Anke Fischer

Honorary Associate
T: +44 (0)1224 395299

I am a honorary associate at the James Hutton Institute and my work combines psychological and sociological perspectives in human-nature interactions with a perspective that addresses governance arrangements for natural resource management and sustainability transformations. Over the years, my research has examined mental constructs of climate change, nature and biological diversity as built and used by different social groups, particularly also the value judgements implied, and the implications for public support for related policies. Other work has also addressed the cultural and economic role of hunting in Tanzania and Ethiopia, and the institutional arrangements that foster (or hamper) sustainable resource management, with a focus on co-management and institutional change. My current research combines these different approaches by looking at the management and governance of 'ecosystem services', systems such as woodlands, and climate change from the perspectives of individuals as well as social groups.

Anke Fischer’s publications since 2007 by thematic areas

  • Social representations and discourses of nature, biodiversity, plant and animal species, hunting and wildlife management.
  • Folk social science and social representations of climate change and societal change towards sustainability.
  • Co-production and governance of ecosystem services.
  • Social-psychological views on environmental economic valuation techniques.
  • Institutional analysis of governance mechanisms in natural resource management.
  • Community ‘capacities’ for sustainability.

Ongoing and recent projects

  • Ecosystem services supply (Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services – RESAS) (2016-2021) – Improving our understanding of the impact of management interventions on flows of benefits from ecosystems
  • IPORE – Improving organic resource use in rural Ethiopia (ESRC NEXUS) (2016-2017) – My research focus: Governance of common pool resources implied in alternatives for organic resource use
  • GLAMURS – Green Lifestyles, Alternative Models and Upscaling Resional Sustainability (EU FP7) (2013-2016) – My research focus: to explore the diversity and implications of social representations of sustainability governance
  • TESS – Towards European Societal Sustainability (EU FP7) (2013-2016) – My research focus: to investigate the diversity of aspirations and rationalities in community sustainability initiatives, and to examine the tensions arising from these

PhD supervision

  • Irma Arts: Digital technologies and human-nature interactions: the users’ perspective. University of Aberdeen, 2017-.
  • Jennifer Wardle: Resolving the conflict between demands on organic wastes in rural Ethiopia –  solutions for food, energy and water security. University of Aberdeen, 2016-.
  • Isla Hodgson: Predators, tolerance and conflict: Understanding the drivers of raptor conflict in Scotland. University of Aberdeen. 2015-.
  • Marie Pagès: The role of volunteers in invasive non-native species management initiatives. University of Aberdeen, 2012-2016.
  • Audrey Verma: The role of digital technology in the development of human-nature relationships. University of Aberdeen, 2012-2016.
  • Asanterabi Lowassa: The influence of social structure and social change on illegal bushmeat hunting in western Serengeti, Tanzania. University of Dar es Salaam, 2011-2017.
  • Dereje Tadesse Wakjira: Governance, institutional change and forest use in Harenna, Ethiopia. University of Aberdeen, 2009-2013.
  • Koen Arts: Wilderness restoration and animal reintroduction: Ideas, discourses and policies. University of Aberdeen, 2008-2012.
  • Sebastian Selge: Public and scientific discourses on biological invasions: social representations of invasive non-native species in Scotland. University of Aberdeen, 2007-2011.
  • Kerry A. Waylen: The implications of local views and institutions for the outcomes of community-based conservation. Imperial College London, 2007-2010.

