Photo Bill Adams

William Mark ADAMS

Professor, Interdisciplinary Programme
Spoken languages
English, French
Areas of expertise
  • Agriculture, land and rural development
  • Conservation, biodiversity
  • Water
  • Sustainable development
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • Subsaharan Africa
  • Europe, Western and Northern Europe



PhD, University of Cambridge

Professor Bill Adams joined the Institute’s faculty in 2021.  He was previously Moran Professor of Conservation and Development in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge. 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. He is exploring in particular at the significance of digital technologies in conservation, and in for human relations with non-human nature, and the application of synthetic biology to wild and free-living species.  His books include Against Extinction: the Story of Conservation (2004, Earthscan, London), Green Development: Environment and Sustainability in a Developing World (4th Ed., 2020, Routledge, London) and most recently Strange Natures: Conservation in the era of Genome Editing (with Kent Redford, 2021, Yale University Press). 



2021:  Redford, K.S. and Adams, W.M. (2021) Strange Natures: conservation in the era of synthetic biology, Yale University Press, New Haven.
2020:  Adams, W.M. (2020) Green Development: environment and sustainability in a developing world,  fourth edition,  Routledge, London.
2010:  Leader-Williams, N., Adams, W.M. and Smith, R.J. (2010) (Eds.) Trade-offs in Conservation: deciding what to save. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
2009:  Hutton J., Dickson, B. and Adams W.M. (2009) (eds) Recreational Hunting, Conservation and Rural Livelihoods, Blackwells, Oxford

Peer reviewed articles and book chapters

  • Adams, W.M., McCorristine, S. and Searle, A. (2023) Conjuring up ghost species: on photograpy and extinction, pp. 137-154 in Stark, H. (Ed.) Extinction and Memorial Culture: reckoning with species loss in the Anthropocene, Routledge , London.
  • Scales, I.D. and Adams, W.M. (2023) ‘Human geography and conservation’, pp.139-182 in Scales, I., Miller D.C. and Mascia, M. (eds.)  Conservation Social Science: understanding people, conserving biodiversity, Edited by Daniel C. Miller, Ivan Scales, and Michael Mascia, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.
  • Schulz, C. and Adams, W.M. (2023) The Politics of Environmental Consensus: The Case of the World Commission on Dams, Global Environmental Politics, 23:11-30 
  • Searle, A., Turnbull, J.J. and Adams, W.M. (2023) The digital peregrine: a technonatural history of a cosmopolitan raptor, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 48(1): 195-212.
  • Vickery, J. A., Mallord, J.W., Adams, W.M., et al. (2023) The conservation of Afro-Palaearctic migrants: what we are learning and what we need to know, Ibis 165: 717-738.
  • Schulz, C. & Adams, W. M., (2022) Addressing conflict over dams: the inception and establishment of the World Commission on Dams, Water History 14 (3): 289-308).
  • Sandbrook, C.S ., Clark, D., Toivonen, T. Simlai, T., O’Donnell, S., Cobbe, J. and Adams W.M. (2021) Principles for the Socially Responsible Use of Conservation Monitoring Technology and Data, Conservation Science and Practice 2021;3:e374.
  • Pascual, U., Adams, W.M., Díaz, S., Lele, S., Mace, G.M and Turnhout, E. (2021) Biodiversity and the challenge of pluralism, Nature Sustainability
  • Corbera, E., Maestre, S., Calvet-Mir, l., Brockington, D., Howe, C., Adams, W.M. (2021) Biases in the production of knowledge on ecosystem services and poverty alleviation, Oryx 55: 868 – 877.
  • Adams, W.M. and Redford, K.R. (2021) Fix that genome?, Oryx 55: 481-2.
  • Adams, W.M. and Redford K.R. (2021) ‘Editing the wild’, Biological Conservation 35: 1701-3.
  • Adams, W.M. (2021) Gene editing for climate: terraforming and biodiversity, Scottish Geographical Journal, 136 (1-4): 24-30 
  • Vickery, J.A.  and Adams, W.M. (2020) Action before certainty for Africa's European migrant birds, Oryx  54: 1-2.