Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Environment and Geography
Jessica is an ecologist with a background in human geography, and a research associate in the Department of Environment and Geography. She is also an African Women in Climate Change fellow at the African Climate and Development Initiative at the University of Cape Town. She is currently working on an ESRC-funded collaborative capacity building project, using probabilistic social-ecological modelling and scenario analysis to measure potential impacts of Chinese foreign direct investment in transportation corridors in East Africa. She is also leading an IDRC-funded project predicting the synergies and trade-offs of ecological infrastructure in peri-urban areas. Her recent research assessed the potential impact of climatic and demographic change on (a) local actor decisions and land use in mountain social-ecological systems, and (b) biodiversity and ecosystem services in smallholder agricultural landscapes. Prior to moving to York, she worked at Colorado State University, ETH Zurich and the University of Oxford. Born in Namibia, she completed her BSocSci(Hons) at the University of Cape Town, and was awarded scholarships to complete her MSc and DPhil at Oxford. She has been involved in various NSF, NERC, NRF, DFID, CGAIR, IDRC, and USAID funded projects, conducting field research in Nepal, India, Vietnam, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Switzerland and Peru. Professional activities have been affiliated with the UN (e.g., Environment Programme and International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction), governments (e.g., South Africa, Ghana), NGOs (e.g., Conservation International), working closely with local stakeholders across sectors and scales to generate new information. She has similarly conducted research for the Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security, Centre for International Forestry Research, Kew Royal Botanical Gardens, Cambridge, London School of Economics, and Brown University. Jessica sits on advisory boards for three CBOs, is an elected member of the Global Environmental Facility, has advocated for ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and UNFCCC COP, and is a contributing author to The Economic of Ecosystems and Biodiversity reports. She has taught on international courses in Global Biodiversity Trade and Indigenous Communities, Field Ecology, Wildland Ecosystems, Urban Geography, Global Challenges for the 21st Century, and Cities of the South.