Past research

  • Building natural resource monitoring capacity in Ethiopia’s key Afro-montane ecosystems (Darwin Initiative/DEFRA) (2010-2013) – My research focus: to examine co-management arrangements for common-pool resource governance and their changes over time.
  • Assessment of Scotland’s Ecosystem Services (Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) – Scottish Government) (2011-2016) – My research focus: to investigate the co-production of ecosystem services related to woodlands and their governance.
  • Governance and decision-making for community empowerment in rural communities (Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) – Scottish Government) (2011-2016) – my research focus: to explore the impact of small-scale community activities on community resilience and vibrancy.
  • HUNTing for Sustainability (EU FP7) (2008-2012) – my research focus: cultural and institutional aspects of hunting in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Scotland.
  • Governance, Infrastructure, Lifestyle Dynamics and Energy Demand: European Post-Carbon Communities (EU FP7) (2008-2012) – my research focus: Social representations and folk psychologies related to climate change, energy use and resource governance.
  • ALTER-Net EU FP6 Network of Excellence (2005-2009) – Work package leader for “Public attitudes towards biodiversity and its management”.



  • Blackstock, K.L.; Glenk, K.; Martin-Ortega, J. (2016) Ecosystem services from catchments and peatlands., In: Brooker, R., Hester, A. & Pakeman, R.J. (eds.). Ecosystem Services. The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, pp22-23.
  • Fischer, A.; Byg, A.; Eastwood, A.; Irvine, R.J. (2016) Ecosystem services at a local scale., In: Brooker, R., Hester, A. & Pakeman, R. (eds.). Ecosystem Services. The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, pp20-21.
  • Eastwood, A.; Irvine, J.; Blackstock, K.; Byg, A.; Fischer, A. (2016) Approaches for more integrated and participatory decision making., In: Brooker, R., Hester, A. & Pakeman, R. (eds.). Ecosystem Services. The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, pp14-15.
  • Randall, D.; Fischer, A.; Nelson, A.; Msuha, M.; Lowassa, A.; Sandström, C. (2015) Multiple functions and institutions: Management complexity in the Serengeti ecosystem., In: Sinclair, A. R. E., Metzger, K.L., Mduma, S.A.R., & Fryxell, J.M. (eds.) Serengeti IV: Sustaining biodiversity in a coupled human-natural system. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Chapter 24, pp701-735.
  • Fischer, A. (2008) The politics of natural resource use in developing countries., In: Natural Resources and pro-Poor Growth: the Economics and Politics of Natural Resource Use in Developing Countries. DAC Guidelines and Reference Series, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Paris, France, 55-69.
  • Rueffer, C.; Fischer, A. (2007) Metric and ordinal measures of utility and their relevance for environmental policy-making Empirical evidence from a case study on agri-environmental goods and services., In: Stated Preference Methods for Environmental Valuation: Applications from Austria and Germany (eds. N. Lienhoop, J. Meyerhoff and P. Elasasser). Metropolis, Marburg. ISBN: 978-3-89518-642-4


