Aiora Zabala

Aiora Zabala
The Open University (UK) · Department of Economics

Environmental Policy and Economics, Environmental Sciences. PhD, MSc, BSc.
@AioZabala | Lecturer in Economics, The Open University. Senior Fellow, Land Economy, University of Cambridge

About

58
Publications
20,880
Reads
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760
Citations
Additional affiliations
March 2017 - present
Nature Publishing Group
Position
  • Editor
Description
  • Scientific editor of Nature Sustainability, covering social sciences and GIS
October 2015 - March 2017
University of Cambridge
Position
  • Teaching Associate
September 2014 - September 2015
University of Cambridge
Position
  • Lecturer
Education
January 2010 - September 2015
University of Cambridge
Field of study
  • Environmental Policy and Economics
September 2006 - September 2007
University of Oxford
Field of study
  • Environmental Policy
September 2005 - September 2006
Autonomous University of Barcelona
Field of study
  • Ecological Economics & Environmental Management

Publications

Publications (58)
Article
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Acknowledging the diversity of preferences, goals and motivations of individuals is key to promote the effectiveness of incentive-based conservation interventions. This paper analyses the heterogeneity of motivations to adopt silvopastoral practices, a social-ecological innovation for soil conservation and carbon emission reduction. We use Q method...
Article
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The implementation of large-scale programmes for environment and development presents two main challenges: the tensions between both goals and the disconnect across policy levels. To contribute to overcoming these challenges, we assess a national multi-partnership programme for poverty alleviation and wetland restoration in South Africa: Working fo...
Article
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Understanding human perspectives is critical in a range of conservation contexts, for example, to help overcome conflicts or to develop projects that are acceptable to relevant stakeholders. Q methodology is a unique semi‐quantitative technique to explore human perspectives. It brings together the transparency of a structured quantitative procedure...
Article
The carbon-dense peatlands of Indonesia are a landscape of global importance undergoing rapid land-use change. Here, peat drained for agricultural expansion increases the risk of large-scale uncontrolled fires. Several solutions to this complex environmental, humanitarian and economic crisis have been proposed, such as forest protection measures an...
Article
We provide empirical evidence that supports a commonly-held assumption: that experts’ appraisals of policy options are often very distinct from those of resource users most affected by those policy choices. We analyse perspectives about 40 policy options to address peatland fires in Indonesia, using a Q methodology approach to rank the options acco...
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Dr Shailja Vaidya Gupta is Senior Adviser at the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India. She tells Nature Sustainability about the challenges of climate negotiations from her country’s perspective, views are her own.
Article
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Multiple policy tools are needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Åsa Persson, from the Stockholm Environment Institute and a member of the Independent Group of Scientists working on the 2023 United Nations Global Sustainable Development Report, speaks to Nature Sustainability about the complexity of research comparing the impacts of p...
Article
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A Global Pact for the Environment is gathering pace to become a binding international agreement. Yann Aguila, Sciences Po, and Jorge Viñuales, University of Cambridge, talk to Nature Sustainability about its global significance and potential, and about the importance of social support to make it happen.
Article
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Shrimp is a major aquaculture species in Indonesia. Despite the Indonesian government's effort to reinforce sustainability practices using a national eco-certification scheme, the uptake of stakeholders has been slow so far. This study analyzed diverse perceptions of the national eco-certification of shrimp aquaculture among stakeholders across the...
Chapter
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We report on 10 years of participatory research processes linking livelihoods, agroforestry, and conservation in the La Sepultura Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Reserve in Chiapas, Mexico. These processes entail both cooperation and conflict between farmers and external actors who try to create and/or prevent the collapse of “nature-friendly” land use...
Data
Database of articles using this specific methodology. For each study, the database indicates a variety of characteristics of the study, such as context, goals, methodological decisions, etc. The database was compiled to analyse how the methodology is being applied in conservation, what kind of research decisions were being made, and the quality of...
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Ming Hung Wong of the Southern University of Science and Technology, China, leads an international team investigating e-waste recycling impacts, and chaired the Waste Management Sub-Committee in the Hong Kong Advisory Council on the Environment.
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Research
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To make conservation happen, opinions matter. People involved in conservation projects can include researchers, managers, policymakers, farmers and a long etcetera. Notoriously, for those involved, it is often hard to agree unanimously on the best way forward. (...) While we might disagree with some opinions, we cannot disregard them, for example,...
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Toby Park leads the Energy and Sustainability work at the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) and talks with us about joint research agendas, co-production and communication of results.
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Marinez Scherer is an expert in integrated coastal management and executive secretary of the Brazilian Sea Forum. Alberto Lindner is an expert in marine ecology and conservation. Both are at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil, and here discuss recent trends in marine and coastal science and policy in Brazil.
Data
Dataset here: http://reshare.ukdataservice.ac.uk/852712/
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1. Decision‐making is a complex process that typically includes a series of stages: identifying the issue, considering possible options, making judgements and then making a decision by combining information and values. The current status quo relies heavily on the informational aspect of decision‐making with little or no emphasis on the value positi...
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In 2008, a group of conservation scientists compiled a list of 100 priority questions for the conservation of the world's biodiversity [Sutherland et al. (2009) Conservation Biology, 23, 557–567]. However, now almost a decade later, no one has yet published a study gauging how much progress has been made in addressing these 100 high‐priority questi...
