Start receiving our award-winning magazine today!


Our Scientists

Supin Wongbusarakum

Supin Wongbusarakum

Senior Social Scientist

Supin Wongbusarakum joined The Nature Conservancy in 2010 as the first Senior Social Scientist in Central Science, Worldwide Office. She brings social scientific methodologies and tools to the organization to help improve conservation planning and assessing how conservation impacts people. Supin works with global priority programs to systematically identify their human wellbeing objectives and develop practical ways of monitoring their social impacts. She also develops guidelines and trains staff and partners in the areas of socioeconomic monitoring, community-based climate vulnerability assessment, and social resilience. Currently she is working with the TNC forest and carbon programs and REDD practitioners to address the social dimensions of REDD+ programs; with the Micronesia programs and Micronesia Challenge partners to build their regional socioeconomic monitoring efforts and apply social scientific data in resource management and conservation decision making; and with TNC Central Science and Ethics and Compliance colleagues to develop standard operating procedures for conducting research with human subjects

Prior to joining TNC, she was the Associate Director of the Hazards, Climate and Environment Program at the University of Hawai‘i’s Social Science Research Institute and Project Leader of the East-West Center’s Pacific Islands Regional Integrated Science and Assessment Program. She has lived and worked on several continents on projects related to the conservation of natural environments and local cultures, socioeconomic monitoring and training, equitable community development, coastal hazard mitigation, and climate adaptation. Supin holds a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Hawai‘i, where she used a political ecology approach in her dissertation research how multiple stakeholder groups participate in and are affected by coastal and marine resource use and management, including the last-remaining indigenous sea nomadic peoples of the Indian Ocean.

Supin is based in Honolulu and is married to Peter D. Hershock. In her spare time, she homeschools her son, Ka’eo, in Thai. She is a dedicated Iyengar yoga practitioner and is a passionate ceramicist who teaches at the Hawai’i Potters Guild.

Download Supin's CV (PDF)

 Areas of Expertise
  • Socioeconomic monitoring
  • Human wellbeing in conservation
  • Equitable community development
  • Coastal hazard mitigation
  • Community-based climate adaptation



Interview in the Journal of Social Research (in Thai)



Gombos, M., S. Atkinson, and, S. Wongbusarakum 2013. Adapting To a Changing Climate: Guide To Vulnerability Assessment And Local Early Action Planning (VA-LEAP). Micronesia Conservation Trust: Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.


Gambos, M. S. Atkinson, S. Wongbusarakum. 2011. Adapting to Climate Change : Tools to Support Community-Based Climate Adaptation in Micronesia. Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT).

Wongbusarakum, S. and C. Loper. 2011. Indicators to Assess Community-Level Climate Change Vulnerability: An Addendum to SocMon and SEM-Pasifika Regional Socioeconomic Monitoring Guidelines. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); and Apia, Samoa: Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).


Wongbusarakum, S. 2009. Loss of Traditional Practices, Loss of Knowledge, and the Sustainability of Cultural and Natural Resources. Learning and Knowing in Indigenous Societies Today. Bates, M. Chiba, S. Kube & D. Nakashima (Eds.). Paris, France: UNESCO.


Douglas P., C. E. Gregg, B. F. Houghton, R. Lachman, J. Lachman, D. M. Johnston and S. Wongbusarakum. 2008. The Impact of the 2004 Tsunami on Coastal Thai Communities: Assessing Adaptive Capacity. Disasters 32(1):106-119.

Wongbusarakum, S. and R. Pomeroy. 2008. SEM-Pasifika, Socioeconomic Monitoring Guidelines for Coastal Managers of Pacific Island Countries. Silver Spring, MD: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); and Apia, Samoa: Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).


Arunotai, N., S. Wongbusarakum and D. Elias. 2007. Bridging the Gaps between the Rights and Needs of Indigenous Communities and the Management of Marine Protected Areas: Case Studies from Thailand. Bangkok: UNESCO.

Wongbusarakum, S. 2007. Urak Lawoi of the Adang Archipelago, a joint publication of UNDP, UNESCO, and Chulalongkorn University Social Research Institute. Themma Group: Bangkok.


C. E. Gregg, B. F. Houghton, D. Paton, R. Lachman, J. Lachman, D. M. Johnston, and S. Wongbusarakum. 2006. Natural Warning Signs of Tsunamis: Human Sensory Experience and Response to the 2004 Great Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami in Thailand. Earthquake Spectra 22(S3): S671-S691.

Wongbusarakum. S., Rungtawanruangsri, S., Kittitornkul, Y. Boothapetcharat, T. Rungmanee, S. 2006. Local Knowledge Integrated Curriculum and Teaching Manual: Urak Lawoi in Adang-Rawi Archipelago. Bangkok: UNDP. (Thai)

Arunotai, N. and S. Wongbusarakum. 2006. Moken and Urak Lawoi Communities and Protected Areas: Linkages between Socio-economic Data and Planning of Project Areas, Case studies: Moken Community of Surin National Park and Urak Lawoi of Tarutao National Park, a joint publication by NOAA, UNESCO, and Chulalongkorn University Social Research Institute. Bangkok, Thailand: Parbpim. (Thai)

Supin Wongbusarakum

Senior Social Scientist

We’re Accountable

The Nature Conservancy makes careful use of your support.

More Ratings

x animal

Sign up for Nature eNews!

Sign Up for Nature e-News

Get our e-newsletter filled with eco-tips and info on the places you care about most.

Thank you for joining our online community!

We’ll be in touch soon with more Nature Conservancy news, updates and exciting stories.

Please leave this field empty

We respect your privacy. The Nature Conservancy will not sell, rent or exchange your e-mail address. Read our full privacy policy for more information. By submitting this form, you agree to the terms of use.