Dr. Sara Nelson

Dr. Sara Nelson (University of British Columbia) completed her PhD in Geography at the University of Minnesota in May 2017. Her research combines historical and ethnographic methods to explore the politics of value in environmental conservation, with particular focus on Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) programs. Her contemporary fieldwork takes a multi-scalar approach to the politics of environmental valuation at international and national levels, with a regional focus on the Americas. She has conducted ethnographic research into the geopolitics of environmental valuation through participant observation in the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and her current research focuses on the political geographies of water, energy, and conservation in freshwater PES programs in Latin America and the United States. Her research has been published in the journals Antipode; Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses; Capitalism Nature Socialism; and South Atlantic Quarterly, among others.

Sample publications

Nelson S., L. Bremer, K. Meza-Prado and K. Brauman. Producing infrastructural nature: Water funds and alternative histories of Payments for Ecosystem Services in Valle del Cauca, Colombia. In review for special issue of Development and Change, “Beyond Market Logics: Payments for Ecosystem Services as Alternative Development Practices in the Global South,” eds. Elizabeth Shapiro-Garza, Esteve Colbera, Pam McElwee, and Gert van Hecken.  

Bremer L., K. Brauman, A. Fiorini, K. Meza Prado, S. Nelson, E. Wilburn. Payments for Watershed Services: Social outcomes through the lens of relational values. In review for Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.

Nelson S. (2017) Afterlives of disaster: rationalizing environmental values in the wake of the Exxon Valdez. Capitalism Nature Socialism 28(1).

Nelson S. (2015) Beyond The Limits to Growth: Ecology and the neoliberal counterrevolution. Antipode 47(2):461-80.

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