Skip to main content

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Project Description

Academics, including indigenous academics, have examined conservation and development from various theoretical perspectives. Their findings are often not presented in a form that is useful for, or even accessible to, many conservation NGOs, nor are they accessible to indigenous peoples and local communities directly involved in conservation who themselves hold critical local knowledge. Our project aims to move the findings of critical indigenous, race and feminist theory outside the university and into everyday conservation practice for the first time—and to inform and enhance approaches in the field as a result. Our SNAPP working group will collaborate with local in-country partners, conservation practitioners, indigenous scholars and others to: 1. With support from two postdoctoral fellows, undertake an extensive literature review and synthesize environmental anthropology, indigenous, race, and gender theory that applies to conservation and sustainable development; 2. Undertake focus groups to further understand how conservation is interpreted, understood and practiced by indigenous peoples and NGO partners in Melanesia; 3. Apply these findings to develop guidance on how indigenous people (especially women) can be better included in the planning and design, implementation and evaluation of conservation projects in Melanesia and more broadly; 4. Apply the expertise of international indigenous scholars as well as local indigenous practitioners and graphic designers/multimedia experts to co-create and test practical knowledge guides and awareness materials (i.e. “toolkits”); 5. Disseminate toolkits online and via workshops and regional networks so that they can be incorporated broadly into conservation practice; 6. Develop recommendations for a university research program for indigenous scholars across Melanesia to ensure these toolkits inform future conservation projects; 7. Put toolkits into practice by working with and learning from at least two groups in Melanesia (at least one women’s group) that will design, lead, implement and evaluate a conservation initiative with TNC/WCS playing a supportive role. Localized, practical application is a key deliverable of this working group. The larger aim is to co-create conservation projects that shift ownership firmly to indigenous partners. This work will also foster more active multidisciplinary discourse between global conservation organizations, indigenous conservation practitioners, and scholars in the social sciences and the humanities.

The information here may be out of date, please refer to for more current information.

Principal Investigator(s)

Paige West, Robyn James

Project Dates

Start: January 1, 2019

End: December 31, 2020



Hokulani Aikau
University of Utah
Jonh Aini
Ailan Awareness
Jonah Cardillo
The Nature Conservancy
Maria Estrada
The Nature Conservancy
Adriana Garriga Lopez
Kalamazoo College
Jamon Halvaksz
University of Texas, San Antonio
Hi'ilei J. Hobart
Columbia University
Robyn James
The Nature Conservancy
Stacy D. Jupiter
Wildlife Conservation Society
Tarcisius Kabutaulaka
University of Hawaii, Manoa
Ruth Konia
The Nature Conservancy, Papua New Guinea
Madlyn Lagusu Ero
The Nature Conservancy
Cynthia Malone
American Museum of Natural History
Sangeeta Mangubhai
Wildlife Conservation Society
Allison Martin
The Nature Conservancy
Barbara Masike-Liri
The Nature Conservancy, Papua New Guinea
Alexander Mawyer
University of Hawaii, Manoa
Cynthia Nakozoete
The Nature Conservancy
Tiara R. Na'puti
University of Colorado, Boulder
Miriam Supuma
Papua New Guinea Institute of Biological Research
Magdalene Tara
The Nature Conservancy
Paige West
Barnard College

Are you part of a working group or visiting NCEAS for another opportunity? Check out our page of resources for you.

Learn More