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Alistair McVittie

Ecosystem Services Economist
Sustainable Ecosystems
Land Economy, Environment & Society

Research interests 

Alistair McVittie is an environmental economist with research interests in the evaluation of agricultural and environmental policy, particularly through the application of cost benefit analysis and non-market valuation. Recent work has included the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Quantitative Assessment and inputs into ‘TEEB for Business’ chapter 2; refining and updating the environmental accounts for agriculture; and the development of marginal abatement cost curves for agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

Selected research projects

  • Natural Asset Register and Natural Capital Accounts
    Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme (2016-21): lead investigator in developing natural asset register and natural capital accounts for Scotland.
  • EU strategy on adaptation to climate change: knowledge assessments
    European Commission (2016): partner in DG Clima service contract assessing the evidence on ecosystem-based adaptation measures.
  • The benefits to people of expanding Marine Protected Areas
    WWF and Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs (2014-15): project assessing the costs and benefits of global expansion in marine protected areas.
  • Valuing the impacts of ecosystem service interactions
    NERC Valuing Nature Network (2011-12): pilot project leader on interdisciplinary study to evaluate the impact of agricultural management on the fresh water environment.
  • Sustainable farm Management Aimed at Reducing Threats to SOILs under climate change (SmartSOIL)
    EU Framework 7 (2011-15): project partner looking at the economic and ecosystem service impacts of management measures to improve soil organic carbon stocks.


Input into Ecological Economics MSc modules on Environmental Valuation and Applications in Ecological Economics, covering use of non-market valuation techniques and Bayesian Networks. Supervision of MSc dissertations across a range of subject areas, including use of valuation, cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis, multicriteria analysis in areas including agriculture, forestry, protected areas, water, climate change and energy. Coordinator of honours degree module on Environmental Policy Analysis covering the theory and practice of policy evaluation methods.

Selected publications

  • Austin, Z., McVittie, A., McCracken, D., Moxey, A., Moran, D. and White, P.L. (2016) The co-benefits of biodiversity conservation programmes on wider ecosystem services, Ecosystem Services 20: 37-43.
  • McVittie A, Norton L, Martin-Ortega J, Siameti I, Glenk K and  Aalders I (2015) Operationalizing an ecosystem services-based approach using Bayesian Belief Networks: An application to riparian buffer strips, Ecological Economics, 110, 15-27.
  • de Groot RS, Brander L, van der Ploeg S, Bernard F, Braat L, Christie M, Costanza R, Crossman N, Ghermandi A, Hein L, Hussain S, Kumar P, McVittie A, Portela R, Rodriguez LC and ten Brink P (2012). Global estimates of the value of ecosystems and their services in monetary units, Ecosystem Services 1(1): 50-61.
  • Brander LM, Wagtendonk A, Hussain S, McVittie A, Verburg P, de Groot RS and van der Ploeg S (2012) Ecosystem service values for mangroves in Southeast Asia: A meta-analysis and value transfer application, Ecosystem Services 1(1): 62-69.
  • MacLeod M, Moran D, Eory V, Rees RM, Barnes A, Topp CFE, Ball B, Hoad S, Wall E, McVittie A, Pajot G, Matthews R, Smith P and Moxey A (2010) Developing greenhouse gas marginal abatement costs curves for agricultural emissions from crops and soils in the UK, Agricultural Systems 103: 198–209.

See all of Alistair McVittie's publications.

Alistair McVittie

Ecosystems Services Economist

Address: Land Economy, Environment & Society, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG.

Telephone: 0131 535 4064