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Kirsty Holstead

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Recent publications

Staff picture: Kirsty Holstead
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
+44 (0)1224 395311

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK

I have a background in social sciences, research and NGO experience, including an MA(Hons) in International Relations and Management from The University of St Andrews and an MSc in Environmental Protection and Management from The University of Edinburgh. Prior to joining the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group in February 2012, I worked in the area of international development in El Slavador and on an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project in the Ministry of Housing, Land Use Planning and Environment in Uruguay.  

My research interests focus around natural resource governance, and doing research that can inform and help improve policy and practice to manage natural resources. My research is policy orientated, for example I presented my work in 2011 at the Natural Flood Management – POSTnote Launch, and my work on the The Value of Scotland’s Water Resources was used to inform the parliament discussion of the Scotland Water Resource Bill in 2013. 

I also write for the SEGS blog on topics including natural flood management.



Current research interests 

My work expands a number of themes, many of which are interdisciplinary including:

  • Water and flood management including natural flood management
  • Transition to a low carbon society, including the role of grassroots initiatives
  • Community renewable energy production 
  • Land management and agriculture
  • Natural resource governance

In all these areas I use qualitative and mixed methods, with a particular interest in participatory methods. I am a trained and experienced facilitator. 

Ongoing projects

Past Projects

  • EU FP7 FarmPath
  • Scottish Government RESAS Theme 1 Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity: Ecosystem Approach Review and WP1.2. Assessment of monetary and non-monetary values of ecosystem services and transferability.
  • In 2013/2014 I was a facilitator for the Ecosystem Approach Working Group (EAWG), as part of the Scottish Government’s research on ecosystem services. The main role of the EAWG is to facilitate research partnerships, knowledge exchange and collaboration between researchers, government agencies, NGOs and policy makers working in the area of natural resource management and ecosystem services.
  • Scottish Government RESAS Theme 3 - 3.6 Understanding land managers’ attitudes and behaviour towards the management of environmental assets and responding to climate change


Please get in touch with me if you would like me to send you any of the below


  • How does legacy create sticking points for environmental management? Insights from challenges to implementation of the 'Ecosystem Approach.' Waylen, K.A., Blackstock, K.L and Holstead, K.L. (2015). Ecology and Society, 20(2):21
  • Natural flood management from the farmer's perspective: criteria that affect uptake. Holstead, K.L., Kenyon, W., Roulliand, J.J and Galan-Diaz, C. (2014). Journal of Flood Risk Management. DOI: 10.1111/jfr3.12129
  • The Value of Scotland Water Resources. CREW report to inform the Parliament discussion on the Scotland Water Resources Bill (27th February 2013). Martin-Ortega, J., Holstead, K.L., Kenyon, W (this note resulted in the amendment of the Act in its final parliamentary stage through which it was established in statute that ‘the reference to the value of water resources:(a) means the value of the resources on any basis (including their monetary or nonmonetary worth), (b) extends to the economic, social, environmental or other benefit deriving from the use of the resources’, i.e. to the full range of ecosystem services

Academic publications

Selection of recent knowledge transfer publications 

  • Email:
  • Phone: +44 (0)844 928 5428
  • Craigiebuckler Aberdeen AB15 8QH Scotland
  • Invergowrie Dundee DD2 5DA Scotland
A Scottish charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered in Scotland No SC374831.
Registered office: The James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie Dundee DD2 5DA. Charity No SCO41796

Printed from /staff/kirsty-holstead on 01/07/16 01:50:02 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.