Dr Charlie Gardner is an interdisciplinary researcher, conservationist and activist with a particular interest in societal responses to the climate and biodiversity emergencies. From 2005 to 2015, he was based in Madagascar, where he worked with WWF and other NGOs on the country’s ambitious ‘Durban Vision’, to triple the extent of the protected area network. Charlie has also worked in conservation and natural resource management in Mauritius, Kenya, Ghana, England and Scotland. 

Having completed a BSc in Zoology at the University of Leeds, Charlie studied for an MSc in Conservation Biology at DICE in 2002. He returned to Kent to carry out his doctoral research in 2009, submitting his thesis entitled ‘Reconciling conservation and development in Madagascar’s rapidly expanding protected area system’ in 2014. Having completed his PhD, he returned to the School of Anthropology and Conservation at Kent in 2016 in a part-time teaching and scholarship role, but he continues to pursue collaborative research projects (largely focused on Madagascar) and work as a consultant to Blue Ventures and other organisations, alongside climate activism work. 

Charlie enjoys communicating conservation and climate issues to broader audiences and has written for The Guardian, The Conversation, The Ecologist and Mongabay, as well as appearing on a range of TV and radio broadcasts. His book Life Amongst the Thorns – Biodiversity and Conservation of Madagascar’s Spiny Forest (co-authored with his wife, the photographer Louise Jasper) was published in 2015 by John Beaufoy. 

Dr Charlie Gardner is a member of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology.  

Research interests

Although Dr Gardner’s role within SAC is focused on teaching and scholarship, he continues to carry out research outside the School. His research interests span traditional conservation biology and conservation social science, and he seeks to advance the practice and theory of protected area governance and management, small-scale fisheries, the impacts of natural resource use on biodiversity, and community-based natural resource management and conservation. He is also interested in approaches that help span the researcher–practitioner divide for more effective, evidence-based conservation.



  • DI303: Survey and Monitoring for Biodiversity
  • DI305: Biodiversity
  • DI501: Climate Change and Conservation
  • DI518: Contemporary Conservation Science
  • DI520: Conservation and Communities


  • DI880: Conservation and Community Development (Guest Lecturer)
  • DI1001: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Conservation (Guest Lecturer)


Executive Editor, Madagascar Conservation & Development

Dr Gardner is available to provide topical comment or in-depth discussion of topics related to protected areas, or the biodiversity of Madagascar and its conservation.

He has contributed articles about his research to outlets including The ConversationThe Ecologist and Africa Geographic.

Last updated