Jorge Llopis


I am a land system scientist, passionate about understanding how people interact with and interpret their natural environment, and the socio-cultural, economic and institutional factors influencing such relations.

My first research experience was in Senegal, where I spent the last year of my bachelor interviewing migrants to Europe about their motivations to migrate. Realising that, alongside economic and social factors, environmental ones also played a big role in local youth’s decision to migrate encouraged me to deepen my understanding of human behaviour and decision-making under environmental change and the interventions aimed at addressing it. Then, for my master’s degree I conducted research in south-west Madagascar, where I explored local perceptions and behaviour towards a recently implemented protected area, and how these affected the effectiveness of the conservation scheme.

My commitment to investigate the interplay between local populations and conservation interventions in Madagascar continued during my PhD, when I spent four years exploring the implications of the establishment of protected areas and cash crops’ price booms on land use change, ecosystem services supply and human well-being in the north-eastern region of the country.

Research Interests

I am most interested in using counterfactual impact evaluation and social sciences methods to understand human behaviour during the process of protected areas’ establishment, particularly those aimed at preserving tropical forests. I have further interests on exploring how the impact of extreme climatic events (tropical cyclones, drought, etc.) influences local land use decision-making processes vis-à-vis forest land.

Current Research

I am currently a Visiting Researcher at ICCS and at Bangor University, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) through an Early Postdoc. Mobility fellowship. Building on findings from my PhD, my postdoc project explores the potential that the establishment of terrestrial protected areas has for triggering pre-emptive forest clearing behaviour in forest edge populations. I focus on protected areas established in the last two decades across the tropics, with a particular emphasis on the recent expansion of the protected areas’ system in Madagascar.

Brief CV

2020 – present | International Visiting Researcher, ICCS, UK

2020 – present | Academic Visitor, Bangor University, UK

2020 – present | Associated Senior Research Scientist, Centre for Development and Environment, Bern, Switzerland

2016 – 2020 | PhD Geography and Sustainable Development, University of Bern, Switzerland

2012 – 2015 | MA African Studies, University Copenhagen, Denmark

2007 – 2012 | BA in History (minor in Geography) UNED, Madrid, Spain


Llopis, J. C., C. L. Diebold, F. Schneider, P. C. Harimalala, O. R. Andriamihaja, P. Messerli and J. G. Zaehringer (2022). Mixed impacts of protected areas and a cash crop boom on human well-being in North-Eastern Madagascar. People and Nature. DOI:

Dröge, S., M. Poudyal, N. Hockley, R. Mandimbiniaina, A. Rasoamanana, N. S. Andrianantenaina and J. C. Llopis (2022). Constraints on rice cultivation in eastern Madagascar: Which factors matter to smallholders and which influence food security? Human Ecology. DOI: 10.1007/s10745-022-00336-2

Llopis, J.C., J.F. Chastonay, F.C. Birrer, R. Bär, R.N.N. Andriatsitohaina, P. Messerli, A. Heinimann and J.G. Zaehringer (2021). Year-to-year ecosystem services supply in conservation contexts in north-eastern Madagascar: trade-offs between global demands and local needs. Ecosystem Services, 48.

Sonderegger, G., C. Oberlack, J.C. Llopis, P. Verburg and A. Heinimann (2020). Telecoupling visualizations through a network lens: a systematic review. Ecology and Society, 25(4).

Andriatsitohaina R.N.N., E. Celio, J.C. Llopis, Z.H. Rabemananjara, Bruno Ramamonjisoa, Adrienne Grêt-Regamey (2020). Participatory Bayesian network to understand driving factors of land-use change: insights from two case studies in northeast Madagascar. Journal of Land Use Science.

Boillat, S., A. Martin, T. Adams, D. Daniel, J. Llopis, E. Zepharovich, C. Oberlack, G. Sonderegger, P. Bottazzi, E. Corbera, C. I. Speranza and U. Pascual (2020). Why telecoupling needs environmental justice. Journal of Land Use Science. 1-10.

Llopis, J.C., C.L. Diebold, F.Schneider, P.C. Harimalala, L. Patrick, P. Messerli, and J.G. Zaehringer. Capabilities under telecoupling: human well-being between cash crops and protected areas in north-eastern Madagascar. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. 3(126).

Zaehringer, J.G., L. Lundsgaard-Hansen, T.T. Thein, J.C. Llopis, N.W. Tun, W. Mynt, and F. Schneider. The cash crop boom in southern Myanmar: Tracing land use regime shifts through participatory mapping. Ecosystems and People. 16(1): 36-49.

Llopis, J.C., P.C. Harimalala, R. Bär, A. Heinimann, Z.H. Rabemananjara, and J.G. Zaehringer (2019). Effects of protected area establishment and cash crops price dynamics on land use transitions 1990–2017 in north-eastern Madagascar. Journal of Land Use Science.

Zaehringer, J.G., J.C. Llopis, P.Latthachack, T.T. Thein and A. Heinimann (2018). Mapping continuous land use changes in telecoupled landscapes in Laos, Myanmar, and Madagascar. Journal of Land Use Science.

Llopis, J.C. (2018). Down by the riverside: cyclone-driven floods and the expansion of swidden agriculture in southwestern Madagascar. In Jon Abbink (ed.), The Ecological Crunch in Africa. Growth Narratives vs. Local Environmental Realities, pp 241-268, London: Palgrave-MacMillan