Science

"The following is a conflation of my current ‘being’ and my desired ‘becoming’…"
Applied social-ecological research

I am an environmental scientist and institutional analyst. My research work focuses on the study of patterns, interactions and feedbacks between human societies and nature. I am interested in contributing to our current understanding of the evolution of and conditions for human cooperation to attain more equitable and sustainable opportunities and outcomes in social-ecological systems (SES). The latter constitutes an object of study of the Earth System that addresses specific relationships and problems among socioeconomic, institutional, natural resources and ecological components. More specifically, my research interests cover several interrelated areas:

- The theoretical and normative aspects of planning towards sustainability transitions, especially through adaptive approaches to policy and decision making under uncertainty, in a context of climate and global change.

- The advancement of more comprehensive institutional analysis methodologies and theoretic-analytical frameworks including political, power, discursive and cognitive factors, to better understand individual and social behaviour and agency, socioeconomic and institutional change, and, more generally, outcomes in SES (e.g., maladaptive traps).

- The development of best practice frames of reference (e.g., benchmarks, standards, case studies) against which to measure current performance in the system under study.

- The understanding of the effects and feedback loops of policies and institutional designs over land use, ecosystem services, biodiversity and the environment, using Earth Observation tools and spatial analysis.

- The collaborative dissemination of research findings through a diversity of academic, technical and audiovisual outlets, directed at policy and decision makers from the public and private sectors and society in general.

Using both qualitative and quantitative techniques, my methodological approach is based on the case study method and institutional analysis. Rooted in complexity science, I apply a combination of insights from different theories, including, among others:

- transition theory to sustainable development;
- resilience theory, especially two key heuristics: the adaptive cycle and maladaptive traps;
- neo-institutionalism, guided by a ‘politicised’ version of Elinor Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis and Development framework;
- entrepreneurship and discourse analysis in its relationship with institutions, politics and power.

I am currently affiliated to the Spatial Ecology Group of the Department of Wetland Ecology of the Doñana Biological Station (Spanish Research Council), working in close collaboration with the Remote Sensing and GIS Lab. 

If you are further interested in my work, please see my portfolio, current projects and publications.