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Cambridge Forum for Sustainability and the Environment



David is interested in the challenges of conserving biodiversity in the face of a growing global population and ever-increasing per capita consumption. Human consumption is only going to grow in the next few decades and that conservationists and policy makers need to make plans to cope with this increasing demand.

For his PhD, which he started in January 2012 under the supervision of Andrew Balmford, he is investigating the balance between food production, biodiversity and ecosystem services in pastoral systems in Yucatan, Mexico, and ask whether projected demands for beef and other products are best met through a relatively small area of intensive farmland, or larger areas of less intensive production. He is working with Dr. Francisco Galindo and colleagues at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and our findings will hopefully feed into agricultural and conservation policy in Mexico. He is also interested in long-term ecology and the historical impacts of humans, for example, the debate on the causes of the Quaternary megafaunal extinctions and historical declines in fisheries.

He studied Zoology at Cambridge as an undergraduate, before taking an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management in the Oxford School of Geography and the Environment. He returned to Cambridge to work with Bill Sutherland on the Conservation Evidence project, writing a book to collect and synthesise evidence for the effects of different bird conservation interventions.

PhD student in the Conservation Science Group,
Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge
 David  Williams
Not available for consultancy


Person keywords: 
food security
evidence-based conservation
the balance between food production, biodiversity and ecosystem services, particularly in pastoral systems in Yucatan, Mexico
long-term ecology and the historical impacts of humans
biodiversity conservation