The SFS Center for

Conservation and Development Studies




The SFS Center for Conservation and Development Studies is a spacious compound integrated into the vibrant community of Siem Reap. Students hone their bartering skills in the city’s markets and spend time exploring the famed temples of Angkor as well as fishing villages and wildlife sanctuaries on the Tonlé Sap Lake. Our urban location in Siem Reap, as well as our partnership with local Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia, provides SFS students with a variety of opportunities to immerse themselves in Cambodian culture and engage in community projects.

Issues we focus on


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Semester Program

Conservation, Ethics, and Environmental Change

Learn about the complexity of Cambodia’s struggle to balance biodiversity conservation and development; explore a variety of regional development and conservation challenges and community-based solutions during travel across rural and urban Cambodia and Vietnam. Learn More
Fall 2018


August 27 - December 5

Spring 2019


January 28 - May 8

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Summer Session II

Ecology and Conservation of Asian Elephants

This 4 week program will focus on the ecology and conservation of the Asian elephant. Students will learn about elephant welfare, management and their history in Asia, with a particular focus on Cambodia. Learn More
Summer 2018

In The Field

July 9 - August 8

Summer 2019


July 8 - August 7

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Who We Are

The Center is led by Dr. Georgina Lloyd. Dr. Lloyd, originally from Australia, completed her Ph.D. at the University of Sydney in 2009 and has been living and working in Siem Reap since 2007. Her research focuses on international environmental and heritage law, sustainable tourism and governance. The Center’s faculty includes Lisa Arensen, Ph.D. (Ecosystems and Livelihoods) and Megan English, Ph.D. (Conservation Science).

Featured Staff

Lisa Arensen, Ph.D.

Resident Lecturer, Ecosystems and Livelihoods

Students were able to learn about the characteristic flora and fauna of these vulnerable ecosystems while immersed in them.

Once known as the Serengeti of Asia, these plains traditionally supported a large quantity of grassland animals—predators such as tigers, leopards and dholes; ungulates such as gaur, banteng, Eld’s deer and sambar; scavengers such as critically endangered vultures and jackals; and the critical but often overlooked decomposers, the termite family. In addition, some of Cambodia’s rarest avifauna nest in this landscape…

Learn More
Lisa Arensen

Our Research

Currently Cambodia faces major environmental challenges which include unsustainable patterns of natural resource use, biodiversity loss, climate change, and the growing pains associated with increased community participation in conservation and development.

The natural and human landscapes of Cambodia are changing rapidly. With such rapid change, few studies are available that reflect present day realities. Contemporary research is needed to achieve and maintain environmental sustainability. The SFS Center for Conservation and Development Studies in the Lower Mekong is uniquely placed to provide formative baseline research to support partners in Cambodia.

Research at the Center explores environmental governance and natural resource management, biodiversity conservation and ecology, the human-environment nexus, and sustainable tourism development. Working with government partners, community members, indigenous groups, international conservation organizations, and other key stakeholders, our faculty and students seek to analyze strategies—particularly community-based participatory approaches—for sustainable development and conservation.

Key Research Examples
  • Transmission of traditional ecological knowledge
  • Changing livelihood strategies of farmers and fishers around Siem Reap
  • Role of monks and Buddhism in environmental ethics, education, and conservation
  • Approaches to natural resource management in protected forests
  • Impact of fishery reform on fishery resources and conservation management on the Tonlé Sap Lake
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How uniquely valuable this intimate opportunity is—

—to work with and learn from passionate ecologists, biologists, and sociologists from drastically different backgrounds. For all our diversity, these differences make us strong. We’re able to spend tuk tuk rides and bus trips intoxicated by spirited debates about ethics and orientalism, compassionate ecology and ubiquitous spirituality. I’ve never felt anything like this before.

Taylor Walker
Hollins University, Cambodia Spring '16
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Community Collaboration

Locally known as the Center for Environmental Research in Conservation and Development Studies, the SFS Cambodia Center collaborates with a wide variety of local and international conservation and development organizations, including government agencies, NGOs, and local Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia (PUC). Center faculty and students offer research outputs and recommendations on a range of environmental issues in the community, many of which lack baseline studies.

Our urban location in Siem Reap also offers students the opportunity to participate in community clean-up days, take traditional dance classes, and attend festivals and performances. Homestays and frequent visits to bustling markets give students a chance to practice their Khmer language skills and get a taste of Cambodian cuisine.

Local Community Partners

  • Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia (PUC)
  • Ministry of Environment
  • Archaeology and Development Foundation (ADF)
  • Fauna in Focus
  • Sam Veasna Center for Wildlife Conservation
  • Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB)
  • Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

Contributing to the Community

  • Enhanced field research skills and approaches for collaborative project development
  • Cross-cultural awareness and dialogue on conservation and development issues
  • Scientific data and recommendations that may contribute to management and conservation policies

Life at the Center


The SFS Center for Conservation and Development Studies is a private compound situated on a small side street close to the vibrant city of Siem Reap. The Center resembles a boutique hotel with distinct Cambodian flair, and provides the ideal base camp for excursions and activities throughout the region, including the World Heritage Site of Angkor, the diverse riverine and terrestrial ecosystems of the Lower Mekong Basin, and the fishing villages and wildlife reserves of the Tonlé Sap Lake.

Field Station

  • Two-story dormitory building
  • Shared bedrooms and bathrooms
  • In-ground swimming pool
  • Gardens throughout the facilities
  • Yard for sports, fitness, or relaxing
  • Ten minutes from downtown area by tuk tuk


Field Station

  • Open-air dining area
  • Spacious lounge area with loft