- Forests and climate change
- Ecosystem services
- Forest governance
- Livelihood assessments
Grace Wong's research focuses on ecosystem services, poverty and equity within complex social-ecological systems
Wong is a natural resource economist. Wong’s work has largely converged on assessing social, economic and ecological trade-offs in tropical environments, focusing in particular on the interface of development, socio-political processes and environmental change. She has worked extensively throughout Southeast Asia and Latin America. Her current research is on ecosystem services and human wellbeing in dynamic social-ecological systems, with a particular interest on power and equity in the distribution of benefits and risks from natural resource use and governance.
Wong received her PhD in Forest Resources and Conservation from the University of Florida in 2003. She led the landscape conservation planning program at Conservation International, worked on the poverty-environment nexus within land and investments with UNDP in Lao PDR, and more recently, carried out research on the political economy, governance and livelihood aspects of forests and climate change at the Center for International Forestry Research.
Wong is currently principal investigator and coordinator of the following projects:
SEQUAL (Social-ecological relations and gender equality), EU GenderNet Plus
FairFrontiers (Fair for whom? Politics, power and precarity in transformations of tropical forest-agriculture frontiers)
News articles with Wong, Grace
Research news | 2022-10-13
Scientific narratives risk reinforcing colonial structures in tropical forests
Rural forest communities are made the scapegoat for environmental destruction in tropical forests
Research news | 2021-10-25
Strong civil society crucial to halt destruction of the world’s tropical forests
What is needed - and often missing - is a shared transformational objective and priority to keep the forests standing
Research news | 2021-09-02
Uncovering the distal human and environmental impacts of China’s reforestation efforts
How and why national sustainability initiatives contribute to unsustainable global development
Research news | 2020-06-29
Myths shape deforestation interventions, hindering progress
Researchers debunk five illusions about forests and forest management. With it comes the hope for change
Publications by Wong, Grace
The making of resource frontier spaces in the Congo Basin and Southeast Asia: A critical analysis of narratives, actors and drivers in the scientific literature
Journal / article | 2022
Forest frontiers are rapidly changing to sites of commodity agriculture throughout the tropics, with far-reaching transformations in landscapes and livelihoods. Many of the dynamics that drive frontier commodification are well-rehearsed since colonial times. Policies to deregulate markets, privatize or formalize land tenure and open borders to trade have stimulated resource exploitation. The accompanying territorial interventi...
The forest frontier in the Global South: Climate change policies and the promise of development and equity
Journal / article | 2021
Halting forest loss and achieving sustainable development in an equitable manner require state, non-state actors, and entire societies in the Global North and South to tackle deeply established patterns of inequality and power relations embedded in forest frontiers. Forest and climate governance in the Global South can provide an avenue for the transformational change needed—yet, does it? We analyse the politics and power in ...
When the whole is less than the sum of all parts – Tracking global-level impacts of national sustainability initiatives
Journal / article | 2021
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are described as integrated and indivisible, where sustainability challenges must be addressed across sectors and scales to achieve global-level sustainability. However, SDG monitoring mostly focuses on tracking progress at national-levels, for each goal individually. This approach ignores local and cross-border impacts of national policies and assumes that global-level ...
Unearthing the myths of global sustainable forest governance
Journal / article | 2020
Despite efforts to address the global forest crisis, deforestation and degradation continue, so we need to urgently revisit possible solutions. A failure to halt the global forest crisis contributes to climate change and biodiversity loss and will continue to result in inequalities in access to, and benefits from, forest resources. In this paper, we unpack a series of powerful myths about forests and their management. By expo...