  • Colley, K.; Hague, A.; Thompson, C.; Fischer, A.; Roberts, M.; Irvine, K.; Juarez Bourke, A.; Conniff, A.; Nicholson, H.; Eastwood, A.; Herrett, S.; Ferguson, J.; Murray, K.; Rae, G. (2023) Creating Natural Connections: Final Evaluation of Outcomes for People, Evaluation report of the people-focused activities of the Creating Natural Connections project, delivered by Cumbernauld Living Landscape.
  • Irvine, K.N.; Msika, J.; Dinnie, E.; Craig, T.; Fischer, A.; Hague, A.; Rajagopalan, D.; Roberts, M.; Wilson, R. (2020) Climate change engagement: assessing the impacts of the Climate Challenge Fund., ClimateXChange Report, 164pp.
  • Lundvall, A.; Lundberg, P.; Brittas, R.; Busk, H.; Eklund, M.; Elmhagen, B.; Fischer, A.; Newey, S.; Viksten, E. (2020) Wildlife, environment and society: Research strategy for the period 2021-2026 for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s research funding from the Wildlife Management Fund., Report for Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Besok, Stockholm, 32pp.
  • Eastwood, A.; Lorenzo-Arribas, A.; Byg, A.; Herrett, S.; Juarez-Bourke, A.; Fischer, A. (2019) Cumbernauld Glen: Exploring the perceived impacts of different management interventions on woodland benefits. , Worksop Report, The James Hutton Institute, UK, 18pp.
  • Smith, J.; Phimister, E.; Hallett, P.; Nayak, D.; Vanni, M.; Albanito, F.; Byg, A.; Novo, P.; Rivington, M.; Black, H.I.J.; Fischer, A.; Yakob, G.; Boke, S.; Habte, M.; Tefera, T.; Moges, A.; Dinato, M.; Lemma, T.; Muluneh, A. (2018) Building Resilience in Ethiopia’s Awassa region to Drought (BREAD)., Report submitted to NERC / DFIF EL Nino Programme, 85pp.
  • Ring, I.; Sandström, C.; Acar, S.; Adeishvili, M.; Albert, C.; Allard, C.; Anker, Y.; Arlettaz, R.; Bela, G.; ten Brink, B.; Coscieme, L.; Fischer, A.; Fürst, C.; Galil, B.; Hynes, S.; Kasymov, U.; Marta-Pedroso, C.; Mendes, A.; Molau, U.; Olschewski, R.; Pergl, J.; Simoncini, R.; Blackstock, K.L. (2018) Communication, capacity building and public participation., In: Rounsevell, M., Fischer, M., Torre-Marin Rando, A. & Mader, A. (eds.). IPBES (2018): The IPBES Regional Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for Europe and Central Asia. Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on
    Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Bonn, Germany, Chapter 6, Section, pp1041-1043.
  • Ring, I.; Sandström, C.; Acar, S.; Adeishvili, M.; Albert, C.; Allard, C.; Anker, Y.; Arlettaz, R.; Bela, G.; ten Brink, B.; Coscieme, L.; Fischer, A.; Fürst, C.; Galil, B.; Hynes, S.; Kasymov, U.; Marta-Pedroso, C.; Mendes, A.; Molau, U.; Olschewski, R.; Pergl, J.; Simoncini, R.; Blackstock, K.L. (2018) Environmental governance for biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people: synergies and trade-offs: Chapter 6, Section 6.4.2. Options for governance and decision making across scales and sectors

    ., In: Rounsevell, M., Fischer, M., Torre-Marin Rando, A. & Mader, A. (eds.). IPBES (2018): The IPBES Regional Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for Europe and Central Asia. Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on
    Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Bonn, Germany, Chapter 6, Section 6.4.2., pp980- 988.

