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. In 2020 I completed a Doctor of Philosophy on Governing Landscape Transitions in Cambodia. In this research, I examined forest landscapes in Cambodia to understand local perceptions and institutional leverage points for nurturing landscape transitions for prosperity and sustainability. I am currently involved in research that explores different dimensions of vibrant forest landscapes – including inclusive development pathways, customary governance, and locally controlled enterprises. I work in transdisciplinary partnerships engaging with rural communities in Indonesia, Cameroon, Canada, and Cambodia. I aim to contribute to broader research on reconciling long-term development and environmental challenges by strengthening local 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.

Click here to learn about our Vibrant Forest Landscapes team at the University of British Columbia.


I am interested in how livelihoods are changing in and around forests and how institutions can contribute to inclusive and resilient 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., Nerfa, L., Boedhihartono, A., Gaston, C., Herdianti, A., Valeri, E., Sayer, J. (2021). Common ground: integrated landscape approaches and small and medium forest enterprises for vibrant forest landscapes, Sustainability Science
  • Hing, S., Riggs, R. A., (2021), Re-thinking benefits of community protected areas in Mondulkiri, Cambodia, Trees, Forests and People
  • Riggs, R. A., R. Achdiawan, A. Adiwinata, A. K. Boedhihartono, A. Kastanya, J. D. Langston, H. Priyadi, M. Ruiz-Pérez, J. Sayer, and A. Tjiu. (2021). Governing the landscape: potential and challenges of integrated approaches to landscape sustainability in Indonesia. Landscape Ecology
  • Margules, C., Boedhihartono, A.K., Langston, J.D., Riggs, R.A., Sari, D.A, Sarkar, S., Sayer, J.A., Supriatna, J., and Winarni, N.L (2020) Transdisciplinary science for improved conservation outcomes. Environmental Conservation, 1-10.
  • Sayer, J., Boedhihartono, A. K., Langston, J. D., Margules, C., Riggs, R. A., & Sari, D. A. (2020). Governance challenges to landscape restoration in Indonesia. Land Use Policy
  • Langston, J. D., Riggs, R. A., Boedhihartono, A. K., Kastanya, A. and Sayer. J. (2020) An island in transition: governing conservation and development in Seram, Indonesia. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography
  • Riggs, R. A., Langston, J. D., Beauchamp, E., Travers, H., Ken, S., & Margules, C. (2020). Examining Trajectories of Change for Prosperous Forest Landscapes in Cambodia. Environmental management
  • Riggs, R. A., Langston, J. D., Sayer, J., Sloan, S., & Laurance, W. F. (2020). Learning from Local Perceptions for Strategic Road Development in Cambodia’s Protected Forests. Tropical Conservation Science, 13
  • Sayer, J., Sheil, D., Galloway, G., Riggs, R. A., Mewett, G., MacDicken, K., Arts, B., Boedhihartono, A. K.,  Langston, J.D., Edwards, D. (2019). SDG 15: Life on Land – The Central Role of Forests in Sustainable Development. In P. Katila, C. Pierce Colfer, W. De Jong, G. Galloway, P. Pacheco, & G. Winkel (Eds.), Sustainable Development Goals: Their Impacts on Forests and People (pp. 482-509). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Langston, J. D., Riggs, R. A., Sayer, J. A., Margules, C., & Boedhihartono, A. K. (2019). Science embedded in local forest landscape management improves benefit flows to society. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change
  • 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.