Bio, publications and lectures

A former director of the Jane Goodall Institute, Bernice Maxton-Lee lectures on climate change and deforestation at the Technical University in Vienna and is a Research Associate at ETH University in Zurich.

Her latest book, co-written with best-selling author Graeme Maxton, is A Chicken can’t lay a Duck Egg: How Covid-19 can solve the climate crisis.

The book explains how Covid-19 can be a spring-board for the rapid changes needed to solve the climate emergency. The authors show that to slow the pace of climate change, the fossil fuel industry, aviation sector and auto business need to be dismantled. Until recently that was thought impossible but Covid-19 proves that it is possible to shut businesses overnight, cut greenhouse gas emissions and pay people during a transition. Because Covid-19 has done half the job for us, a sustainable future is finally within our grasp. This new book shows how societies can embrace this unique chance for change and build a future where people can live in balance with nature.

In 2020 Maxton-Lee also published Forest Conservation and Sustainability in Indonesia: A Political Economy Study of International Governance Failure, with Routledge. Based on her PhD thesis, the book shows why large-scale international forest conservation has failed to reduce deforestation in Indonesia and why key stakeholders have not responded as expected to these conservation interventions. Taking a down-to-earth approach, Maxton-Lee explains why people ‘don’t do as they should‘ as expected by development and conservation planners, but instead behave in messy, emotional, complex ways which are entirely logical when viewed from a human perspective.

In 2009 she published a Master Thesis on creating a system to monitor bee losses.

She is currently a Research Associate at ETH University in Zurich, Switzerland.

See Bernice’s CV.

Find Bernice on ResearchGate

A Chicken Can’t Lay a Duck Egg
How Covid-19 Can Solve The Climate Crisis

Forest Conservation and Sustainability in Indonesia
A Political Economy Study of International Governance Failure


RSPO: outsourcing environmental regulation to oil palm businesses and industry
World Rainforest Movement; Maxton-Lee, Bernice; 2020

Forests, carbon markets, and capitalism. How deforestation in Indonesia became a geo-political hornet’s nest
REDD-Monitor; Maxton-Lee, Bernice; 2020

Depoliticised Ecology: Streamlined participation in hegemonic neoliberalism
Democratization; Maxton-Lee, Bernice; 2020

Narratives of sustainability: a lesson from Indonesia
Soundings; Maxton-Lee, Bernice; 2018

Material Realities: Why Indonesian Deforestation Persists and Conservation Fails
Journal of Contemporary Asia; Maxton-Lee, Bernice; 2018

The Oil Palm Complex: Smallholders, Agribusiness and the State in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Journal of Contemporary Asia; Book Review, Rob Cramb and John F. McCarthy (eds) (Singapore: NUS Press, 2016).

Perspectives Internationales.
An ecosystem approach to understanding deforestation in Indonesia: From Frank and Grainger to Polanyi and Luxemburg.

Effects of pesticides on honey bees.
Pesticides have potential, mostly neurotoxic, consequences on the behavioural patterns of honey bees.  Background for an email to European Commissioners Potocnik, Borg and Ciolos, on the restriction of neonicotinoid-based pesticides.

Climate Change & Sustainability Masters course at Technical University of Vienna.
Four-day, accredited Master’s course on climate science, mitigation and control, industry analysis, & global climate policy, on the ETIA programme at the TU Wien.

Guest lecture at Technical University of Vienna.
Bernice Maxton-Lee runs an annual three-day course on the political economy of deforestation in Indonesia, at the TU Wien.

Guest lecture at City University of Hong Kong.
Cutting-edge Cases of Institution Building and Development; 2017.

Guest lecture at City University of Hong Kong.
Themes of Development: Environment; 2016

Historical bloc, common sense and the illusion of consensual transformation.
Workshop: Transition Impossible? Ambiguous Transformations and the Resilience of Unsustainability; 19 – 21 September 2018; Institute for Social Change and Sustainability (IGN), Vienna University for Economics and Business

Participation as negation, engagement as disengagement. How environmentalism de-democratises genuine participation.
Workshop: Activation – Self-Management – Overload – Political Participation beyond the Post-democratic Turn; 27 – 29 September 2017; Institute for Social Change and Sustainability (IGN), Vienna University for Economics and Business

Throwing more wood on the fire: PES, MSI and enclosures; a critical analysis of conservation market leaders in Indonesia; De l’huile sur le feu: PES, MSI et clotures; une analyse critique des leaders du marché de la conservation en Indonésie
Maxton-Lee, B; Congrès Asie 2017; 26-28 June 2017; Sciences Po, Paris

The Deforestation Crisis in Indonesia: A Public-private Product.
Private-public interactions in shaping policy outcomes in East Asia, International Studies Association Conference Asia Pacific Hong Kong 2016.
Panel discussion with Juliette Schwak, Yee Man Yvette To, Miriam Laura Sanchez Cesar, Toby Carroll and Darryl S. L. Jarvis.

Co-moderator, Expert Forum on the State and Fate of the World’s Rainforests.
Discussion with Claude Martin, Olivia Rickenbach and Martin Bauert on the state of the world’s rainforests; hosted by Swiss Re.

The challenges of monitoring honey bee (Apis mellifera) losses.
Deaths of honey bees, an indicator of ecosystem stability, seem to be rising.  The reasons are complex.