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Symphorien Ongolo, Ph.D

Alexander von Humboldt Postdoktorant Stipendiat

Symphorien Ongolo


Abtl. Forst-und Naturschutzpolitik und Forstgeschichte

Büsgenweg 3
37077 Göttingen

Zur Person

Symphorien Ongolo
ORCID 0000-0003-1530-4640
Cameroonian nationality
Website: (i)

Bildung und Abschlüsse

17.06.2015 PhD in Political Science (Environmental Policy) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland. Dissertation title: The politics of forestland use in global environmental governance.
8.10.2010 Master of Sciences in Environmental Sciences at the Montpellier SupAgro and AgroParisTech institutes, France; specialised in Political Economy of deforestation
4.09.2008 Bachelor in Forestry science at the Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Limoges – France; specialized in tropical forest management
05.08.2003 Graduated in Forest and water management at the National School of Forestry (ENEF) of Mbalmayo, Cameroon.

Aktuelle Position

Postdoc (Alexander von Humboldt Research fellow), Chair of Forest and Nature Conservation Policy, University of Göttingen, Germany. Tasks: Research Group leader “Forestland Policy and Sustainability”; establishment and coordination of the African Forest Policies & Politics (AFORPOLIS) initiative. A scientific network aimed at advancing cutting-edge knowledge and science-policy interactions on the dynamics of international forest policy in Africa.

Vorherige Anstellungen und Erfahrungen

Major: sabbatical year (parental leave), and minor: independent consultant with Biotope. Task: political analysis of deforestation, land planning governance and cocoa development in the Nawa region of Côte d’Ivoire.
Junior researcher at the Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zürich, Switzerland; associate researcher with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Yaoundé - Cameroon; and the Centre for Agricultural research for development (CIRAD) Montpellier - France.
2009 Internship with the Montpellier SupAgro institute. Task (study): inside Korup national park: biodiversity conservation and local development in a protected area of South-west Cameroon.
Fulltime forest officer at the Secretary General of the Ministry of forestry in Cameroon.


Since the 2011 I have been working with many scientists on several aspects of the politics of forest and land use change in global south especially in Africa. A selection of the related publications is available at google scholar here.


In the frame of my postdoctoral programme in Germany, I launched and lead a new research group on “Global Forestland Policy and Sustainability” at the Professorship of Forest and Nature Conservation Policy of the University of Göttingen that includes substantial contribution in students supervision. More recently, I have been appointed as coordinator of a new Working Party African forest politics and governance”


From 2012 to present, I have been active in teaching many aspects of international forest policy that includes forest regimes; governance and informalities; food security and forestland conversion; the politics of climate change and development, in France (Agro-Campus Rennes, AgroParisTech institute and the university of Montpellier), in Cameroon (university of Yaoundé 2, and the university of Dschang), in Germany (university of Göttingen).

Erfahrung in der Organisation wissenschaftlicher Veranstaltungen

One of our major international scientific activities has been the organisation of the IUFRO social sciences conference on “African Forest Policies and Politics” cycle. The first edition of AFORPOLIS conference held in Yaoundé, Cameroon from September 24 to 27 2018. About 150 participants from 27 countries met in Yaoundé to scrutinize the emergence and evolution of forestland policy in Africa. As regards with my contribution in international scientific publication services, I am Editorial Board Member of the international peer-review journal Forest Policy and Economics (Esevier) since 2017. I also provide referees’ comments and reviews for many international peer-review journals (Ecology & Society, Regulation & Governance, Development Studies Research, Journal of Sustainable Development, Forest Policy and Economics, International Forestry Review, Responsive Forest Governance Initiative (RFGI), Forests, Vertigo, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Land, etc.


Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich
PhD in Political science, Institute for Environmental Decisions. Dissertation: “The Politics of forestland use in global environmental governance”.Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Stefanie Engel and Dr. Alain Karsenty
Montpellier SupAgro and AgroParisTech institute
Master of Sciences - Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Limoges
Bachelor in biology & Forestry Sciences – specialization on tropical forest management
National Forestry School of Cameroon (ENEF)
Higher Technician Diploma in Forestry
>Google Scholar Zitationen<


Universität Vorlesungen und Seminare Zeitraum
AgroParisTech – France Global forest governance (in French)
Informality and forestland politics (in French)
Feb. 2017: Dec. 2017
University of Yaoundé, Cameroon Tropical forests, Development and Global Governance Jul. 2016
International Relations Institute of Cameroon (IRIC) - Cameroon Forest conservation, sovereignty and interdependency: the case of Cameroon (in French) Feb. 2016
University of Dschang, Cameroon Governing forestlands under international pressure: lessons from Cameroon Feb. 2016
Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier 3 - France On the politics of Climate change in global governance (in French) Jan. 2016
Université de Göttingen, Germany International regimes and forest governance fragmentation. Nov. 2014; Dec. 2015; Nov. 2017
Institut for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich The politics of forestland-use change May 2014
Agro-Campus institute, Rennes -France On food security and forests conversion in African context (in French). June. 2012