Rachel Carmenta


  • 1.23 ZICER Building

Personal profile

Academic Background

Dr Carmenta is an environmental social scientist specialising in interdisciplinary research at the intersection of environment and development, environmental risk and the relationship between place and well-being. She is particularly interested in the design, performance and social equity of environmental governance. Her work engages with an interdisciplinary set of collaborators, scales of analysis and analytical lenses in order explore what strategies perform better to reconcile the imperatives of food production, forest protection and human wellbeing in dynamic forest agriculture landscapes of the global South. In these contested frontiers, uncontrolled, recurrent and catastrophic wildfires have become a “new normal” in the context of the Anthropocene. A central strand of Rachel's work centers on the tropical wildfire complex -a leading environmental challenge at the interface of social and natural systems.

Her current research seeks to recognize the diverse interests, politics and burdens of land use change and wildfire, with a particular focus on expanding conventional impact metrics to capture the often invisible, place-based impacts of landscape flammability and conservation and development interventions on food security, health and locally defined human well-being. She is also working to explore the ways in which the plural values of nature can be embedded in policy decisions. Rachel’s work is focused primarily in the Brazilian Amazon and Indonesian peatland frontiers where she has lived for 9 years, and can be summarized along the following broad themes:  

  • Political ecology of agrarian and environmental change with a tropical fire focus  
  • Environmental justice and bio-cultural approaches to natural resource management  
  • Relationship between the environment, relational values and human-wellbeing
  • Conservation and development

Rachel is Associate Editor to People and Nature the journal of relational thinking from the BES. 


Rachel is accepting PhD students with shared interests. Please get in touch if you are self-funded or pursuing a scholarship. Competitative studentships may also be available. 



Dr Rachel Carmenta is Tyndall Centre Lecturer in Climate Change and International Development, a position held between the Tyndall Centre and the School of International Development. Rachel co-leads the Achieving well-being with Climate Action research theme within the Tyndall Centre, is a member of the Global Environmental Justice Research group, and contributes to post-graduate and undergraduate teaching within the School of International Development.

Before joining the Tyndall Centre and School of International Development at UEA, Rachel held a Frank Jackson Research Fellowship at the University of Cambridge with Wolfson College, the Conservation Research Institute (UCCRI) and the Department of Geography, prior to which she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and based in Indonesia. She holds a PhD from Lancaster Environment Center at Lancaster University. Her orginal training was in Ecology, Bsc Hons at the University of East Anglia.

Current PhD students:

Alice Hsu (ENV)

Cherie Leman-Richardson (LAW)

Grania Power (DEV)

Heather Gray (DEV)


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or