Personal profile


Johan Oldekop is Reader in Environment and Development at the Global Development Institute. His work focuses on understanding the kinds of policies, interventions and social processes that lead to better outcomes for people and the environment. Johan's research combines a range of different approaches from the natural and social sciences, including environmental sciences, geographical information systems, political science, and economics. He leads the Sustainable Forest Transitions project and is particularly interested in the use of large-scale public datasets and quantitative causal inference tools to understand synergies and tradeoffs between conservation and development outcomes.

Johan obtained his PhD at the University of Manchester, and has held research positions in both the UK (Universities of Sheffield and Newcastle) and the US (University of Michigan, and Washington State University). His research has been funded by the European Union and the UK's Research and Innovation (UKRI) and he has conducted commissioned research for international organisations, including USAID and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations. His research has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals including Nature Sustainability, Nature Ecology and Evolution, Nature Plants and Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

He is part of the Forest and Livelihoods: Assessment, Research, and Engagement (FLARE) network and the International Forestry Resources and Institutions network.

For media enquiries regarding Johan's research please contact Chris Jordan.


PhD and Post-Doc Opportunities:

My research group and I are keen to collaborate, and while we currently cannot host any more PhD students, we'd be keen to discuss your ideas for fellowships or other post-doctoral research collaborations. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Global Development Institute


  • environment
  • forestry
  • conservation


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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