScience. 67(6): 534–545.
  • Meng, H., Carr, J., Beraducci, J., Bowles, P., Branch, W.R., Capitani, C., Chenga, J., Cox, N., Howell, K., Malonza, P., Marchant, R., Mbilinyi, B., Mukama, K., Msuya, C., Platts, P.J., Safari, I., Spawls S.,Shennan-Farpon, Y., Wagner, P. and Burgess, N.D. (2016) Tanzania's reptile biodiversity: Distribution, threats and climate change vulnerability. Biological Conservation, 204, 72–82.
  • Brooks, T.M., Akçakaya, H.R., Burgess, N.D., Butchart, S.H.M., Hilton-Taylor, C., Hoffmann, M., Juffe-Bignoli, D., Kingston, N., MacSharry, B., Parr, M., Perianin, L., Regan, E.C., Rodriges, A.S.L., Rondinini, C., Shennan-Farpon, Y. and Young, B.E. (2016) Analysing biodiversity and conservation knowledge products to support regional environmental assessments. Nature SCIENTIFIC DATA, 3.

Presentations & Conferences

  • Society for Conservation Biology European Conference for Conservation Science (ECCB) Jyvaskyla, Finland, 2018. Poster
  • Student Conference for Conservation Science (SCCS) Cambridge, UK, 2019. Poster

Education History

  • 2017–Present: PhD Researcher, London NERC DTP, Institute of Zoology and UCL Anthropology
  • 2014–2017: Project Officer, Science Programme, UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre
  • 2013–2014: MSc in Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Management, King’s College London
  • 2009–2013: BSc in Environmental Science (with a year in Europe), University of East Anglia and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Honours, Awards & Funding

London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership