Rebecca Riggs


I have spent the last few years travelling to remote areas of Cambodia and Indonesia to understand the complexity of landscape governance and challenges facing rural smallholders in Asia. I am currently completing a Doctor of Philosophy on social-ecological impacts of landscape transitions in Southeast Asia. My research aims to identify leverage points where interventions can optimise conservation-development trade-offs. I aim to contribute to broader research on reconciling long-term development and environmental challenges by strengthening governance and institutions. I strongly believe in embedded research; engaging with people in landscapes where changes are occurring. I work at the science-policy interface, bridging the divide between academia, policy and realities on the ground.


I am interested in how smallholder livelihoods in Southeast Asia are changing and how governance and institutions can be leveraged to contribute to better management of landscapes. I use a systems approach to analyse drivers of change, ensuring evidence-based decisions incorporates social, economic and environmental components of a system. I value spending time in our sentinel landscapes, sharing and discussing with people about their lives and future visions. I hope to shed light on some of the challenges and aspirations of people living in these landscapes and bridge communication gaps across different levels of governance.

Selected Publications

Riggs, R. A., Langston, J. D., & Sayer, J. (2018). Incorporating governance into forest transition frameworks to understand and influence Cambodia’s forest landscapes. Forest policy and economics, 96, 19-27.

Bull, G., Boedhihartono, A., Bueno, G., Cashore, B., Elliott, C., Langston, J. D., Riggs, R. A., Sayer, J. (2018). Global forest discourses must connect with local forest realities. International Forestry Review, 20(2), 160-166.

Riggs, R. A., Langston, J. D., Margules, C., Boedhihartono, A. K., Lim, H.S., Sari, D.A., Sururi, Y., Sayer, J., (2018). Governance Challenges in an Eastern Indonesian Forest Landscape, Sustainability 10(1), 169.

Langston, J. D., Riggs, R. A., Sururi, Y., Sunderland, T., & Munawir, M. (2017). Estate crops more attractive than community forests in west Kalimantan, Indonesia. Land, 6(1), 12.

Riggs, R. A., Sayer, J., Margules, C., Boedhihartono, A. K., Langston, J. D., & Sutanto, H. (2016). Forest tenure and conflict in Indonesia: Contested rights in Rempek Village, Lombok. Land Use Policy, 57, 241-249.

Sayer, J., Margules, C., Boedhihartono, A. K., Sunderland, T., Langston, J. D., Reed, J., Riggs, R., Buck, L., Campbell, B., Kusters, K., Elliot, C., Minang, P., Dale, A., Purnomo, H., Stevenson, J., Gunarso, P., Purnomo, A (2016). Measuring the effectiveness of landscape approaches to conservation and development.



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