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Marta Berbés-Blázquez obtained her PhD from the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University (Toronto, Canada) in 2015. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University (Tempe, USA) with the Urban Resilience to Extreme Events Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN). Marta’s work considers the human dimensions of environmental change with an emphasis on socially vulnerable populations. Her research has examined the interactions between ecosystems and human well-being informed by the lenses of resilience and political ecology.

Marta’s research interests are diverse. Her doctoral work investigated the ways in which different systems of resource extraction shaped well-being in agricultural communities in Costa Rica. These systems ranged from large-scale plantations (pineapples and bananas), to small coffee cooperatives, to traditional agroforestry in the Bribri indigenous territory. Marta’s work challenged ways of looking at ecosystem services by considering explicitly trade-offs, power dimensions and employing participatory action research approaches (e.g. photovoice).    As a research fellow in the Departments of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Canada), she assessed of over one hundred Canadian-funded projects supporting climate change adaptation in the global South to understand emerging patterns and blind spots of adaptation.

In her present position with the UREx SRN, she is leading scenario planning workshops in ten cities in the United States and Latin America that bring together urban practitioners and representatives of civil society groups to co-produce positive visions for the future of their cities vis-à-vis climate extremes including coastal flooding, extreme heat and drought.

In addition to being a Research Fellow in the Earth System Governance Project, Marta is also part of the Young Ecosystem Services Specialists (YESS), with the Ecosystem Services Partnership, and the Canadian Community of Practice in Ecosystem Approaches to Health (CoPEH-Can). She is also a frequent visitor at the Central American Institute for Studies on Toxic Substances in Costa Rica and the Stockholm Resilience Centre in Sweden.

Selected publications:  

  • Berbés-Blázquez, M., Bunch, M.J., Mulvihill, P.R., Peterson, G.D., van Wendel de Joode, B., (2017). Understanding how access shapes the transformation of ecosystem services to human well-being with an example from Costa Rica. Ecosystem Services (Special Issue), 28: 320-327.
  • Burch, S.L., Mitchell, C.L., Berbés-Blázquez, M., Wandel, J. (2017). Tipping toward transformation: Progress, patterns and potential for climate change adaptation in the global South. Journal of Extreme Events, 4(1).
  • Berbés-Blázquez, M., Mitchell, C.L., Burch, S.L., Wandel, J. (2017). Understanding climate change and resilience: Assessing strengths and opportunities for adaptation in the global South. Climatic Change. 141(2):227-241. doi:10.1007/s10584-017-1897-0
  • Berbés-Blázquez, M., González, J. A., Pascual, U. (2016). Towards an ecosystem services approach that addresses social power relations. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 19: 134-143. doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2016.02.003, Recommended by Faculty of 1000 (a select group of highly respected scientists in the biomedical sciences who publish short evaluations of top papers)
  • Quinlan, A., Berbés-Blázquez, M., Haider, L.J., Peterson, G.D. (2015). Measuring & assessing resilience in practice: Broadening understanding with multiple disciplinary perspectives. Journal of Applied Ecology, 53: 677-687. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12550, ISI highly cited paper
  • Berbés-Blázquez, M., Oestreicher, S.J., Mertens, F., Saint-Charles, J. (2014). Ecohealth and resilience: A dialog from experiences in research and practice. Ecology & Society, 19(2):24.
  • Berbés-Blázquez, M., Feagan, M., Waltner-Toews, D., Parkes M.W. (2014). The need for heuristics in ecohealth research. EcoHealth, 11(2). doi.10.1007/s10393-014-0946-7
  • Bunch, M.J., Parkes, M., Zubrycki, K., Venema, H., Halstrom, L., Neudorffer, C., Berbés-Blázquez, M., Morrison, K. (2014). Watershed management and public health: An exploration of the intersection of two fields as reported in the literature from 2000-2010. Environmental Management 54:240-254. doi: 10.1007/s00267-014-0301-3
  • Berbés-Blázquez, M. (2013). When a tree falls in a forest (and it does not make a sound). Human Dimensions, 2: 69-72.
  • Berbés-Blázquez, M. (2012). A participatory assessment of ecosystem services and human well-being in rural Costa Rica using photo-voice. Environmental Management, 49(4): 862-875. doi: 10.1007/s00267-012-9822-9

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