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Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance

Studying at Cambridge


Dr Aiora Zabala

Dr Aiora Zabala

C-EENRG Fellow

Scientific Editor, Nature Sustainability


Prior to joining Nature Sustainability journal as Scientific Editor, Dr. Aiora Zabala was Researcher, Teaching Associate, and Affiliated Lecturer in Environmental Economics and Policy Evaluation. With a background in environmental sciences and ecological economics, she has investigated various aspects of governance in the transition towards more sustainable systems, including the analysis of international negotiations on biodiversity, multi-criteria analysis of measures to promote sustainable transport, and evaluation of large scale environment and development policies.

Her research has focused on rewards for ecosystem services, finding appropriate incentive schemes to catalyse pro-environmental behaviour and increase the efficacy of environmental policy instruments. She has focused on the predictors for the adoption of silvopasture (a type of agroforestry) in the tropical forest frontier, using empirical data from Chiapas, Mexico. Her thesis explains this adoption in terms of exogenous and endogenous predictors, derived from behavioural economics and social psychology, and within a context of pathway dependency influenced by the recent social and environmental history of the case study.

She also lectured in R statistical language and Q methodology at the Social Sciences' Research Methods Centre and the Graduate School of Life Sciences. She was the departmental focal point for the Cambridge Conservation Initiative.

Aiora has a BSc in Environmental Sciences with focus on social environmental sciences from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB; 2005). She studied postgraduate courses in Ecological Economics (ICTA-UAB, 2006) while working as a research assistant at the Department of Geography (UAB). She holds an MSc in Environmental Policy from the Oxford University Centre for the Environment (OUCE, 2007). She has worked in the private sector as web knowledge consultant for a clean technology networking platform (Skipso), and as independent designer of visual material for environmental communication. She has visited the Institute of Natural Resources in South Africa, ECOSUR-El Colegio de la Frontera Sur in Mexico, Hosei University in Japan, and BC3-Basque Centre for Climate Change in Bilbao.


  • Forest governance
  • Economics
  • Human perspectives
  • Rural livelihoods
  • R statistical language and GIS
  • Ecological economics

Key Publications

See full list of publications.