Dr Chris Jacobson

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Dr Chris Jacobson


Teaching areas

  • Sustainability (Discipline Leader)
  • Measuring Sustainability (SUS201)
  • Sustainability Project (SUS310)
  • New Colombo Plan (SCS245/6)

Research areas

  • Community resilience and climate change adaptation
  • Agriculture extension and livelihood development
  • Adaptive and collaborative management
  • Natural resource management


Dr Chris Jacobson joined the University in 2012. Her research focusses on building community and livelihood resilience in the Asia-Pacific region. Chris specialises in the use of adaptive, participatory and collaborative approaches, especially the use of monitoring and evaluation as a mechanism for enhancing community agency and policy dialogue.

Chris is the sustainability program leader (teaching), and has worked extensively in Cambodia, Vietnam, Australia, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Pacific Islands. Collaborators include United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, Pacific Community (Secretariat of the Pacific Community), University of Battambang (Cambodia), Ministry of Environment (Cambodia), University of Hue (Vietnam), Institute of Social and Environmental Transitions (SE Asia), and numerous university, government, Indigenous and non-government collaborators in Australasia.

Working in partnerships, she has authored over 40 peer reviewed publications in books and highly ranked journals (e.g. Ecology and Society), 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
  • Great Sandy Biosphere Management Group
  • Environmental Institute of Australia and New Zealand
  • 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 Thank 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
2017 Extension, Institutional development Myanmar DFAT (ACIAR)

Leader, project review

  • End of project review for ACIAR 'My Life' project
  • 3 week assignment, 1 week in country
Myanmar DoA, DAR, University New England, Asian Institute of Technology
2017 Climate adaptation, Community development Cambodia, Cook Islands UN FAO, DFAT

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

  • Revised VIA
  • Household migration, causes and consequences survey
  • 6 weeks in country
UN FAO (Cambodia) University of Battambang (Cambodia) Department of Agriculture (Cook Islands)
2016 Extension Pacific Islands SPC


Review of POETcom organic agricultural certification and associated extension, SPC (1 week in Fiji)

2015/6 Climate change, Community development Cambodia, Viet Nam APN

Climate adaptation and community resilience Leader, APN GRC CAF, >$50,000USD 

  • Community resilience assessments in four communities 
  • Guidebook for community resilience assessment
  • Ascertain links between migration, food security and community change
  • 6 months in country (Cambodia and Vietnam)

Hue University, Viet Nam, ISET, Viet Nam

University of Battambang, Cambodia

Ministry of Environment, Cambodia

UN FAO, Cambodia

2015 Extension, Community development Pacific Islands SPC

Pacific Islands Extension Strategy, Leader, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, >$50,000USD 

  • Review of extension in PICS and international
  • Facilitate a multi-day sectoral consultation forum, and a multi-day policy dialogue
  • Draft Pacific Islands agriculture extension strategy
  • 1 week in Samoa, 2 weeks in Fiji

Secretariat of the Pacific Community 

Pacific Islands Regional Advisory Service Network

2014/5 Community development Cambodia ASEAN

Community based tourism guidelines

  • Co-developer and Piloting of CBT guidelines
  • 3 weeks in country


Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia

2012 Climate adaptation Kenya UNEP Expert, Ecosystem and Community-Based Adaptation workshop UNEP
2008 Community development

Viet Nam




Natural Resource Management

  • Master's program Natural Resource Management
  • Interviews of land use change, Red River Delta
  • Policy workshop, Manhakam delta
  • 5 Weeks in Vietnam, 2 weeks in Indonesia

SEI, Sweden

SLU, Sweden

Hue University, Viet Nam

Year Theme Countries Contractor Project, role and deliverables Partners
2015/6 Adaptive co-management New Zealand, Australia MBIE, NZ

Co-operative management of water

Leader of sub-contract to NZ MBIE water management project, >$50,000USD

  • Comparative evaluation of co-operative management
Lincoln University
2012/3 Community resilience New Zealand OU

