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Conservation Research Institute



Dr Rachel Carmenta is Tyndall Centre Lecturer in Climate Change and International Development, a position held between the Tyndall Centre and the School of International Development. Rachel co-leads the Overcoming Poverty with Climate Actions research area within the Tyndall Centre and contributes to post-graduate and undergraduate teaching within the School of International Development.

Before joining the Tyndall Centre and School of International Development at UEA, Rachel held a Frank Jackson Research Fellowship at the University of Cambridge with Wolfson College, the Conservation Research Institute (UCCRI) and the Department of Geography, prior to which she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and based in Indonesia. She holds a PhD from Lancaster Environment Center at Lancaster University. Her orginal training was in Ecology, Bsc Hons at the University of East Anglia.

Dr Carmenta is an environmental social scientist specialising in interdisciplinary research at the intersection of environment and development, environmental risk and the relationship between place and well-being. She is particularly interested in the design, performance and social equity of environmental governance. Her work engages with an interdisciplinary set of collaborators, scales of analysis and analytical lenses in order explore what strategies perform better to reconcile the imperatives of food production, forest protection and human wellbeing in dynamic forest agriculture landscapes of the global South. In these contested frontiers, uncontrolled, recurrent and catastrophic wildfires have become a “new normal” in the context of the Anthropocene. A central strand of Rachel's work centers on the tropical wildfire complex -a leading environmental challenge at the interface of social and natural systems. Her current research seeks to recognize the diverse interests, politics and burdens of land use change and wildfire, with a particular focus on expanding conventional impact metrics to capture the often invisible, place-based impacts of landscape flammability and conservation and development interventions on food security, health and locally defined human well-being. Rachel’s work is focused in Brazilian Amazon and Indonesian peatland frontiers and can be summarized along the following broad themes:  

  • Political ecology of agrarian and environmental change with a tropical fire focus  
  • Environmental justice and bio-cultural approaches to natural resource management  
  • Relationship between the environment, relational values and human-wellbeing
  • Conservation and development


Political ecology; Environment and Development; Governance of forests and fire; Agrarian transitions; Place-based and biocultural approaches to conservation; Relational values and human well-being; Environmental justice


