Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesCentre for Environmental Policy

Research Associate







502Weeks BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





My goal is to provide research that informs action towards a healthy planet for people and nature. I have two main research interests; a) how and why conservation action goes to scale & b) linking nature, conservation and mental health.

I am part of a research group led by Dr Morena Mills (Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College) and Dr ‪Arundhati Jagadish (Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science at Conservation International). 

See here for a full list of publications: Google Scholar profile

Understanding how to design conservation measures likely to be adopted at scale

There are frequent calls to "scale up" conservation action to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change. However, little is understood about why some conservation measures are widely adopted and have scalable impacts while others are not. I lead the implementation of a Leverhulme Trust-funded grant, The race to environmental sustainability. This research programme includes projects exploring the social, ecological, political, and economic factors influencing farmers' adoption of forest restoration in the Atlantic Forest in Brazil. It also includes research using structured expert elicitation to understand how the design features of area-based and community-led conservation measures influence their uptake across Sub-Saharan Africa.   

Exploring the links between nature, conservation, and mental health

Biodiversity loss and mental illness are two global priorities. I completed my DPhil at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science at the University of Oxford. In my DPhil, I proposed a novel framework illustrating how biodiversity loss might worsen social determinants of mental illness. I applied this framework in case study research in rural Uganda, describing how forest resource use alleviates poverty, food insecurity, and subsequent depression risk. I also led the Life in Conservation project. This project examined the working conditions and mental health of conservation professionals at the forefront of efforts to reverse global biodiversity loss. Before this, I worked at the National University of Singapore, exploring links between forest loss and child health outcomes in Cambodia and elsewhere. 



Pienkowski T, Keane A, de Lange E, et al., 2023, Psychological distress and workplace risk inequalities among conservation professionals, Conservation Science and Practice, Vol:5, ISSN:2578-4854

Pienkowski T, Keane A, Castelló y Tickell S, et al., 2023, Supporting conservationists’ mental health through better working conditions, Conservation Biology, ISSN:0888-8892

Pienkowski T, Kiik L, Catalano A, et al., 2022, Recognizing reflexivity among conservation practitioners, Conservation Biology, Vol:37, ISSN:0888-8892, Pages:1-12

Pienkowski T, Keane A, de Lange E, et al., 2022, Personal traits predict conservationists' optimism about outcomes for nature, Conservation Letters, Vol:15, ISSN:1755-263X

Pienkowski T, Keane A, Castello y Tickell S, et al., 2021, Balancing making a difference with making a living in the conservation sector, Conservation Biology, Vol:36, ISSN:0888-8892

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