Rebecca Riggs

I grew up in Adelaide, Australia, and have always enjoyed the outdoors and travel. I studied Chemical Engineering and Economics at the University of Adelaide, which led me towards international development. Whilst completing the Master of Development Practice at James Cook University I grew passionate about working at the interface between conservation and development. Working with and learning from the TAB team I came to understand the value of engaging at the landscape-scale – working with decision-makers and communities on how institutions can help to navigate pathways towards sustainability. I’m particularly interested in the interactions between formal and informal institutions, and creating enabling conditions for locally-driven initiatives.

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 transdisciplinary research that explores different dimensions of vibrant forest landscapes – including inclusive development pathways, customary governance, and locally controlled enterprises. In partnership with local organisations, universities, and communities, we use a range of participatory methods – scenarios, asset mapping, network analysis – to better understand opportunities, threats, and future pathways for forest landscapes in Indonesia, Cameroon, Canada, and Cambodia. I strongly believe in embedded research; engaging with people in landscapes where changes are occurring. I aim to contribute to broader understanding on reconciling long-term development and environmental challenges by strengthening institutions. I strive to 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.

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.