Dirk Steenbergen

Dirk Steenbergen
Dirk Steenbergen's picture
Post-doctoral Fellow (NAMRA)
Primary research group: 
Natural Resources-Based Livelihoods
Doctor of Philosophy in Community Development, Resource Governance, & Conservation, at Murdoch University, Perth, Australia. MSc in Nature Conservation Policy and Management & BSc in Forest & Nature Conservation at the Wageningen University (WU), The Netherlands.


Dirk Steenbergen is a post-doctoral fellow under the Northern Australian Marine Research Alliance (NAMRA), and works at RIEL on issues of small scale fisheries management and (coastal) community development in the Arafura Timor Sea Region. He completed his PhD on Community Development, Resource Governance and Conservation in 2013 and continues this line of research in his post-doctoral fellowship.

Dirk’s interest in human-environment interactions derives from his BSc and MSc training in Nature Conservation Policy and Management at Wageningen University. During this period he was involved in various community conservation initiatives: first working on human wildlife conflict management among indigenous San communities in sub-Saharan Africa and later working on community participation in marine protection area (MPA) management among the semi-nomadic Bajo communities of Wakatobi National Park in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. Dirk has since worked extensively in the Southeast Asia region: (i) between 2007-2008 as a socio economic specialist in a biodiversity corridor development initiative in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS); and after that, (ii) between 2009-2013, as a PhD researcher looking at co-management and governance arrangements around Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs) in remote eastern Indonesia. This research involved long-term ethnographic engagements with fishing communities. Additionally he has carried out consultancies in his various collaborations with conservation NGOs over the years, mainly facilitating outreach activities, community engagement and participatory data collection and monitoring with resources user groups.

Dirk’s current work continues in the coastal and marine resource context and expands his existing eastern Indonesia focus to incorporate coastal community cases from Timor Leste. The post-doctoral research project brings together various stakeholders including practice-oriented natural resource managers, local communities, technical conservation and fisheries agencies, and government institutions. The research thus has strong intention of contributing to current practices towards sustainable costal resource management.


Areas of Research Interest

  • Sustainable governance of coastal resources and small-scale fisheries (co-) management
  • Anthropology, community development and local livelihoods
  • Fostering partnerships and facilitating across interfaces between actor groups
  • Human-Environment relationships in (indigenous) resource-dependant cultures
  • Interplay between ‘agency of people’ and ‘institutional structure’ in collective action and resource management regimes
  • Mediating paradoxical interests of development and biodiversity conservation, both locally and within multi-scalar frameworks
  • Sustainable tourism initiatives and public-private partnership arrangements with local civil society in contexts of conservation and development

Countries of work experience

  • Namibia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos PDR, Cambodia, Indonesia, Timor Leste & Australia

People I work with

Assoc Prof Natasha Stacey's picture
Assoc Prof Natasha Stacey
Natural resources-based livelihoods, Associate Professor
Dr. Abu Nasar Abdullah's picture
Dr. Abu Nasar Abdullah
Frances Every's picture
Frances Every
Alumni - PhD Student
Julian Gorman's picture
Julian Gorman
Research Fellow
Indrawati Y. Asmara's picture
Indrawati Y. Asmara
Luke Preece's picture
Luke Preece
Nick Hogarth's picture
Nick Hogarth
Nick Smith's picture
Nick Smith
Ria Fitriana's picture
Ria Fitriana
Dr Sarah Hobgen's picture
Dr Sarah Hobgen
Research Associate
Prof. Owen Stanley's picture
Prof. Owen Stanley
Kamal Melvani's picture
Kamal Melvani
PhD Student
Ronju Ahammad's picture
Ronju Ahammad
Casual Researcher
Pia Harkness's picture
Pia Harkness
PhD Student
Frederika Rambu Ngana's picture
Frederika Rambu Ngana
PhD student
Hannah Ling's picture
Hannah Ling
PhD Student
Dr Lisa Petheram's picture
Dr Lisa Petheram
Sam Pickering's picture
Sam Pickering
Research Associate
Kim Hunnam's picture
Kim Hunnam
PhD Student
Gianna Bonis-Profumo's picture
Gianna Bonis-Profumo
PhD Candidate
Emily Gibson's picture
Emily Gibson
PhD Student

My blog posts

Dirk Steenbergen's picture

Made possible by the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC) at the University of Sydney, Dirk participated in a two-day professional development init

Dirk Steenbergen's picture

Still energized by the inspiring discussions and fruitful debates, we take this chance to look back at what were 2½ days of highly engaged dialogue

My Places