UCL Department of Geography


Description Photo Here

Personal tools
Log in
This is SunRain Plone Theme
UCL Home  /  Geography  /  People  /  Research Students  /  Fabien Moustard

Fabien Moustard

Fabien Moustard is a PhD Candidate at University College London (UCL). His research examines how to integrate local knowledge and concerns into regional, national and planetary-scale environmental management systems. He focuses on the role technology can play for social recognition of vulnerable people who are frequently the most ecologically literate, with a particular emphasis on the Congo Basin.




Fabien Moustard

PhD Candidate

Email address:



Research Interests:

Recognition, Destigmatisation, Inequality, Indigenous people, Cultural process, Citizen Science.



Primary Supervisor: Prof Muki Haklay (UCL Geography)

Secondary Supervisor: Prof Jerome Lewis (UCL Anthropology)


Extreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS)

UCL Department of Geography

University College London

North-West Wing, Gower Street

London WC1E 6BT



Current Research

Addressing the recognition gap between Indigenous people and ecoguards in central Africa

Indigenous people make up 5% of the global population and safeguard 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity. However, globally in the last 30 years, big international conservation organisations working with governments to impose protected areas have trained armed eco-guards (park rangers) to keep indigenous people and others away from forest they consider their traditional territories. In the name of conservation, discrimination and stigmatisation, and human rights abuses of indigenous people have been committed by eco-guards. These abuses have become the symbol of ‘fortress conservation’ covering almost 15% of the Earth's land.


My research aims to address the growing recognition gap faced by indigenous communities that has been engendered by this way of approaching conservation. In contrast with eco-guards who are collectively defined as valued member of society, indigenous people have the feeling of being forgotten by dominant society. They often describe themselves as “non-existent people” in society, as people who “do not matter”, who “do not belong” or who “are not worthy”. From these feelings emerges the fundamental need for recognition and the social struggles for becoming full partners in social life. In other words, indigenous people want to be able to interact with eco-guards as peers.


To address the recognition gap of indigenous people in the context of conservation as experienced on the ground in Central Africa, the first part of my research focuses on the cultural processes of recognition that draw equivalences between value or status of indigenous people and eco-guards. In this regard, I examine the moral and social perception of indigenous communities and eco-guards with respect to the other. The cultural processes of recognition, defined as shared classifying representations and practices, feed into the reduction of recognition gaps and foster less symbolic and social stratification between eco-guards and indigenous people.


The second part of my research examines how digital technology can build recognition and destigmatisation of indigenous people. Currently, one of the main activities of eco-guards is the use of the Smart smartphone application to collect ecological data in almost 1000 protected areas and 70 countries around the world. My research has contributed to demonstrate, in practice, that indigenous people, even when they are non-literate, can collect similar data through the Sapelli smartphone application developed by the UCL Extreme Citizen Science group. For now, only the data collected by eco-guards is used for conservation activities of conservation organisations and governments while no one really makes use of the potential for much more detailed data generated by communities using the Sapelli application. Integrating the Sapelli and Smart smartphone applications would enable the data collected by indigenous people to be recognised for its value for conservation. By being able to promote their expertise in conservation, indigenous people can extend their cultural membership to a broad range of people, including eco-guards, and narrow their recognition gaps.


My fieldwork is situated in the National Park of Lobéké in Cameroon and in the Messok-Dja area in the Republic of Congo. These two areas are supported by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) who have invited me to implement Sapelli in the field. Through the Sapelli project, indigenous people and eco-guards have worked together, which is something that had not happened for decades.




Moustard, F., F. Leduc. (2020). Nos liens au monde: Penser la Complexité [Our Relationships with the World: Thinking Complexity]. L’Harmattan. Paris. Foreword of François Taddei (CRI). Afterword of Philippe Kourilsky (Collège de France). Review and comment of Edgar Morin. 978-2-343-19858-3.



Moustard, F., J. Lewis, M. Haklay, H.M.B. Gibbs, M. Moreu, A. Vittoria, E.M.N.A.N. Attoh, S. Hoyte, R. Chiaravalloti, M. Tarrant, T. Saiefert, R. Fryer-Moreira. (forthcoming). Deep democratisation of technology can support a pluriverse of approaches for sustainability.

