Photo Bill Adams

William Mark ADAMS

Professor, Interdisciplinary Programme
Spoken languages
English, French
Areas of expertise
  • Agriculture, land and rural development
  • Climate, climate change, natural disasters
  • Conservation, biodiversity
  • Environment, environmental policies, law, and economics
  • Governance, local and international
  • Natural resources, extractive economies, commodities
  • Water
  • Sustainable development
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • Subsaharan Africa
  • Europe, Western and Northern Europe



PhD, University of Cambridge

Professor Bill Adams joins the Institute’s faculty in January 2021.  He was previously Moran Professor of Conservation and Development in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge. His books include Against Extinction: the Story of Conservation (2004, Earthscan, London) and Green Development: Environment and Sustainability in a Developing World (4th Ed., 2020, Routledge, London). His research explores conservation from the perspectives of political ecology and environmental history, and he is currently interested in the ways in which new technologies reshape understanding of nature and conservation practice.


  • The implications of synthetic biology for biodiversity conservation: book with Kent Redford, Strange Natures: Conservation in the Era of Synthetic Biology (forthcoming Yale University Press 2021)
  • Digital technologies and the conservation of nature: how new technologies reshape understanding of nature and conservation practice





  • Adams, W.M. (2004) Against Extinction: the story of conservation, Earthscan, London.
  • Adams, W.M. (2020) Green Development: environment and sustainability in a developing world,  fourth edition, Routledge, London.

Peer reviewed articles and book chapters

  • Adams, W.M. (2015) ‘The Political Ecology of conservation conflicts’, pp. 64-75 in S. M. Redpath, R. J. Gutiérrez, K. A. Wood and J. C. Young (eds.) Conflicts in Conservation: Navigating Towards Solutions, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Adams W.M. (2017) ‘Conservation from Above: Globalising Care for Nature’, pp. 111-126 in: Brightman M., Lewis J. (eds) The Anthropology of Sustainability, Palgrave Studies in Anthropology of Sustainability. Palgrave Macmillan, New York
  • Evans, L.E. and Adams W.M. (2018) ‘Elephants as Actors in the Political Ecology of Human-Elephant Conflict’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 43: 630-645.
  • McCorristine, S. and Adams, W.M. (2020) ‘Ghost species: spectral geographies of biodiversity conservation’, cultural geographies 27:101-11.
  • Adams, W.M. (2020) Geographies of conservation III: Natures’ spaces, Progress in Human Geography 4: 789–801.