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Esther Carmen

Staff picture: Esther Carmen
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Researcher in Environmental Governance
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

I am an interdisciplinary qualitative environmental social scientists interested in the role of different actors in shaping system change in the context of complex environmental challenges, and how social, political and cultural factors intersect within collective change processes to shape what emerges.

I joined the Social, Economic and Geography Group at the Hutton in 2022 as an environmental governance researcher.

My research increasingly draws on systems thinking, often involves a transdisciplinary research approach, and is strongly orientated towards practice -  informed by 10 years working as a freshwater environmental practitioner in the UK and in Cambodia working with natural resource dependent communities.

Over the last 10 years my research has often focused on the role of state actors, from across levels of governance, and community-based actors. Commercial actors from across economic sectors are also critical for helping to shape systemic change and my role at the Hutton explicitly focuses on examining how to better engage with and enable this important and diverse group of actors to support the shift to more sustainable collective futures.

Current research

My current research focuses on anchoring nature-based solutions and natural capital approaches to support how socio-environmental connections are perceived and strengthened in practice by commercial actors within different economic sectors.

Past research

Before joining the Social, Economic and Geography Group my research encompassed different socio-environment problem domains, such as biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, climate change, social resilience and food system transformation.

I completed my PhD in environment and human geography at the University of York 2021. This entailed three distinct studies to examine the nature and role of social relationships within complex community change initiatives in the context of complex challenges such as climate change.