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1. Decision-making is a complex process that typically includes a series of stages: identifying the issue, considering possible options, making judgements and then making a decision by combining information and values. The current status quo relies heavily on the informational aspect of decision-making with little or no emphasis on the value positi...
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Hola! Se trata de un pequenyo resumen de otro articulo, en una seccion de Nature Sustainability en la que iremos escribiendo resumenes de articulos interesantes. Free access aqui: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-017-0018-4 Abrazos!
Chapter
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Accurate spatial data on deforestation are critical for social science research, for the assessment of ecosystem services, and for environmental policy such as REDD + programs. In the last few years a number of sources of big spatial data about tree and forest cover and cover change estimates for the last decade have been made publicly available. T...
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Across leading environmental challenges—fire management, climate change, deforestation – there is growing awareness of the need to better account for diverse stakeholder perceptions across complex, multi-level governance arrangements. Perceptions often condition behavior, compliance and engagement in ways that impact environmental outcomes. We illu...
Technical Report
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A mixed method analysis of peatland fire management in Indonesia Key messages • Tropical peatlands are undergoing rapid and radical land-use changes in which fire is often used in land preparation for agriculture at different scales. Burdens of escaped peat fires, including infringements on quality of life and health, economic losses, diplomatic te...
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Q is a semi-qualitative methodology to identify typologies of perspectives. It is appropriate to address questions concerning diverse viewpoints, plurality of discourses, or participation processes across disciplines. Perspectives are interpreted based on rankings of a set of statements. These rankings are analysed using multivariate data reduction...
Article
We find that local institutions inherited from the precolonial era continue to play an important role in natural resource governance in Africa. Using satellite image data, we find a significant and robust relationship between deforestation and precolonial succession rules of local leaders (local chiefs). In particular, we find that those precolonia...
Technical Report
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Indonesia's recurrent peatland fires generate toxic haze and release globally significant amounts of greenhouse gases, with severe impacts on public health and economy within Indonesia and neighboring countries (e.g. Malaysia, Singapore). This flyer presents a collaborative research endeavor between CIFOR, the Lancaster Environment Centre and the U...
Thesis
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On the frontier of biodiversity-rich tropical forests, how land is used has an important role in buffering the primary ecosystem. Unsustainable small-scale cattle farming endangers soil quality and degrades the landscape. Silvopasture is a type of agroforestry that provides both ecological and livelihood benefits. A number of projects have been imp...
Article
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Q is a methodology to explore the distinct subjective perspectives that exist within a group. It is used increasingly across disciplines. The methodology is semi-qualitative and the data are analysed using data reduction methods to discern the existing patterns of thought. This package is the first to perform Q analysis in R, and it provides many a...
Code
An R language package to analyse Q methodology data.
Conference Paper
This paper assesses the impact of a multi-partnership poverty alleviation and environmental conservation project on workers' livelihood, their capacities and their perception about development and the environment. The policy formulation process of the Working for Wetlands programme in South Africa is critically described and its strengths and limit...
Conference Paper
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This paper approaches the dilemma of how to meaningfully introduce environmental elements into economic equations by looking at the other side of the spectrum: exploring the mismatch between the theory behind these equations and the reality they represent. The use of cost benefit analysis is based on profit maximizing strategies. Thus, it explores...
Conference Paper
Aggregated small-scale, intensive cattle-farming in the tropical forest frontier is a threat to primary forests which are host for a vast biological diversity. Land use and livelihood decisions directly impact habitat conservation dynamics and the availability of local natural resources (Brock et al. 2009). However, household level decision-making...
Article
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The use of private cars with low occupancy is increasingly predominant in workers' transport to industrial estates in Valles Occidental County, within the metropolitan area of Barcelona, Spain. This unsustainable trend is already on the political agenda. However, sound theoretical background and methodologies to assess sustainability in the field o...
Article
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There is an increasing demand for a new paradigm to improve flood-mitigation decision processes that calls for risk-reduction strategies at several levels. This demand may gain ground only if dialogue is encouraged among different perspectives, disciplines, and knowledge types. The aim of this paper is to explore new methods to improve flood-mitiga...

Questions

Questions (3)
Question
What's the best way to identify geometric patterns or patch shapes on satellite images or processed map products?
For example, to identify whether a tile contains NDVI or pseudocolour values that have the shape of a square, circle, irregular, elongated. Also, to identify whether the shapes are solid (all values within are equal) or rather diffused.
Best if in R stats language, python or QGis (or any combination of them).
Question
I work on environmental sustainability and, with full acknowledgement of the dreadful impacts of this pandemic, I am also fascinated by the fast, positive changes we're observing regarding pollution, clean air and nature's responses (and many more that we might not see yet). My main concern is how we can keep these good aspects post-lock down.
What ideas do you have?
Question
We often perceive that policymakers (and sometimes other practitioners too) understand problems and solutions to policy issues in a way that's very different to that of people 'on the ground'. This is problematic and I have the feeling that there must be literature discussing this gap or disconnect. But I cannot find a good lead to start discovering such literature.
Can you think of a paper that discusses this disconnect?
It doesn't have to be in the sustainability or environmental domains, it can be elsewhere in political science etc.

Network

Cited By

Projects

Projects (2)
Project
The aim of this project is to provide a "how to" on a range of techniques which can be used for decision making. This is part of the Jan 2018 special issue in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution.