Julia Latham
PhD Student



Julia is particularly interested in adopting an inter-disciplinary approach to conservation issues, and also in the application of scientific research into environmental policy.  Before starting her PhD in 2009, Julia worked at the Institute of Zoology in London on the Living Planet Index, a collaborative project between WWF and ZSL.  The Living Planet Index measures global trends in vertebrate diversity based on over 8,000 population time series and it is used by the Convention on Biological Diversity as a means of measuring progress towards the 2010 target.  Julia‚Äôs main role was to model trends in migratory species for the Convention for the conservation of Migratory Species.  Prior to this she conducted her MSc at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, for which her thesis investigated the ecology of the invasive ship rat (Rattus rattus) and the potential for competition with the native and endangered North Island brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli).  Julia has also previously spent some time in Kenya assisting a University of Cambridge human-elephant conflict research project. 

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2009-  PhD Student  Environment Department, University of York  
2008-2009  Convention for Migratory species coordinator  Living Planet Index, Institute of Zoology, London
2006-2007  Research Intern  Indicators & Assessment Unit, Institute of Zoology, London 
2005-2006  MSc Ecology  University of Auckland, New Zealand 
2000-2004  BSc (Hons) Zoology  University of Edinburgh 



Description of PhD

Title:  Perceptions of governance: examining forest conservation policy at the community level in Tanzania and the implications for REDD+.

Supervisors:  Dr. Andrew Marshall, Dr. Samarthia Thankappan, Steve Cinderby (Stockholm Environment Institute)

Collaborators:  Dr. Susannah Sallu (University of Leeds)

Funding:  Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

TAC: Dr. Andrew Marshall, Dr. Samarthia Thankappan, Steve Cinderby, Dr. Murray Rudd

Description of research: 

My doctoral research investigates the effectiveness of forest management regimes at the community level in Tanzania, with a particular focus on the implications for the new UN initiative to mitigate climate change called REDD+ (payments for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation).

Most of the world’s tropical forests continue to be degraded by the unmonitored extraction of natural resources despite decades of varying forms of tropical forest management.  REDD+ is a fledgling international initiative aiming to conserve tropical forests based on financial payments for reduced deforestation and degradation rates, and is growing in expectation given the potential for poverty alleviation and biodiversity co-benefits.  However, as a relatively new international initiative there is currently no strategy to guide implementation of a global REDD+ framework into the management of natural resources in the developing world.   Lessons learned from decades of evolving styles of tropical forest policy provide an important basis for REDD+ implementation, yet the degree to which these global policies are enacted on the ground is known to vary.  This presents important implications for the success of any REDD+ strategy, as the attitudes and perceptions of local resource users will shape and influence the outcome of conservation policies on the ground.

This research draws upon a case-study of communities in Tanzania that are adjacent to forests under varying forms of protection, from state-managed to community-led.  It aims to examine local perceptions of forest management by measuring understanding of and compliance with forest management rules and regulations, in addition to describing the flow of forest management information from the official to local level.  Comparison of findings along the top-down and bottom-up management scale will provide insights into the governance qualities associated with improved forest management from the community perspective.  In this way this research aims to contribute to the debate surrounding the implementation of global REDD+ policy at the local scale and the potential for co-benefits of carbon-based forest conservation schemes, and sustainable tropical forest management.


The Living Planet Index

Laikipia Elephant Research Project, Kenya

Udzungwa Forest Project

Research group(s)

York Institute for Tropical Ecosystems (KITE)


Full publications list

Marshall, A.R., Willcock, S., Platts, P.J., Lovett, J.C., Balmford, A., Burgess, N.D., Latham, J.E., Munishi, P.K.T., Salter, R., Shirima, D.D., Lewis, S.L. (2012) Measuring and modelling above-ground carbon and tree allometry along a tropical elevation gradient. Biological Conservation 154:20-33

McRae L, Zöckler C, Gill M, Loh J, Latham J, Harrison N, Martin J, Collen B (2010) Tracking trends in Arctic wildlife: the Arctic Species Trend Index. Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program/Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna

Latham, J., McRae, L., Loh, J., Collen, B. (2008) The Living Planet Index for Migratory Species: an index of change in population abundance. Final report for The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species.

McRae, L., Loh, J., Collen, B., Holbrook, S., Amin, R., Latham, J., Tranquilli, S., Baillie, J. (2007) Living Planet Index. Canadian Living Planet Report (ed. Mitchell, S. & Peller, A.) WWF – Canada, Toronto, Canada.

Latham, Julia‌ 

Contact details

Julia Latham
PhD Student
Environment Department
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 324780
Fax: 01904 322998