Haklay, M., A. König, F. Moustard, N. Aspee-Quiroga. (forthcoming). Citizen science and Post-Normal Science: Identifying synergies by mapping typologies. Futures.

Albert, A., M. Haklay, F. Moustard, S. Hecker, B.G. Tzovaras, M. Chang, A. Lindner. (forthcoming). The Transdisciplinary Potential of Citizen Science. Handbook of Transdisciplinarity: Global Perspectives. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Rochette, P., D. Baratoux, R. Braucher, J. Cornec, V. Debaille, B. Devouard, J. Gattacceca, M. Gounelle, F. Jourdan, F. Moustard, S. Nomade. (forthcoming). Linking a distal ejecta with its source crater: a probabilistic approach applied to tektites.

Moustard, F., M. Haklay, J. Lewis, A. Albert, M. Moreu, R. Chiaravalloti, S. Hoyte, A. Skarlatidou, A. Vittoria, C. Comandulli, E. Nyadzi, M. Vitos, J. Altenbuchner, M. Laws, R. Fryer-Moreira, D. Artus. (2021). Using Sapelli in the field: Methods and data for an inclusive citizen science. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

Gattacceca, J., B. Devouard, J-A. Barrat, G. Menard, P. Rochette, M-L Balestrieri, G. Bigazzi, F. Moustard, E. Dos Santos, R. Scorzelli, M. Valenzuela, M. Gounelle, V. Debaille, P. Beck, B. Reynard, M. Warner. (2021). A 650 km2 Miocene strewnfield of splash-form impact glasses in the Atacama Desert, Chile. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Volume 569

Rochette, P., P. Beck, M. Bizzarro, R. Braucher, J. Cornec, V. Debaille, B. Devouard, J. Gattacceca, F. Jourdan, F. Moustard, F. Moynier, S. Nomade, B. Reynard. (2021). Impact glasses from Belize represent tektites from the Pleistocene Pantasma impact crater in Nicaragua. Communications Earth & Environment. Volume 2 (94).

Rochette, P., R. Alac, P. Beck, G. Brocard, A. Cavosie, V. Debaille, B. Devouard, F. Jourdan, B. Mougel, F. Moustard, F. Moynier, S. Nomade, G. Osinski, J. Cornec. (2019). Pantasma: Evidence for a Pleistocene circa 14km diameter impact structure in Nicaragua. Meteoritics & Planetary Science. Volume 54. Issue 4. Pages. 880-901.

Rochette, P., J. Gattacceca, B. Devouard, F. Moustard, N.S. Bezaeva, C. Cournède, B. Scaillet. (2015). Magnetic properties of tektites and other related impact glasses. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Volume 432. Pages. 381-90.


Conference Presentations:

“Indexing the Earth from the ground” (10-2022). Geo for Good Summit. Google Bay View Event Center. San Francisco, United States.

“Addressing recognition gaps between Indigenous people and ecoguards in the Congo Basin” (07-2022). Extreme Citizen Science ERC-ECSAnVis Final Event. University College London. London, United Kingdom.

“Addressing growing recognition gaps of Indigenous people in the Congo basin” (06-2022). The Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies. University College Dublin. Dublin, Ireland.

“Grassroots data wranglers” (06-2022). Summer Data School. Cambridge Digital Humanities. University of Cambridge. Cambridge, United Kingdom.

“Can ecoguards start collaborating with Indigenous people in the conservation of ecosystems?” (05-2022).  Digital Action at Higher Education Institutions. University College London. London, United Kingdom.

“The social construction of mutual recognition” (04-2021). UCL Open Science Conference. University College London. London, United Kingdom.

“Cross-boundary work: can citizen science breathe life into science?” (08-2020). Science and Democracy Network. Harvard University. Cambridge, MA, United States.

“Innovations in citizen science for public policy” (03-2020). Center for Science and Policy. University of Cambridge. Cambridge, United Kingdom. (Partially cancelled due to Covid-19).

“The dialogue of knowledges” (09-2017). Learning in the 21st century: Citizenship, complexity and foresight. The Destrée Institute. Liege, Belgium.