Dr Louisa Evans
Professor in Environment and Development
Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK
Office hours: Dissertation Tutorials: Week 1 - 3 one to one meeting, booking form here
Dissertation Tutorials: Week 1 - 3 one to one meeting, booking form here
Louisa is an interdisciplinary social scientist with interests in environmental governance and international development, primarily but not exclusively in coastal and marine systems.
Louisa joined Exeter in 2014 as an Advanced Research Fellow in Environment and Sustainability. This followed four years as a Research Fellow at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, and two years as a Post-doctoral Fellow and consultant at WorldFish (Malaysia), part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.
Louisa’s research falls into three overlapping areas:
Governance and its outcomes: Under this theme Louisa examines institutions of governance, processes of participation and knowledge exchange, and outcomes including legitimacy, human wellbeing and environmental sustainability. Her research has investigated established and emerging governance frameworks, including co-management, adaptive management, integrated management and ecosystem-based management, and she is particularly interested in understanding social difference and trade-offs in social and environmental outcomes.
Drivers of social, institutional and policy change: Louisa is also interested in how governance systems transition to new approaches, what drives such transitions, and what the implications are for different people and different governance outcomes. In particular she is interested in critically analyzing concepts of leadership and entrepreneurship, risk perceptions, participation, innovation and learning.
Resilience and transformation: Underpinning Louisa’s research into governance and change is an interest is the concepts of resilience and transformation. Here, she explores the meanings, drivers, decision-making processes, and winners and losers associated with how these discourses are taken up into policy and practice.
Louisa’s research contributes theoretically, conceptually and methodologically in these areas, in particular through applied research, and participatory and action approaches. She has worked in Australia, Kenya, Tanzania, Solomon Islands and the UK. Please get in touch if you are interested in collaborating on these and related research topics.
Broad research specialisms:
- Governance and institutions
- Resilience, social-ecological systems and complex adaptive systems
- Ecological knowledge systems
- Participation and rights
- Conservation and development
- Climate change adaptation
- Fisheries-based food security
PhD International Development (University of East Anglia)
MRes Environment and Development (Kings College London)
BSc(Hons) Biological Science (University of Nottingham)
Research group links
Sustainable Development and Resilience of UK Coastal Communities (ROCC). 2021 - 2024. Funded by the UKRI Strategic Priority Funding on Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources.
This project aims to build knowledge and know-how to enhance the resilience of UK marine resource-users to environmental, regulatory and socio-cultural change, while simultaneously improving their wellbeing and reducing adverse impacts on the marine environment. ROCC will be the first to develop a nexus perspective on resilience, wellbeing and sustainability to acknowledge that any solution for one objective must equally consider the other two in the nexus. ROCC will apply the nexus perspective to diverse on-the-ground and policy interventions in marine social-ecological systems in the UK to systematically evaluate trade-offs across the nexus, and identify opportunities to enhance resilience, wellbeing and sustainability simultaneously.
Our research will use present, past and future- looking methodologies to achieve the following objectives:
- To systematically evaluate synergies and trade-offs among resilience, wellbeing and sustainability and develop a world-leading nexus perspective that breaks new ground in how these concepts/objectives are understood, analysed and implemented.
- To build knowledge of how diverse marine resource-users’ values underpin synergistic and non- synergistic nexus interactions, and the implications for UK marine policy and practice (SMMR call Theme 1)
- To co-develop a systematic decision-support framework that can use diverse forms of evidence to identify and make hard choices between nexus trade-offs, while avoiding ecological and social thresholds of harm (SMMR call Theme 2)
- To apply the nexus perspective to on-the-ground and policy interventions to improve their potential to enhance resilience, wellbeing and sustainability simultaneously (SMMR call Theme 3)
The research was co-developed with PML, Marine Management Organisation, Devon Martime Forum, Cornwall Rural Community Charity, Cornwall Council's Strategic Historic Environment Team, Sole of Discretion.
Blue Justice Working Group. 2021-2023. FRB Centre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity (CESAB). Building from Blue Justice: triple exposure in marine systems. Exeter-Duke Collaboration.
Gill D et al. 2023. Triple exposure: Reducing negative impacts of climate change, blue growth, and conservation on coastal communities. One Earth. 6 (2): 118-130
Young Blue Futures. 2020 - 2021. Funded by Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Climate Resilience Network Development call. This research aimed to work with young coastal resource-users to explore gendered youth perspectives and experiences of resilience to climate change and intersecting everyday adversities. The Network Development phase of the project had three preliminary objectives, to:
- Explore diverse youth perspectives on the multi-level determinants of young men and women’s resilience to climate change and everyday adversity.
- Distil best-practice from existing resilience projects, research and partnerships in the WIO.
