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Professor Bhaskar Vira

Professor Bhaskar Vira

Professor of Political Economy

Director, University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute

Office Phone: 01223 339823

Departments and Institutes


Research Interests

Trained as an economist, Bhaskar’s  research is concerned, in particular, with the often-hidden costs of environmental and developmental processes, and the need for scholarship to draw attention to the distributional consequences of public policy choices. His work brings a critical political economy perspective to contemporary debates in relation to ecosystem services and natural capital, and the values of nature for human wellbeing. He focuses on the ways in which large-scale economic, societal and environmental transformations are governed, the values that frame how human societies engage with each other and with nature, and the networks of formal and informal institutions that are intertwined in everyday decision making across a variety of spatial and temporal scales.

Other Professional Activities

Bhaskar contributed to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and led the policy responses work for the UK National Ecosystem Assessment. He has been a member of the IUFRO Global Forest Expert Panel on Biodiversity, Forest Management and REDD+, as well as the Royal Society Working Group on Human Resilience to Climate Change and Disasters. He Chaired the IUFRO Global Forest Expert Panel on Forests and Food Security, and was a member of the Committee on World Food Security’s High Level Panel of Experts working on Sustainable Forestry for Food Security and Nutrition. He is currently working as part of the IUFRO Global Forest Expert Panel on Forests and Water.

Key Publications

Vogl, A.L., Goldstein, J.H., Daily, G.C., Vira, B., Bremer, L., McDonald, R.I., Shemie, D., Tellman, B. and Cassin, J., 2017. Mainstreaming investments in watershed services to enhance water security: Barriers and opportunities. Environmental Science and Policy, v. 75, p.19-27. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2017.05.007

Kovacs, E.K., Kumar, C., Agarwal, C., Adams, W.M., Hope, R.A. and Vira, B., 2016. The politics of negotiation and implementation: A reciprocal water access agreement in the Himalayan foothills, India. Ecology and Society, v. 21, doi:10.5751/ES-08462-210237

Vira, B., Wildburger, C. and Mansourian, S., 2015. Forests and Food Addressing Hunger and Nutrition Across Sustainable Landscapes, Open Book Publishers. 288pp.

Blanchard, L., Vira, B. and Briefer, L., 2015. The lost narrative: Ecosystem service narratives and the missing Wasatch watershed conservation story. Ecosystem Services, v. 16, p.105-111. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2015.10.019

Vira, B., 2015. Taking natural limits seriously: Implications for development studies and the environment. Development and Change, v. 46, p.762-776. doi:10.1111/dech.12175

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