  • Doherty, B.; Bryant, M.; Denby, K.; Fazey, I.; Bridle, S.; Hawkes, C.; Cain, M.; Banwart, S.; Collins, L.; Pickett, K.; Allen, M.; Ball, P.; Gardner, G; Carmen, E.; Sinclair, M.; Kluczkovski, A.; Ehgartner, U.; Morris, B.; James, A.; Yap, C.; Om, E.S.; Connolly, A. (2022) Transformations to regenerative food systems-An outline of the FixOurFood project, Nutrition Bulletin, 47, 106-114
  • Carmen, E.; Fazey, I.; Ross, H.; Bedinger, M.; Smith, F.M.; Prager, K.; McClymont, K.; Morrison, D. (2022) Building community resilience in a context of climate change: The role of social capital, Ambio, 51, 1371-1387
  • Carmen, E.; Fazey, I.; Caniglia, G.; Anthony, J.; Penny, L. (2022) The social dynamics in establishing complex community climate change initiatives: the case of a community fridge in Scotland, Sustainability Science, 17, 259-273
  • Gatti, R.C.; Menéndez, L.P.; Laciny, A.; Rodríguez, H.B.; Morante, G.B.; Carmen, E.; Dorninger, C.; Fabris, F.; Grunstra, N.D.S.; Schnorr, S.L. (2021) Diversity lost: COVID-19 as a phenomenon of the total environment, Science of The Total Environment, 756, Art. 144014
  • Fazey, I.; Carmen, E.; Ross, H.; Rao-Williams, J.; Hodgson, A.; Searle, B.A.; AlWaer, H.; Kenter, J.O.; Knox, K.; Butler, J.R.A.; Murray, K.; Smith, F.M.; Stringer, L.C.; Thankappan, S. (2021) Social dynamics of community resilience building in the face of climate change: the case of three Scottish communities, Sustainability Science, 16(5), 1731-1747
  • McClymont, K.; Morrison, D.; Beevers, L.; Carmen, E. (2020) Flood resilience: a systematic review, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 63(7), 1151-1176
  • Fazey, I.; Schäpke, N.; Caniglia, G.; Hodgson, A.; Kendrick, I.; Lyon, C.; Page, G.; Patterson, J.; Riedy, C.; Strasser, T.; Verveen, S.; Adams, D.; Goldstein, B.; Klaes, M.; Leicester, G.; Linyard, A.; McCurdy, A.; Ryan, P.; Sharpe, B.; Silvestri, G.; Abdurrahim, A.Y.; Abson, D.; Adetunji, O.S.; Aldunce, P.; Alvarez-Pereira, C.; Amparo, J.M.; Amundsen, H.; Anderson, L.; Andersson, L.; Asquith, M.; Augenstein, K.; Barrie, J.; Bent, D.; Bentz, J.; Bergsten, A.; Berzonsky, C.; Bina, O.; Blackstock, K.; Boehnert, J.; Bradbury, H.; Brand, C.; Böhme, J.; Bøjer, M.M.; Carmen, E.; Charli-Joseph, L.; Choudhury, S.; Chunhachoti-ananta, S.; Cockburn, J.; Colvin, J.; Connon, I.L.C.; Cornforth, R.; Cox, R.S.; Cradock-Henry, N.; Cramer, L.; Cremaschi, A.; Dannevig, H.; Day, C.T.; de Lima Hutchison, C.; de Vrieze, A.; Desai, V.; Dolley, J.; Duckett, D.; Durrant, R.A.; Egermann, M.; Elsner, E.; Fremantle, C.; Fullwood-Thomas, J.; Galafassi, D.; Gobby, J.; Golland, A.; González-Padrón, S.K.; Gram-Hanssen, I.; Grandin, J.; Grenni, S.; Gunnell, J.L.; Gusmao, F.; Hamann, M.; Harding, B.; Harper, G.; Hesselgren, M.; Hestad, D.; Heykoop, C.A.; Holmén, J.; Holstead, K.; Hoolohan, C.; Horcea-Milcu, A.-I.; Horlings, L.G.; Howden, S.M.; Howell, R.A.; Huque, S.I.; Inturias Canedo, M.L.; Iro, C.Y.; Ives, C.D.; John, B.; Joshi, R.; Juarez-Bourke, S.; Juma, D.W.; Karlsen, B.C.; Kliem, L.; Kläy, A.; Kuenkel, P.; Kunze, I.; Lam, D.P.M.; Lang, D.J.; Larkin, A.; Light, A.; Luederitz, C.; Luthe, T.; Maguire, C.; Mahecha-Groot, A.-M.; Malcolm, J.; Marshall, F.; Maru, Y.; McLachlan, C.; Mmbando, P.; Mohapatra, S.; Moore, M.-L.; Moriggi, A.; Morley-Fletcher, M.; Moser, S.; Mueller, K.M.; Mukute, M.; Mühlemeier, S.; Naess, L.O.; Nieto-Romero, M.; Novo, P.; O’Brien, K.; O'Connell, D.A.; O'Donnell, K.; Olsson, P.; Pearson, K.R.; Pereira, L.; Petridis, P.; Peukert, D.; Phear, N.; Pisters, S.R.; Polsky, M.; Pound, D.; Preiser, R.; Rahman, M.S.; Reed, M.S.; Revell, P.; Rodriguez, I.; Rogers, B.C.; Rohr, J.; Nordbø Rosenberg, M.; Ross, H.; Russell, S.; Ryan, M.; Saha, P.; Schleicher, K.; Schneider, F.; Scoville-Simonds, M.; Searle, B.; Sebhatu, S.P.; Sesana, E.; Silverman, H.; Singh, C.; Sterling, E.; Stewart, S.-J.; Tàbara, J.D.; Taylor, D.; Thornton, P.; Tribaldos, T.M.; Tschakert, P.; Uribe-Calvo, N.; Waddell, S.; Waddock, S.; van der Merwe, L.; van Mierlo, B.; van Zwanenberg, P.; Velarde, S.J.; Washbourne, C.-L.; Waylen, K.; Weiser, A.; Wight, I.; Williams, S.; Woods, M.; Wolstenholme, R.; Wright, N.; Wunder, S.; Wyllie, A.; Young, H.R. (2020) Transforming knowledge systems for life on Earth: Visions of future systems and how to get there, Energy Research & Social Science, 70, Art. 101724
  • Howard, B.; Braat, L.C.; Bugter, R.J.F.; Carmen, E.; Hails, R.S.; Watt, A.D.; Young, J.C. (2018) Taking stock of the spectrum of arguments for biodiversity, Biodiversity and Conservation, 27, 1561-1574