- Co-develop innovative, thematic resilience pathways focused explicitly on the resilience of young coastal resource-users and identify target partnerships for the Network Plus.
The research was co-developed with PML, WIOMSA, and Co-Is and partners in Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique and Tanzania. This programme was cancelled in its entirely under the ODA/GCRF funding cuts announced in March 2021.
Blue Communities. 2018 - 2022. Funded the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Capabilities programme.
The programme aims to build capacity for sustainable interactions with marine ecosystems for the benefit of the health, well-being, food security and livelihoods of coastal communities in East and Southeast Asia.
Project 2 involves a critical institutional analysis of marine planning approaches in five case studies to identify how marine planning can add value given existing investments in governance, management and planning.
Project 9 involves analysing and co-developing with stakeholders principles and approaches to make the hard political and ethical decisions about trade-offs in marine planning in DAC contexts.
This research is complemented by a GCRF Impact Accelerator Award on Scaling-up impact and application of Blue Communities’ marine management tools and approaches in SE Asia.
Fortnam M et al. 2023. Polycentricity in practice: Marine governance transitions in Southeast Asia. Environmental Science & Policy. 137: 87-98
Madarcos K et al. 2022. Doing marine spatial zoning in coastal marine tropics: Palawan’s Environmental Critical Areas Network (ECAN). Marine Policy. 145: 105207
Praptiwi RA et al. 2021. Tourism-Based Alternative Livelihoods for Small Island Communities Transitioning towards a Blue Economy. Sustainability 13 (12), 6655
Buoyed. 2017. Funded by an Economic and Social Research Council Impact Accelerator Award. The objective is to:
- Empower and raise the political voice of inshore and typically marginalised fishing communities in anticipation of new avenues for them to engage in policy debate over UK fisheries regulation and fishers’ rights outside of the Europe Union.
- Place fishing communities’ aspirations for Brexit into a broader context of social, political and environmental change through collaborative research and creative engagement.
Buoyed brings the voices of inshore fishing communities to the general public and key decision-makers through an interactive, playful cluster of magical glass buoys suspended from wooden stems that tease you with their pulsing glow and muffled voices, enticing you in. Come closer to hear the hopes of fishing communities for a brighter future outside of the EU.
Follow the project on Twitter at #Buoyed
See the Making of Buoyed
Coral Communities: Building Socio-Ecological Resilience to Coral Reef Degradation in the Islands of the Western Indian Ocean. 2017. Funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Building Resilience programme.
The project aims to draw together a network of UK-WIO collaborators to address evidence gaps and support the development of resilience strategies across the WIO. It will involve:
- A literature review, assessing the extent to which the initiatives used to manage coral reefs are successful in building community and reef resilience.
- A stakeholder workshop in Mauritius (week of 8th May), to identify ways in which these initiatives can be refined to better build resilience.
- Develop and pilot of a novel, arts-based approach for assessing perceptions of the environment and the socio-cultural risk associated with different resilience strategies.
- A second stakeholder workshop in the UK (week of 11th September), to identify possibilities for future collaboration
Hattam C et al. 2020. Building resilience in practice to support coral communities in the Western Indian Ocean. Environmental Science & Policy 106, 182-190
Productivity in the East African Coastal Current under Climate Change (PEACC). 2016-2018. Funded by the Marine and Coastal Science for Management (MASMA) programme of the WIOMSA. The objectives are to:
- Determine trends in upwelling associated with changes in oceanographic and surface meteorological conditions within the EACC system.
- Determine how these trends have impacted on marine productivity and small pelagic fisheries, and prediction of future impacts.
- Determine the vulnerability, resilience and adaptation options for fisheries dependent communities in the EACC upwelling region.
- Understand the governance of small pelagic fisheries across scales, and explore the ability of governance institutions to respond to changes in the upwelling regimes of the EACC shelf region.
Evaluating the impact of management and partnership activities of the wellbeing of fishery in Lyme Bay, UK. 2015-2016. Funded by the Blue Marine Foundation. Objectives were to:
- Assess the impacts of management measures and partnership activities on ecosystem services and human wellbeing.
- Develop and test a transferable framework for evaluating MPA impacts.
- Clarify the drivers of successful partnership and management and, thereby, enable promotion of the ‘Lyme Bay model’ for MPA management.
Rees SE, Ashely M, Evans L, Mangi S, Sheehan EV, Mullier T and Rees A. 2021. An evaluation of the social and economic impact of a Marine Protected Area of commercial fisheries. Fisheries Research 235, 105819
Social-Ecological Systems Meta-analysis Database (SESMAD) is an international collaboration between Resilience Alliance Young Scholars (RAYS) and researchers from the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis. 2013-ongoing. The objectives are to:
- Develop a relational database to compare large-scale commons.