  • Brooker, R.; Paterson E.; Glendell, M.; Ellis, C.; Eastwood, A.; Fraser, F.; Wilkinson, M.; Skuce, P.; Macleod, C.; Carvalho, L.; Fischer, A.; Comerford, D.; Holland, J.; Vinten, A.J.A.; McVittie, A. (2017) Report on natural assets theme science day, James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, 2 October 2017., Theme 1 Web pages, 6pp.
  • Blackstock, K.L.; Brooker, R.; Pakeman, R.J.; Ellis, C.; George, T.; Iason, G.; Gilbert, L.; Artz, R,.R.E.; Irvine, R.J.; McVittie, A.; Newey, S.; Mitchell, R.; Gimona, A.; Fischer, A.; Begg, G.; Maxwell, J. (2017) Ecosystems and Land Use Stakeholders Engagement Group (ELSEG) Workshop Report., Workshop, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, 20 November 2017.
  • Macleod, C.J.A.; Blackstock, K.L.; Brown, A.; Eastwood, A.; Fisher, A.; Gimona, A.; Prager, K.; Irvine, R.J. (2017) Adaptive management evaluation framework., RESAS1.4.3a Deliverable M2.
  • Brown, K.M.; Eastwood, A.; Fischer, A.; Herrett, S.; Irvine, R.J. (2017) D2: Report on benefits from woodland derived by communities from case study areas and the main trade-offs., Report to RESAS for WP1.4.3.
  • Brown, K.; Irvine, J.; Fischer, A ; Eastwood, A ; Herrett, S. (2016) 1.4.3c D1: Report on stakeholder engagement to help co-construct the research agenda in the Cairngorms based case study on accessible rural woodland expansion., Logged in RESAS 143 outputs folder.
  • Eastwood, A.; Donaldson-Selby, G.; Byg, A.; Fischer, A. (2015) A Future of the Forest of Falkland., Report of staff workshop, Falkland Estate, 26 March 2015. One day staff workshop.
  • Eastwood, A.; Fischer, A. (2014) People and the Forest of Falkland: understanding and realising benefits., Report to Falkland Estate and Centre for Stewardship, Falkland.
  • McKee, A.; Dinnie, E.; Fischer, A.; Irvine, R.J. (2012) Developing a new vision for deer management: from species management to an ecosystem approach., In: Hunting for Sustainability – A summary of research findings from the Scottish case study (eds. S. Redpath, A. Davies and Irvine, R.J.). April 2012.
  • Waylen, K.A.; Fischer, A.; McGowan, P.J.K.; Thirgood, S.J.; Milner-Gulland, E.J. (2010) The effect of local cultural context on community-based conservation interventions: evaluating ecological, economic, attitudinal and behavioural outcomes., Systematic Review – Collaboration for Environmental Evidence, No. 80, 36pp.
  • Sutherland, L.A.; Fischer, A.; Craig, T.; Gotts, N.M. (2009) GILDED European Policy Brief One., Deliverable from GILDED FP7 Project for European Commission.
  • Fischer, A.; Buijs, A.; Lisievici, P.; Marcelova, N.; Rink, D.; Sedlakova, J.; Tatrai, I.; Young, J. (2006) Deliberative events: approaches to assess public attitudes to biodiversity and biodiversity management., ALTER-Net Report.

Conference papers

  • Eastwood, A.; Fischer, A.; Hague. A. (2019) The role of social relationships in the adaptive management of the Scottish uplands., Presentation, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference 2019, London, UK, 27-30 August 2019.
  • Irvine, K.; Fischer, A.; Byg, A. (2015) Multiple identities in ecosystem services., European Society for Ecological Economics, Leeds, 30 June – 3 July 2015. Oral paper.
  • Dinnie, E.; Msika, J.; Pinker, A.; Holstead, K.L.; Fischer, A. (2015) Transition and tradition: how are low-carbon, community-based initiatives contributing to continuity and change in rural communities., XXVI European Society for Rural Sociology Congress, ‘Places of possibility? Rural Societies in a Neoliberal World’, Aberdeen, 18-21 August 2015.
  • Hendrickson, C.; Holstead, K.L.; Fischer, A. (2015) Transition talk: imaginations of community based initiatives in transitions toward a low-carbon society., Presentation at the Association of American Geographers, AAG Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, 21-25 April 2015.
  • Dinnie, E.; Fischer, A.; Huband, S. (2012) Property rights and public policy changes: understanding discursive claims to knowledge among Scottish land managers., Presentation at International Conference – Hunting for Sustainability: Ecology, Economics and Society, Ciudad Real, Spain, 26-28 March 2012.
  • Polhill, J.G.; Galan-Diaz, C.R.; Gotts, N.M.; Craig, T.; Marshall, K.; Sutherland, L-A.; Kriel, A.; Fischer, A. (2010) The ODDness of modelling: early experiences from a transdisciplinary modelling exercise., Third World Congress on Social Simulation (WCSS 2010), University of Kassel, Germany, 6-9 September 2010.
  • Glenk, K.; Fischer, A. (2010) Insurance, prevention or just wait and see? Public preferences for water management strategies in the context of climate change., 11th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE 2010), Advancing Sustainability in a Time of Crisis, Oldenburg and Bremen, Germany, 22-25 August 2010.
  • Fischer, A.; Craig, T.; Galan-Diaz, C.R. (2010) Climate change and energy consumption: behaviours and coping strategies, Conference of the International Association for People-Environment Studies “Vulnerability, Risk and Complexity: Impacts of Global Change on Human Habitats”, 21st, Leipzig, Germany, 27 June – 2 July 2010.
  • Ohl, C.; Stickler, T.; Lexer, W.; Risnoveanu, G.; Geamana, N.; Beckenkamp, M.; Fiorini, S.; Fischer, A.; Dumortier, M.; Casaer, J. (2008) Governing biodiversitiy: procedural and distributional fairness in complex social dilemma., Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons, 12th, Cheltenham, England, 14-18 July 2008.

