PECS-SC member

Department of Organisation Studies, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Marja Spierenburg studied social psychology and anthropology at the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands), where she also worked as a research assistant from 1990 to 1992. From 1992 till 1997 she was a research fellow at the Amsterdam School for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam, where she later, in 2003, obtained her PhD degree. Between 1992 and 1994 she was also affiliated to the Centre for Applied Social Sciences, University of Zimbabwe. From 1998 till September 2001 she worked for UNESCO (in Senegal and France). In September 2001 she joined the VU University Amsterdam, where she currently works as an Associate Professor. Since 2010 she is also affiliated to the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa as an Associate Professor.

Marja Spierenburg coordinates several research projects focusing on the role of the private (profit and non-profit) sector in nature conservation and land reforms in Southern Africa. Her research addresses the growing importance of public-private partnerships in nature conservation and of private wildlife conservation areas, and the impacts of those developments on the land rights and livelihoods of local communities. Between 2003 and 2006 she participated in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Currently she is a co-vice chair of the Scientific Committee of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS). Marja Spierenburg’s publications include, apart from numerous journal articles and book chapters, the books ‘Sponsoring nature: Environmental philanthropy for nature conservation’ (co-authored with Maano Ramutsindela and Harry Wels, published in 2011 by Earthscan) Strangers, Spirits and Land Reforms, Conflicts about Land in Dande, northern Zimbabwe’ (Brill 2004) and ‘Competing Jurisdictions. Settling Land Claims in Africa’ (co-edited with Sandra Evers and Harry Wels, Brill 2005).


Printable version

2019-01-23 Albert Norström

PECS - Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society

Stockholm Resilience Centre

Stockholm University
SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Visiting address: Kräftriket 2

+46 734 60 70 68


The Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS), is a core project of Future Earth. It aims to integrate research on the stewardship of social–ecological system and the relationships among natural capital, human wellbeing, livelihoods, inequality and poverty.