- Refine metrics for coding and comparing SES attributes and interactions.
Cox M, Villamayor-Tomas X, Ban NC, Epstein G, Evans L, Fleischman F et al. 2020. From concepts to comparisons: A resource for diagnosis and measurement in social-ecological systems. Environmental Science & Policy 107, 211-216
Davies TE, Epstein G, Aguilera SE, Brooks CM, Cox M, Evans LS, Maxwell SM, Nenadovic M, Ban NC. 2018. Assessing trade-offs in large marine protected areas. Plos One 13 (4): e0195760
Ban NC, Davies TE, Aguilera SE, Brooks C, Cox M, Epstein G, Evans LS, Maxwell SM, Nenadovic M. 2017. Social and ecological effectiveness of large marine protected areas. Global Environmental Change. 43: 82-91
Cox M, Villamayor-Tomas S, Epstein G, Evans L, Ban NC, Forrest F, Nenadovic M, Garcia-Lopez G. 2016. Synthesizing theories of natural resource management and governance. Global Environmental Change. 39: 49-56
Ban NC, Evans LS, Nenadovic M, and Schoon M. 2015. Challenges of governance in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park: the interplay of multiple goods, ecosystem services, and property rights. Ecology & Society. 20(4): 2
Fleischman FD, Ban NC, Evans LS, Epstein G, Garcia-Lopez G, and Villamayor-Tomas S. 2014. Governing large-scale social-ecological systems: lessons from five cases. International Journal of the Commons. 8 (2): 428–456
Evans L, Ban N, Schoon M, and Nenadovic M. 2014. Keeping the ‘Great’ in the Great Barrier Reef: The GBR Marine Park as a large-scale social-ecological system. International Journal of the Commons. 8 (2): 396–427
Winter floods and policy change. 2014-2015. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council urgent grants. The research questions include:
- Do the periods following major national crises offer potential for initiating change in policy and response approaches to floods?
- What framings are identifiable across the wide range of actors affected by and involved with the 2013/14 floods and how are they linked to specific solutions and outcomes?
- Which framings dominate or become marginalised over time and with what implications for longer-term responses?
- How are longer-term issues such as land use, agricultural policy, climate change adaptation and sustainability, incorporated and addressed?
Testing an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management through participatory diagnosis. 2011-2014. A regional action research project across Indonesia, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Tanzania led by WorldFish and funded by the EU. The aims were to:
- Explore how EAFM aligns with existing governance institutions
- Apply EAFM through a participatory diagnosis and adaptive management process.
- Investigate how the costs and benefits of EAFM are differentially distributed and experienced.
Eriksson H, Adhuri DS, Adrianto L, Andrew NL, Aprilanis T, Daw T, Evans L, Garces L, Kamanyi E, Mwaipopo R, Purnomo AH, Sulu RJ, and Beare D. 2016. An ecosystem approach to small-scale fisheries through participatory diagnosis in four tropical countries. Global Environmental Change. 36: 56-66
Leadership in Integrated Conservation and Development. 2013-2014. An interdisciplinary collaboration between environmental and management scientists aiming to:
- Understand how leadership is conceptualised and analysed in the sustainability sciences
- Investigate how sources of leadership interact in the Coral Triangle Initiative in the Solomon Islands.
Evans LS, Cohen PJ, Vave-Karamui A, Masu R, Boso D, Mauli S. 2018. Reconciling multiple societal objectives in cross-scale marine governance: Solomon Islands’ engagement in the Coral Triangle Initiative. Society and Natural Resources 31 (1): 121-135
Evans LS, Cohen PJ, Case P, Hicks CC, Prideaux M, Mills D. 2017. The landscape of leadership in environmental government. Human Ecology. 45 (3): 357-365
Case P, Evans L S, Fabinyi M, Cohen PJ, Hicks CC, Prideaux M, and Mills DM. 2015. Rethinking environmental leadership: The social construction of leaders and leadership in discourses of ecological crisis, development, and conservation. Leadership. 11 (4): 396-423
Evans LS, Hicks CC, Cohen PJ, Case P, Prideaux M, and Mills DM. 2015. Understanding leadership in the environmental sciences. Ecology & Society. 20 (1): 50
Limits to Climate Change Adaptation on the Great Barrier Reef. 2010-2012. Funded by the Australian National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility. Objectives were to:
- Develop future scenarios of the Great Barrier Reef under climate change and limited vs ideal adaptation.
- To use these scenarios to explore adaptation actions and the capacity to reduce vulnerability of fisheries and tourism industry to climate change impacts.