Conference posters

  • Hague, A.; Fischer, A.; Juarez-Bourke, A.; Byg, A.; Herrett, S. (2020) Conversations about conservation: Local perceptions of woodland management in high-value conservation sites., Joint Meeting of the British Ecological Society, People and Nature and the Valuing Naturing programme: The Multiple Values of Nature, Bristol, 2-3 March 2020. (Poster presentation)
  • Iason, G.R.; Beaton, J.K.; Reid, S.; Ellis, C.; Finger, A.; Newey, S.; Irvine, J.; McLeod, J.; Gilbert, L.; Fielding, D.; Dagleish, D.; McInnes, C.; Artz, R.; Miller, P.; Gimona, A.; Poggio, L.; Eastwood, A.; Fisher, A.; Skuce, P. (2018) RESAS Strategic Research Programme: Biodiversity and Ecosystems., Posters presented at The Wild North East – Scotland’s Natural Gem, organised by North East Scotland Biodiversity Partnership, James Hutton Institute, 13 April 2018.
  • Polhill, J.G.; Craig, T.; Fischer, A.; Dinnie, L.; Pinker, A.; Msika, J. (2016) Sustainable lifestyle initiatives in Europe and Scotland: The GLAMURS and TESS European Projects., The James Hutton Institute Open Day, Aberdeen, 10 September 2016. (Poster)
  • Fischer, A.; Eastwood, A.; Byg, A. (2013) Cultural ecosystem services from woodlands: a case-study from Fife, Scotland, Workshop on Cultural Ecosystem Services: Inside the Black-Box of Natural Resource Management, University of Exeter, 1-2 July 2013.
  • McKee, A.; Fischer, A.; Dinnie, L. (2013) Community activity nodes Investigating the role of community activity nodes in enhancing community vibrancy and resilience, RESAS Theme 8 Knowledge Exchange Meeting, Birnam, Dunkeld, 20 November 2013. (Poster)
  • Dinnie, E.; Fischer, A.; Huband, S. (2011) Property rights and new public policy agendas: Contested claims to understanding the Scottish countryside., ACES Conference 2011 Conservation Conflicts: Strategies for coping with a changing world, Arts Centre, Aberdeen, 22-24 August 2011.
  • Blackstock, K.L.; Coull, M.C.; Dunglinson, J.; Fischer, A.; Futter, M.; Glenk, K.; Marshall, K.; Smith, H. (2009) Stakeholder engagement in river basin management planning., Knowledge Scotland KTE Event, SEPA, Stirling, 29 May 2009.
  • Fischer, A.; Marshall, K.; Selge, S. (2009) Understandings of nature: public views, conflicts and attitudes towards management., Knowledge Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Inverness, 25 March 2009.
  • Ohl, C.; Lexer, W.; Stickler, T.; Risnoveanu, G.; Geamana, N.; Beckenkamp, M.; Fischer, A.; Fiorini, S.; Dumortier, M.; Casaer, J. (2008) Governing biodiversity: procedural and distributional justice in social dilemmas., 12th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons, 14-18 July 2008. Abstract.
  • Fischer, A. (2007) Environmental values inform attitudes towards biodiversity management., Making Scotland’s Rural Environment More Sustainable, Royal Society of Edinburgh, 25 June 2007.