Key publications: 
  • Zafra-Calvo, N; Balvanera, P; Pascual, U; Merçon, J; Martin-Lopez, B; van Noordwijk, M; Mwampamba, T; Lele, S; Ifejika Speranza, C; Arias-Arevalo, P; Diego, C; Caceres, D; O`Farrell, P; Subramanian, Suneetha M; Soubadra, Di; Krishnan, S; Carmenta, R; Guibrunet, L; Elsin, Y K; Moersberger, H; Cariño, J; Diaz, S. Plural valuation of nature for equity and sustainability: Insights from the Global South. Submitted. Global Environmental Change.
  • Carmenta, R; Carmona-Estrada, N, Coomes, D. A., DeClerk, F., Hart, A., Harvey, C., Milder, J., Reed, J and Vira, B. (2020) Characterising and evaluating integrated landscape approaches. One Earth.
  • Jefferson, U; Carmenta, R; Daeli, W., Phelps, J. (2020) Characterising policy responses to complex socio-ecological problems: 60 fire management interventions in Indonesian peatlands. Global Environmental Change.
  • Dressler, W; Smith, W; Kull, C; Carmenta, R., Pulhin, J. (2020) Recalibrating burdens of blame: Anti-swidden politics and green governance in the Philippine uplands. Geoforum.
  • Barlow, J; Berenguer, E; Carmenta, R; França, F. (2019) Clarifying Amazonia's burning crisis. Global Change Biology.
  • Mansourian, S; Parrotta, J; Balaji, P; Belwood-Howard, I; Bhasme, S; Bixler, R. P; Boedhihartono, A, K; Carmenta, R; Jedd, J; de Jong, W; Lake, F. K; Latawiec, A; Lippe, M; Rai, N. D; Sayer, J; Van Dexter, K; Vira, B; Visseren-Hamakers, I; Wyborn, C; Yang, A. (2019) Putting the Pieces Together: Integration for Forest Landscape Restoration Implementation. Land Degradation and Development.
  • Reed, J; Van Vianen, J; Carmenta, R; Barlow, J; Sunderland, T. (2019) Engaging multiple stakeholders to reconcile climate, conservation and development objectives in tropical landscapes. Biological Conservation.
  • Maharani, C.D., Moeliono, M., Wong, G. Y., Brockhaus, M., Carmenta, R., & Kallio, M. (2019). Development and equity: A gendered inquiry in a swidden landscape. Forest Policy and Economics.
  • Carmenta, R., Coudel, E; Steward, A. (2018) Forbidden Fire: Does criminalizing fire hinder conservation efforts in swidden landscapes of the Brazilian Amazon? The Geographical Journal.
  • Carmenta, R., Zabala, A., Daeli, W, Phelps, J. (2017). Perceptions across scales of governance and the Indonesian peatland fires. Global Environmental Change.
  • Gebara, M. F., May, P. H., Carmenta, R., Calixto, B.,Brockhaus, M., Gregorio, M. D. (2017). Framing REDD+ in the Brazilian national media: how discourses evolved amid global negotiation uncertainties. Climatic Change. doi:10.1007/s10584-017-1896-1. Selected for "Research Highlights" paper with Nature Climate Change.
  • Wijedasa, L. S., Jauhiainen, J., Könönen, M., Lampela, M., Vasander, H., LeBlanc, M. C., ...Carmenta, R, ... & Lupascu, M. (2016). Denial of long-term issues with agriculture on tropical peatlands will have devastating consequences. Global Change Biology. doi:10.1111/gcb.13516
  • Gaveau, D; Pirard, R, Salim, M; Prayoto, T, Yaen, H; Parks, S; Carmenta, R., (2016). Overlapping land claims limit the use of satellites to monitor No-Deforestation commitments and No-Burning compliance. Conservation Letters. doi:10.1111/conl.12256
  • Carmenta, R; Blackburn, A; Davies, G; de Sassi, C; Lima, A; Parry, L; Tych, W; Barlow, J. (2016). Does the Establishment of Sustainable Use Reserves Affect Fire Management in the Humid Tropics? PloS one 11.2: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0149292
  • Babon, A; McIntyre, D; Gallemore, C; Carmenta, R; Di Gregorio, M; Brockhaus, M. (2014). Advocacy coalitions, REDD+, and forest governance in Papua New Guinea: How likely is transformational change? Ecology and Society. 19(3): 16. doi:10.5751/ES-06486-190316
  • Pham, T; Di Gregorio, M; Carmenta, R; Brockhaus, M; Dung Le. (2014). The REDD+ Policy arena in Vietnam: participation of policy actors. Ecology and Society. 19(2): 22. doi:10.5751/ES-06389-190222
  • Brockhaus, M; Di Gregorio, M; Carmenta, R. (2014). REDD+ policy networks: exploring actors and power structures in an emerging policy domain. Ecology and Society. 19(4): 29. doi:10.5751/ES-07098-190429
  • Carmenta, R; Vermeylen, S; Parry, L., Barlow. (2013). Shifting cultivation and fire policy: insights from the Brazilian Amazon. Human Ecology. 41(4), doi:10.1007/s10745-013-9600-1
  • Barlow, J; Parry, L; Toby A. Gardner, T.A; Ferreira, J; Aragão, L. E. O. C; Carmenta, R; Berenguer, E; Vieira, I.G;, Souza, C.,Cochrane, M. A. (2012). The critical importance of considering fire in REDD+ programs. Biological Conservation, 03 (34): doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2012.03.034
  • Carmenta, R; Parry, L; Blackburn, A; Vermeylen, S., Barlow, J (2011). Understanding human-fire interactions in tropical forest regions: a case for interdisciplinary research across the natural and social sciences. Ecology and Society, 16 (1)
  • Shanley, P; da Serra Silva, M; Melo, T; Carmenta, R., Nasi, R. (2011). Conflict of use to multiple use: Forest management innovations by small holders in Amazonian logging frontiers. Forest Ecology and Management. 268. 70-80. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2011.05.041

Teaching and Supervisions

  • Lecturer in Climate Change and International Development, School of International Development
  • Lecturer in Climate Change and International Development, Tyndall Centre Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

Other Professional Activities

Fellow, Wolfson College
Vice Chair, Peatlands and Society commission 
Senior treasurer, The Cambridge Indonesia Association

Lecturer in Climate Change and International Development, University of East Anglia
Dr Rachel  Carmenta

Contact Details

David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street
01223 333389