Dr Chris Jacobson

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Dr Chris Jacobson


USC Senior Research Fellow

PhD Lincoln(NZ), PG Diploma Wildlife Management Otago, BSc (Ecology) Lincoln(NZ)   

+61 7 5456 5053
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Dr Chris Jacobson


Dr Chris Jacobson joined the University in 2012. Her research focuses on research for development, building community and livelihood resilience in the Asia-Pacific region. Chris specialises in the use of participatory and adaptive approaches, especially monitoring and evaluation and policy dialogue. Chris is the Sustainability Discipline leader (teaching), and has worked extensively in Cambodia, Vietnam, Australia, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Pacific Islands.

Working in partnerships, she has authored over 40 peer reviewed publications in books and highly ranked journals (e.g. Ecology and Society, Regional environmental change), in addition to leading the development of practitioner guides (e.g. Resilience assessment and policy dialogue), strategic policy (e.g. the Pacific Islands Extension Strategy) and social media (e.g. YouTube).

Professional memberships and roles
  • Research Associate, Kā Rakahau o te Ao Tūroa (University of Otago, New Zealand)
  • Project Reviewer (ACIAR)
  • UNEP Eco-system-based adaptation forum (invited expert)
  • Advisory Panel, Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
  • Theo Murphy High Flyers Think Tank, 2012, Australia Academy of Sciences
  • Eric Andersen Award for best journal article, 2009, Environmental Institute for Australia and New Zealand
Research projects

Chris has led small international project teams (1–5 members) and been a part of larger multi-disciplinary project teams (>10 members). Examples include:

Year Theme Countries Contractor Project, role and deliverables Partners
2018 Agriculture Extension Pacific Islands ACIAR

Policy drivers for public-private partnerships in Pacific organics (ADP/2018/131) (Project Leader)

SPC, POETCom, University of Adelaide
2018 Agriculture Extension Philippines ACIAR

ACIAR Mindanao Agriculture Extension Project (Review Leader)

2018 Agriculture Extension Pacific Islands SPC

Needs analysis for tailored agriculture extension training (Project Leader)

2018 Livelihoods Cambodia NZ Aid

Evaluation of watershed management adaptation (Project Leader)

Live & Learn, Apsara National Authority, Lincoln University
2017 Agriculture Extension Myanmar ACIAR

ACIAR 'My Life' project (Review Leader)

2017 Climate adaptation Cambodia UN FAO, DFAT

Migration, food security and climate adaptation (Leader, DFAT New Colombo Plan)

UN FAO, University of Battambang (Cambodia)
2016 Agriculture Extension Pacific Islands POETCom, DFAT

Review of organic agricultural certification and associated extension (Supervisor)

POETCom, Cook Islands Ministry of Agriculture
2016 Adaptive co-management Australia Various

Great Sandy Biosphere Management Plan (Lead Draft)

BMRG and Biosphere board
2015/6 Climate change Cambodia, Viet Nam APN GCR

Climate adaptation policy dialogue based on a community resilience assessment (Project Leader)

Hue University & ISET, Viet Nam, University of Battambang, Ministry of Environment, & UN FAO, Cambodia

2015/6 Adaptive co-management New Zealand, Australia MBIE, NZ

Co-operative management of water (Contributor)

Lincoln University

2015/6 Climate adaptation Australia NCCARF

Monitoring and evaluation of climate adaptation worksheet (Leader)


2015 Agriculture Extension Australia USC

Community Gardens network (Project Leader)

Sunshine Coast Council

2015 Agriculture Extension Pacific Islands SPC

Pacific Island Extension Strategy (Project Leader)

SPC, Pacific Islands, Regional Advisory Service Network

2014/5 Adaptive co-management Australia CRN Network

Community dimensions of land seascapes


2014/5 Livelihoods Cambodia ASEAN

Community based tourism guidelines (Contributor)

ASEAN, Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia

2012/3 Adaptive Co-management New Zealand MBIE

Cultural resilience and customary fisheries

Otago University

2012 Climate adaptation Australia DEECC Prioritising Coastal Adaptation and Development Options for Local Governments (Contributor) Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Oakridge National Laboratory
2012 Climate adaptation Kenya UNEP  Ecosystem and Community-Based Adaptation (Invited Expert) UNEP
2012 Adaptive co-management Canada Parks Canada Integrating Inuit knowledge and aspirations in the management of Auyuittuq National Park Parks Canada
Prior to USC:      


2012 Extension 

New Zealand


Water and soil nutrient modelling (Workshop co-facilitation)

Landcare Research

2011/2 Extension

New Zealand


Perceptions about vertebrate pest control (Research Assistant)

Fitzgerald Applied Sociology, Landcare Research

2011 Adaptive co-management


Marsden Fund

Knowledge interfacing and power sharing in co-management (Project Leader)

University of Otago

2003-2011 Adaptive co-management

New Zealand


Adaptive Management to restore Forests Affected by Deer (Theme co-leader)

Department of Conservation, Landcare Research, Arthur Rylah Institute, University of Otago, SPC

2009 Adaptive co-management



Develop a management effectiveness assessment framework for the National Reserve System (Contributor)

National Reserve System Parks Australia

2006-9 Adaptive co-management, extension



Building capacity for adaptive conservation management (Post-doc)

NSW Parks and Wildlife Service, Parks Victoria, Parks Australia, Director of National Parks

2008 Livelihoods

Vietnam, Indonesia


Master's program Natural Resource Management, Interviews of land use change, Red River Delta, & Policy workshop, Manhakam delta

SEI & SLU, Sweden; Hue University, Viet Nam

2001/3 Extension

New Zealand


Evaluation of agriculture extension DSS (Leader)

Department of Conservation, Landcare Research, Otago University

Research students

Chris’s students’ research (past and present) emphasises community engagement in and community management of natural resources. Examples include:

  • Isabelle Oude-Egberink, MA Candidate, The outcomes of agriculture co-operatives for women (Cambodia)
  • Chiv Sarith, PhD Candidate (Cambodia), Migration between fisheries and agriculture livelihoods in the Tonle Sap (Cambodia)
  • Jon Raikes, PhD Candidate, Risk management governance, Australia and Canada
  • Miguel Frohlich, PhD candidate, Towards adaptive coastal management law: insights from Australia and Brazil
  • Delia Siivola, PhD candidate, Protected area management in the Circumpolar north (Canada, Russia)
  • Flora Kwapena, PhD candidate, Land tenure, gender and development (Papua New Guinea)
  • Francisco Gelves-Gomez, PhD candidate, Adaptive-co-management of Great Sandy Biosphere Reserve
  • Jamie Knight, Honours, Riparian landholder values in the Noosa Biosphere Reserve
  • Bec Cotton, Honours, Organic agriculture extension in the Pacific Islands
  • Ximena Aarango, PhD candidate, Ecotourism in Tin Can Bay
  • Yuan Lu (OU), PhD, A case study of traditional ecological knowledge in Yancheng Biosphere Reserve (China)
  • An Ngyuen (UQ), PhD, Understanding Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve as a socio-ecological system (Vietnam)
  • Josie Kelman (UQ), PhD, Drivers of effective management in NSW parks
  • Grace Muriuki (UQ), PhD, The role of squatter settlements in vegetation change in the Chyulu Hills (Kenya)
  • Anne Stephens (UQ), PhD, A feminist critique of systemic intervention theory
Potential student projects
  • Vegetables for gender and climate resilient livelihood in SE Asia
  • Agriculture extension and extension policy
  • Resilience building and climate adaptation
  • Intersectionality in climate change impacts and adaptation
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