Rachel Carmenta



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 Overcoming Poverty with Climate Actions research area within the Tyndall Centre and contributes to post-graduate and undergraduate teaching within the School of International Development. She is particularly interested in the design, performance and social equity of environmental governance in geographies of risk in the Brazilian Amazon and Indonesian peatland frontiers.



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. Rachel’s work is focused in Brazilian Amazon and Indonesian peatland frontiers 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

Self-funded PhDs with shared interests are welcome to get in touch. Competitive studentships may be available.



Before joining the Tyndall Centre and School of International Development Studies 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.

Research Areas

Overcoming poverty with climate actions.


Current projects

NAVIGATE (Understanding NAture’s multiple Values for InteGrATion into dEcisions), funded by NERC, The Navigate project is one of seven new interdisciplinary studies which will improve our understanding the multiple plural values of nature and how they can be better integrated in to economic decision making and policy.

FIRE-ADAPT (The Role of Integrated Fire Management on Climate Change Adaptation for Ecosystem Services in Tropical and Subtropical Regions), funded my UKRI and Marie Curie, this project focuses on Integrated Fire Management (IFM) in climate change adaptation for ecosystem services, in tropical and subtropical regions. Specifically, the project will investigate the role of different ecosystem management practices and knowledges, such as prescribed fire, in enhancing biodiversity, carbon sequestration and the plural (i.e. material and non-material) values of landscapes for local communities. Rachel co-leads the work-package on intercultural ecosystem services and knowledge of IFM.

The “KaLi” (Kalimantan Lestari – Sustainable Kalimantan) project aims to develop an interdisciplinary understanding of Indonesian peat fires, drivers and impacts in order to synthesize findings and co-create with local partners and communities, solutions that more equitably reduce fire risk and vulnerabilities.  KaLi is a four year project funded by the GCRF under the multi-hazards call. A key focus of the work being led by UEA aims to expand impact metrics to bring a better understanding of the multi-dimensional burden of landscape flammability for local communities, specifically impacts on human well-being and relational values.


Completed projects

Flame-Free: Solutions to reduce the socio-environmental impacts of fire in Amazonian Forests under Sustainable Use funded by CNPq Brazil (Brazilian Research Council) aims to understand the relationships between small scale agricultural fire management practices, forest fires, and their social-ecological consequences in two sustainable use reserves of the Brazilian Amazon where landscape flammability and the risk of escaped fire has increased in recent years. The intention is to inform integrated fire management within these landscapes that builds on diverse knowledges and strengthens response capacity.

Evaluating the impact of REDD+ project activities on rates of habitat conversion and local livelihoods in the Gola Forest National Park is funded by the GCRF. This project involves an evaluation of a long standing REDD+ intervention using a before, after, control and intervention (BACI) approach. A specific focus of this project has been to expand the initial impact metrics to incorporate a perception-based assessment to understand impacts on locally defined human well-being.