Dr Freya St. John
Lecturer in Conservation Social Science
Illegal behaviours; conservation conflicts; human decision making
- - F.A.V.StJohn@kent.ac.uk
- - 01227 (82)7139
I am a conservation social scientist interested in understanding how human behaviour influences conservation outcomes and how conservation interventions impact wellbeing. Much of my research focuses on conservation conflict together with investigating the prevalence and drivers of peoples’ involvement in unlawful resource extraction. However, gathering robust data on rule-breaking directly from people is challenging. For this reason my work includes testing cutting-edge social science techniques for asking people sensitive questions. I also draw on disciplines such as development studies, social psychology and criminology in order to strengthen our understanding of what drives conservation rule-breaking and the differing levels of tolerance people exhibit for co-existing with wildlife.
My group work on various issues includes the conservation and livelihood implications of activities such as bushmeat hunting, wild collection for the exotic pet trade and cross-sector collaborations in conservation.
- Duffy, R., F. A. V. St John, B. Büscher, and D. Brockington. 2015. Towards a new understanding of the links between poverty and illegal wildlife hunting. Conservation Biology (early view).
- St. John, F. A. V., C.-H. Mai, and K. J. C. Pei. 2015. Evaluating deterrents of illegal behaviour in conservation: Carnivore killing in rural Taiwan. Biological Conservation 189:86-94.
- Nuno, A., and F. A. V. St. John. 2015. How to ask sensitive questions in conservation: A review of specialized questioning techniques. Biological Conservation 189:5-15.
- St. John, F. A. V., A. M. Keane, J. P. G. Jones, and E. J. Milner-Gulland. 2014. FORUM: Robust study design is as important on the social as it is on the ecological side of applied ecological research. Journal of Applied Ecology 51:1479–1485.
Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository
I teach on the following modules:
DI528: (Convenor) Conservation Social Science: Methods and Research Design
DI876: (Convenor) Research Methods for Social Science
DI1001: (Convenor) Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Conservationback to top
My research uses cutting-edge social science techniques and theoretical models of human decision-making in order to establish the prevalence and motivators of illegal resource extraction. Case studies include investigating what factors deter carnivore killing in rural Taiwan and predictors of carnivore killing in South Africa.
I am also interested in conservation conflicts and, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, I am studying the ecological and social determinants of human-tiger conflicts in Sumatra, Indonesia. Closer to home, I am researching the conflict over the management of geese numbers on the island of Islay, Scotland.
Current Research Projects
Past Research Projects
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- Anne-Sophie Pellier: Wildlife hunting in logging concessions and protected areas of West Kalimantan, Indonesia
- Janine Robinson: Supplying the Exotic Pet Trade: Conservation and Livelihood Implications (co-supervisor)
- Janna Steadman: Understanding "partnerships for conservation gain": how do government agencies, non-governmental organisations, private landowners and the corporate sector co-operate to deliver effective natural resource management? (co-supervisor)
Completed PhD Students
- Helen Meredith: Improving the Impact of Amphibian Conservation Programmes
Completed Masters by Research Students
- Anita Wan: Drivers of the demand for the ornamental trade of discus fish (genus Symphysodon) between international markets (co-supervisor)
- Abigail Wills: Valuing the mangroves of north-east Madagascar: an interdisciplinary perspective (co-supervisor)
- Handling Editor Conservation Biology (2014 to date)
- Conference talk: International Congress for Conservation Biology, Montpellier, France, 2-6 August 2015. Talk: ‘Tolerating tigers: Understanding human behaviour towards tigers and other wildlife in Sumatra’.
- Conference talk: International Congress for Conservation Biology, Auckland, New Zealand. 5 – 9th December 2011. Talk: 'Identifying indicators of illegal behaviour: carnivore killing in human-managed landscapes'.