Ben Parker

Research Interests

I have a diverse set of research interests, from rangers to conservation geopolitics, which align through the common theme of biodiversity conservation. In a nutshell, my DPhil uses interdisciplinary methods to explore the implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for biodiversity conservation (supervisors: Amy Hinsley, EJ Milner-Gulland). This research has two main components. The first focusses on how the people-to-people dimension of China’s Belt and Road Initiative might affect patterns of wildlife trade by expanding and diversifying Traditional Chinese Medicine markets. Informed by fieldwork in Nepal (key collaborator: TRAFFIC) and China, this research intends to develop a framework for promoting the sustainable use of targeted species. The second component of the research will use spatially-explicit models to evaluate the potential impacts of BRI infrastructure on the populations sizes and structures of selected species of Southeast Asia. Together, these research threads will yield insights into how sustainability could be promoted across the vast and growing web of the BRI.


In direct complement to my PhD research, I work with the Oxford University Silk Road Society on the implications of the BRI for biodiversity conservation. I also work with WWF on an array of projects related to conservation rangers, including ranger wellbeing, effectiveness, and community relations.