Evans LS, Hicks CC, Adger WN, Barnett J, Perry AL, Fidelman P, and Tobin R. 2016. The social limits to climate change adaptation in the Great Barrier Reef. Plos One. 11 (3), e0150575
Barnett J, Evans L, Gross C, Kiem A, Kingsford R, Palutikof J, Pickering C, and Smithers S. 2015. From barriers to limits to climate change adaptation: path dependency and the speed of change. Ecology and Society 20(3): 5.
Evans LS, Hicks CC, Fidelman P, Tobin RC, and Perry AL. 2013. Future Scenarios as a Research Tool: Investigating Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation Options and Outcomes for the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Human Ecology. 41 (6), 841-857
2021-2024. £1.5 million. PI. UKRI Strategic Priority Fund on Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources. Sustainable Development and Resilience of UK Coastal Communities (ROCC).
2021-2023 £15,000. PI Exeter-Duke Collaboration. Blue Justice: triple exposure in marine systems. Plus Co-I FRB Centre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity (CESAB). Blue Justice Working Group.
2020-2021. £200,000. PI. UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund Climate Resilience Network Development Scoping Grant. Young Blue Futures. *Cancelled as part of ODA/GCRF cuts in 2021.
2017-2022. £6.6 million. Co-I. UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund GROW Programme. Blue Communities.
2018-2019. £4,700. Co-I. GCRF Impact Accelerator Award. Scaling-up impact and application of Blue Communities’ marine management tools and approaches in SE Asia.
2017. £25,000. PI. ESRC Impact Accelerator Award. Buoyed
2016. £200,000. Co-I. UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund. Building Socio-Ecological Resilience to Coral Reef Degradation in the Islands of the Western Indian Ocean.
2016. US$250,000. Co-I. Productivity in the EACC under climate change. Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association MASMA grant.
2015. £25,000. Co-I. BLUE Marine Foundation grant to evaluate management and partnership activities in Lyme Bay.
2014-2015. £200,000. Co-I. Economic and Social Research Council Urgent Grant on Flood Policy.
2014. £6,000. PI. Humanities and Social Science Project Development Fund from Exeter University for research on environmental leadership.
2012 - 2013. AU$ 8,500. PI. Collaborating across Boundaries grant from James Cook University for research on leadership and influence networks in sustainable development policy.
2012 - 2013. AU$ 15,000. PI. Competitive Research Incentive Grant from James Cook University for research on governance transitions in the Solomon Islands (in addition to my internal post-doctoral research funding).
2012 - 2014. Euro 1.2 million. PI. European Commission grant awarded to WorldFish for research on operationalising the ecosystem approach to fisheries management. I led the grant application and lead the Tanzanian research.
2010 - 2011. AU$ 100,000. PI. National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility for research on Limits to Climate Change Adaptation on the Great Barrier Reef.
2004 - 2008. ESRC/NERC grant for my PhD.
Publications by category
Publications by year
Louisa_Evans Details from cache as at 2023-12-05 18:12:30
External Engagement and Impact
Institutional Academic Lead and Academic Advisory Board Member SWDTP (ESRC Doctoral Training Programme)
Exeter Co-Director Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Management of Marine Resources (SuMMeR CDT)
External Examiner Positions
MSc Climate Development and Policy (University of Sussex)
MSc Environmental Leadership and Management (University of Nottingham)
External doctoral examining nationally and internationally
2021 External Examiner for PhD Derby University, UK
2020 External Examiner for PhD Licentiate, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden
2017 External Examiner for PhD University of Melbourne, Australia
2017 External Examiner for PhD University Murcia, Spain
2016 External Examiner for PhD University College London, UK
2013 External Examiner for PhD Waikato University, New Zealand
2011 External Examiner for MA. Australian National University
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2017)
- Post-graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (2016)
Supervision / Group
- Liliana Bastian
- Pamela Buchan Investigating marine citizenship and its role in creating good marine environmental health
- Sophia Buchanan Barlow Investigating human and environment interdependency through relational wellbeing in blue-green spaces
- Kate Holden
- Bram Reinout Syrus Wanrooij Islandness and climate change
- Pamela Buchan (PhD). Investigating marine citizenship and its role in creating good marine environmental health. University of Exeter. Completed 2021
- Philippa Cohen (PhD) The contribution of locally managed marine areas to small-scale fisheries and food security - a Solomon Islands case study. James Cook University. Completed 2011
- Melanie Hamel (PhD) Coral reef conservation planning based on habitat, biodiversity or fisheries data: costs and benefits for traditional resource users and for conservation. James Cook University. Completed 2015. Received a commendation from the Dean.
- Milena Kim (PhD) Species-based Prioritisation in Australia - an analysis of the political, institutional and technical factors affecting uptake. James Cook University. Completed 2013
- Oana Stefancu Fairness, sense of place and well-being in communities subject to government adaptation responses to climate change: a study in West Bengal