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Joana Ferreira

Agricultural Economic Modeller
Policy, Innovation and Behaviour Change
Land Economy, Environment and Behaviour Change

Research interests 

As an ecologist and an ecological economist, I am interested in:

  • conservation behaviour and its socio-economic determinants,
  • valuation of ecosystem services,
  • sustainable forestry and agriculture (both in developed and developing countries),
  • ecological quality indicators,
  • spider ecology, and
  • environmental education.

Recent work has focused on the role of knowledge in biodiversity conservation behaviour and socio-economic determinants of water saving behaviour in the European Union, as well as an assessment of the environmental values and attitudes of undergraduates in agro-environmental studies in SRUC.

Other recent work includes catchment-level modelling of smallholder farms as part of research on Malawi on the impact of the adoption of conservation agriculture and agroforestry on watershed services (in the context of climate change adaptation), and on the potential for the creation of a watershed ecosystem services market that could finance the switch to these more sustainable practices.

I have previously done ecological research on spiders as potential bioindicators of heavy metal soil pollution in agrosystems (MSc dissertation, 2010; impact assessment study and report for Portuguese NGO, 2011) and assisted research on the provision of ecosystem services by riparian forest strips in oil palm plantations in Sabah, Borneo (SAFE Project, 2012).

Selected research projects

  • RESAS: 2.4.1 Resilience of Rural Economies to Key External Drivers (2016-2021)
  • RESAS: 3.1.4 Food Waste (2016-20121)
    A work package that seeks to research both technological solutions for the reduction of food waste and the socio-economic drivers of food waste throughout the food-chain.
  • Assessing the UK plant breeding sector and patent rights (2016)
    Commissioned by the UK Intellectual Property Office. This work assessed the economic value of plant breeding in the UK and did an initial scoping of sector views on the importance of existing IP rights to research and to business financial viability.
  • Oak Processionary Moth Comparison Study – Extension (2016)
    An extension on previous SRUC work, commissioned by the Forestry Commission. An OPM management cost-benefit calculation tool was developed using scenarios, to account for lack of data on this recently established pest and its possible impacts on human health.


I teach undergraduate Economics (1st Year/HNC), Resource Economics (2nd Year/HND), Data Collection and Handling (2nd Year/HND), Research Skills and Data Analysis (3rd Yea/BSc) and assist with Environmental Economics (4th Year/Honours) across various undergraduate programmes at the SRUC Edinburgh Campus.

Selected publications

  • Ferreira, J.G., Abbot, P.; Barnes, A.P. (submitted). Payments for Watershed Services: what's in it for the Private Buyer? A case study from Central Malawi.
  • Ferreira, J.G., Abbot, P., Barnes, A.P., 2016. 11. Catchment-level Modelling, in: Shrestha, S., Barnes, A.P., Ahmadi, B.V. (Eds.), Farm-Level Modelling: Techniques, Applications and Policy. CABI Publications, London, UK, pp. 156–172.

Joana Ferreira

Address: Land Economy, Environment and Society Research Group, SRUC, Peter Wilson Building, West Mains Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3JG, United Kingdom

Telephone: 0131 535 4153