rachel friedman 

Rachel Friedman

My research interests broadly centre on the connections between biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human well-being within production (agricultural and forestry) landscapes, and the process and outcomes of land management decisions. Cultural, socio-economic, and political factors (and not solely ecological and physical conditions) are critical drivers of land use, but often only a subset are considered in developing policies or management strategies. Ultimately, for any of the gains in terms of conservation there are also losers, often among those who have little say in the process or are on the margins of society.


Trying to address some of these shortcomings with our current models of conservation, my PhD research will explore issues of social equity and participation in conservation and natural resources management. It will develop within a case study of community forest management in Indonesian Borneo, and attempt to look at different levels of stakeholders involved in decision-making processes around forest management. Through all the doom and gloom emanating from global environmental change science, I still think we can use our growing knowledge of ‘socio-ecological systems’ to find ways for ecological services and human livelihoods to complement one another, for more just, effective, and resilient solutions over time.


This PhD is supported through the University of Queensland International Scholarship, an ARC Discovery award, and CEED top up scholarship, and is undertaken in collaboration with the Borneo futures initiative and a Darwin Initiative project on community land rights in Indonesia.



  • Master of Philosophy (Geography and the Environment- Oxford)



Friedman, R.S., Law, E.A., Bennett, N.J., Ives, C.D., Thorn, J.P.R., & Wilson, K.A. (2018) How just and just how? A systematic review of social equity in conservation research. Environmental Research Letters. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aabcde

Friedman, R., Hirons, M., & Boyd, E. (2018) Vulnerability of Ghanaian women cocoa farmers to climate change: A typology. Climate and Development. doi: 10.1080/17565529.2018.1442806


Law, E.A., Bennett, N.J., Ives, C.D., Friedman, R., Davis, K.J., Archibald, C., & Wilson, K.A. (2017) Equity trade-offs in conservation decision making. Conservation Biology. doi: 10.1111/cobi.13008


Thorn, J.P.R., Friedman, R., Benz, D., Willis, K.J., & Petrofsky, G. (2016) What evidence exists for the effectiveness of on-farm conservation land management strategies for preserving ecosystem services in developing countries? A systematic map. Environmental Evidence, 5:13. DOI: 10.1186/s13750-016-0064-9

Morel, A., Friedman, R., Tulloch, D., & Caldecott, B. (2016) Stranded Assets in Palm Oil Production: A case study of Indonesia.Sustainable Finance Programme, SSEE, University of Oxford, Working Paper, July 2016. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2809562

Scherr, S.J., Shames, S., and Friedman, R. (2012) From climate-smart agriculture to climate-smart landscapes. Agriculture and Food Security, 1:12. DOI: 10.1186/2048-7010-1-12