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Department of Land Economy

Environment, Law & Economics


Aiora is Departmental Fellow in Land Economy, which she joined again in 2020 to coordinate and deliver lectures in Environmental Policy and Economics.
She's Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Economics at The Open University since 2022.
Between 2017 and 2021 she was full-time Senior Editor at Nature Sustainability (which she helped launch). In 2015 she created the C-EENRG Working Paper Series and edited them until 2017.

She has taught environmental policy, economics and methods since 2013. She has published research on a range of sustainability policies, such as environmental and conservation programs in rural areas in Mexico and South Africa, deforestation drivers at large scales, peatland fires in Indonesia, and public policy for sustainable transport to industrial estates.

Her methods' expertise includes R statistical language, Q methodology, econometrics, multi-criteria decision methods, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and data visualisation.


  • PhD Environmental Policy & Economics (Cantab)
  • MSc Environmental Policy/ Governance (Oxon)
  • Postgraduate in Ecological Economics (Autonomous University of Barcelona)
  • BSc Environmental Sciences (Autonomous University of Barcelona)


Research focused on challenges for implementation and effectiveness of environmental and sustainability governance across scales, particularly on two areas: understanding the diversity of views on controversial or conflictual issues, and the spatial variability of impacts. This includes adoption and diffusion of sustainable land-use practices, social implications of biodiversity indicators and drivers and motivations of behavioural change.

She approaches these questions using a pluralistic methodological approach. Topics include, among others, the social and economic implications of a large wetland restoration program in South Africa, the political economy of rural livelihood change in Mexico, discourses about peatland fire solutions in Indonesia, the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices in the tropical forest frontier, and multi-criteria evaluation of sustainable transport policies.

Recent work includes analysing acceptability of waste-to-energy facilities (with Univ. of Basque Country), barriers for sustainable aquaculture certification (with Univ. of Tokyo), and the sustainability of post-pandemic recovery policies.


Key publications: 
Other publications: 
Aiora Zabala portrait


Person keywords: 
Public Policy