University of York; University of Cape Town; Colorado State University
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 Science 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 local actor decisions and land use in mountain social-ecological systems, and biodiversity and ecosystem services in smallholder agricultural landscapes in Nepal, India, Vietnam, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, and Peru. 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. 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), INGOs (e.g., Conservation International), working closely with local stakeholders across sectors and scales to generate new information. She has been involved in various NSF, NERC, NRF, DFID, CGAIR, IDRC, and USAID funded projects, conducting research for Colorado State University, ETH Zurich, University of Oxford, 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, and has advocated for ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and UNFCCC COP. She is a contributing author to The Economic of Ecosystems and Biodiversity reports, and taught international courses on Global Biodiversity Trade and Indigenous Communities, Field Ecology, Wildland Ecosystems, Urban Geography, Global Challenges for the 21st Century, and Cities of the South. This will continue her work in biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, and international development.