Cultural resilience and customary fisheries 

Lead, community resilience and governance, FRST, Tr Tiaki Mahinga Kai

  • Report comparing Taiāpure and Mātaitai outcomes
  • Analysis of cultural resilience of customary fisheries
Te Rūnanga of Ngāi Tahu
2012 Adaptive co-management Canada Parks Canada

Integrating Inuit knowledge and aspirations in the management of Auyuittug National Park

Project leader, Parks Canada

  • Review existing governance arrangements with community
  • Co-authored publication with community
  • 2 months in Pangnirtung (Baffin Island)

Parks Canada

University of Manitoba

Auyuittug Inuit Knowledge Working Group

2011 Adaptive co-management NZ/Australia Royal Society of New Sealand

Knowledge interfacing and power sharing in co-management

Project leader, Marsden Fund, >$200,000 USD

University of Queensland

University of Manitoba

Australia / New Zealand
Year Theme Countries Contractor Project, role and deliverables Partners
2016 Community development Australia Various

Great Sandy Biosphere Management Plan

Review and revise the biosphere management plan, and establish new governance arrangements 

BMRG, Traditional Owners, Local Government and others
2015/6 Climate adaptation Australia NCCARF

Monitoring and evaluation of climate adaptation

Leader, NCCARF, >$50,000USD

Worksheet on monitoring and evaluation for local government practitioners

2015 Community development Australia USC

Community gardens: enhancing success,

Leader, USC engagement grant, <$50,000USD

  • Review of factors affecting success in community gardens
  • Establishing Sunshine Coast community gardens network
Sunshine Coast Council
2014/5 Extension, community development Australia CRN

Social dimensions of land-seascape planning

Project leader, Collaborative Research Network, >$50,000USD

University of Queensland

Griffith University

Mary River Catchment

Co-ordinating committee

2012-4 Climate adaptation Australia DEECC

Prioritising Coastal Adaptation and Development Options for Local Governments

Coastal Adaptation Pathways Program, >$300,000USD

  • Guide for monitoring and evaluation of climate change adaptation

Sydney Coastal Councils Group

Oakridge National Laboratory

2009 Adaptive co-management Australia DEWHA

Develop a management effectiveness assessment framework for the National Reserve System

Investigator, DEWHA

  • Monitoring ad evaluation framework for NRS

National Reserve System Parks Australia

2006-9 Adaptive co-management, extension Australia ARC

Building capacity for adaptive conservation management

Research Fellow, ARC-Linkage >$300,000USD

  • Develop and refine monitoring and evaluation frameworks for all project partners
  • Establish national conservation monitoring and evaluation working group
  • Develop, test and refine systems for using monitoring information as part of decision making

NSW Parks and Wildlife Service

Parks Victoria

Parks Australia

Director of National Parks

2003-11 Adaptive co-management New Zealand DOC

Adaptive Management to restore Forests Affected by Deer

Investigator, Department of Conservation, theme co-leader: collaborative learning, >$800,000USD

  • Establish and facilitate community learning groups
  • Work with learning groups to identify the impacts of deer on forests, and to develop indicators of this

Department of Conservation

Landcare Research

Arthur Rylah Institute 

University of Otago


2012 Extension New Zealand DOC

Water and soil nutrient modelling

  • Workshop co-facilitation and lead on adaptive management, national science workshop
  • Workshop report

Landcare Research

2011/2 Extension New Zealand DOC

Perceptions about vertebrate pest control

Interviews for Fitzgerald Applied sociology on the perceptions of New Zealand citizens to various pest control options

Fitzgerald Applied Sociology

Landcare Research

2001-3 Extension New Zealand DOC

Evaluation of support systems to facilitate transitions to sustainable land management

  • Test, develop and refine information support system for New Zealand high country
  • Science workshop co-facilitation

Department of Conservation

Landcare Research

Research students

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

  • 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
  • Resilience building and climate adaptation
  • Vegetables for gender and climate resilient livelihood in SE Asia
  • Intersectionality in climate change impacts and adaptation
  • Biosphere management and knowledge systems
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