  • Fazey, I.; Schäpke, N.; Caniglia, G.; Patterson, J.; Hultman, J.; van Mierlo, B.; Säwe, F.; Wiek, A.; Wittmayer, J.; Aldunce, P.; Al Waer, H.; Battacharya, N.; Bradbury, H.; Carmen, E.; Colvin J.; Cvitanovic, C.; D’Souza, M.; Gopel, M.; Goldstein, B.; Hämäläinen, T.; Harper, G.; Henfry, T.; Hodgson, A.; Howden, M.S.; Kerr, A.; Klaes, M.; Lyon, C.; Midgley, G.; Moser, S.; Mukherjee, N.; Müller, K.; O’Brien, K.; O’Connell, D.A.; Olsson, P.; Page, G.; Reed, M.S.; Searle, B.; Silvestri, G.; Spaiser, V.; Strasser, T.; Tschakert, P.; Uribe-Calvo, N.; Waddell, S.; Rao-Williams, J.; Wise, R.; Wolstenholme, R.; Woods, M.; Wyborn, C. (2018) Ten essentials for action-oriented and second order energy transitions, transformations and climate change research, Energy Research & Social Science, 40, 54-70
  • Fazey, I.; Carmen, E.; Chapin, F.S.; Ross, H.; Rao-Williams, J.; Lyon, C.; Connon, I.L.C.; Searle, B.A.; Knox, K. (2018) Community resilience for a 1.5°C world, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 31, 30-40
  • Dick, J.; Turkelboom, F.; Woods, H.; Iniesta-Arandia, I.; Primmer, E.; Saarela, S.-R.; Bezák, P.; Mederly, P.; Leone, M.; Verheyden, W.; Kelemen, E.; Hauck, J.; Andrews, C.; Antunes, P.; Aszalós, R.; Baró, F.; Barton, D.N.; Berry, P.; Bugter, R.; Carvalho, L.; Czúcz, B.; Dunford, R.; Garcia Blanco, G.; Geamana, N.; Giuca, R.; Grizzetti, B.; Izakovicová, Z.; Kertész, M.; Kopperoinen, L.; Langemeyer, J.; Montenegro Lapola, D.; Liquete, C.; Luque, S.; Martínez Pastur, G.; Martin-Lopez, B.; Mukhopadhyay, R.; Niemela, J.; Odee, D.; Peri, P.L.; Pinho, P.; Patrício-Roberto, G.B.; Preda, E.; Priess, J.; Röckmann, C.; Santos, R.; Silaghi, D.; Smith, R.; Vadineanu, A.; van der Wal, J.T.; Arany, I.; Badea, O.; Bela, G.; Boros, E.; Bucur, M.; Blumentrath, S.; Calvache, M.; Carmen, E.; Clemente, P.; Fernandes, J.; Ferraz, D.; Fongar, C.; García-Llorente, M.; Gómez-Baggethun, E.; Gundersen, V.; Haavardsholm, O.; Kalóczkai, Á.; Khalalwe, T.; Kiss, G.; Köhler, B.; Lazányi, O.; Lellei-Kovács, E.; Lichungu, R.; Lindhjem, H.; Magare, C.; Mustajoki, J.; Ndege, C.; Nowell, M.; Nuss Girona, S.; Ochieng, J.; Often, A.; Palomo, I.; Pataki, G.; Reinvang, R.; Rusch, G.; Saarikoski, H.; Smith, A.; Soy Massoni, E.S.; Stange, E.; Traaholt, N.V.; Vári, Á.; Verweij, P.; Vikström, S.; Yli-Pelkonen, V.; Zulian, G. (2018) Stakeholders’ perspectives on the operationalisation of the ecosystem service concept: Results from 27 case studies, Ecosystem Services, 29, 552-565
  • Carmen, E.; Watt, A.; Young, J. (2018) Arguing for biodiversity in practice: a case study from the UK, Biodiversity and Conservation, 27(7), 1599-1617
  • Carmen, E.; Watt, A.; Carvalho, L.; Dick, J.; Fazey, I.; Garcia-Blanco, G.; Grizzetti, B.; Hauck, J.; Izakovicova, Z.; Kopperoinen, L.; Liquete, C.; Odee, D.; Steingröver, E.; Young, J. (2018) Knowledge needs for the operationalisation of the concept of ecosystem services, Ecosystem Services, 29, 441-451
  • Bouwma, I.; Schleyer, C.; Primmer, E.; Winkler, K.J.; Berry, P.; Young, J.; Carmen, E.; Špulerová, J.; Bezák, P.; Preda, E.; Vadineanu, A. (2018) Adoption of the ecosystem services concept in EU policies, Ecosystem Services, 29, 213-222
  • J. Dick; P. Verweij; E. Carmen; R. Rodela; C. Andrews (2017) Testing the ecosystem service cascade framework and QUICKScan software tool in the context of land use planning in Glenlivet Estate Scotland, International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 13(2), 12-25
  • C. Nesshöver; M. Vandewalle; H. Wittmer; E. V. Balian; E. Carmen; I. R. Geijzendorffer; C. Görg; R. Jongman; B. Livoreil; L. Santamaria; S. Schindler; J. Settele; I. Sousa Pinto; K. Török; J. van Dijk; A. D. Watt; J. C. Young; K. P. Zulka; K. P. T. the (2016) The Network of Knowledge approach: improving the science and society dialogue on biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europe, Biodiversity and Conservation, 25(7), 1215-1233
  • E. Carmen; C. Nesshöver; H. Saarikoski; M. Vandewalle; A. Watt; H. Wittmer; J. Young (2015) Creating a biodiversity science community: Experiences from a European Network of Knowledge, Environmental Science & Policy, 54, 497-504

  • Waylen, K.A.; Blackstock, K.L.; Ibrahim, A.; Carmen, E.; Marshall, K. (2022) Restoration or Nature-based Solutions: What's the difference and why does it matter?, A research briefing by the James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen.
  • Ibrahim, A.; Carmen, E. (2022) Transformation Framework Working Document Mainstreaming Ecological Restoration of freshwaterrelated ecosystems in a Landscape context INnovation, upscaling and transformation (MERLIN), This publication is a working document that was developed for the EU-Horizon 2020 MERLIN project. It will be redeveloped into a manuscript for a journal publication.

Printed from /staff/esther-carmen on 05/12/23 09:46:18 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.