School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences

Dr Sam Staddon

[Photo of me]

ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Fellow [0.5FTE]

Lecturer in Environment & Development [0.3FTE]

University of Edinburgh, Drummond Library G.01, Drummond Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9XP

+44 (0)131 650 2269


Research interests

My interests lie in the social relations and political entanglements involved in community-based approaches to the conservation of nature, and within the build environment of energy. I am interested in the roles of both local and 'intermediary' actors in discursively and materially shaping opportunities for equity and justice. Questions I am currently pursuing include the role of social interactions between conservationists and land managers in Scotland, and the relationship between personal and professional experiences of domestic energy efficiency amongst researchers in the UK. My recently started ESRC GCRF Fellowship will allow me to build on my PhD to explore the 'paradox of participation' to address issues of social equity in community forest monitoring.

My past research has focused on the social dimensions of participatory ecological monitoring in the community forests of Nepal (for my PhD), stakeholders in the harvesting of moss as a non-timber forest product in Scotland (for my second Masters), and plant-frugivore relations in the south Pacific (for my first Masters). Before returning to academia in 2005, I trained and then worked as an ecologist and conservationist for 8 years, including in the Tanzania, Peru, New Zealand, Scandinavia and the UK.

Empirically and conceptually, my research deals with biodiversity conservation, community-based approaches to conservation and natural resource management, participation and politics in environmental governance, community forestry, ecosystem services, 'traditional ecological knowledge' (TEK), embodied and tacit knowledge, politics of knowledge exchange, situated and social interactions, energy efficiency in domestic and non-domestic environments, and energy literacy. Theoretically my research draws on multiple fields, including political ecology, participatory development studies, anthropologies of development, and theories of social practice. Methodologically I adopt a range of qualitative data collection and analysis approaches. Pedagogically I am interested in student-led fieldwork and am keen to promote the importance of positionality and ethics. Reflecting my background, I am keen to work across disciplines, for example bringing together conservation science and the social sciences.

I currently work on a part-time basis in order to combine my academic research with a family life involving my two little girls.



PhD Geography (University of Edinburgh, 2006-2012) [including 2 maternity leaves and part-time working (0.6FTE)]

MSc Natural Resource Management Distinction (University of Edinburgh 2005-06)

MSc Biodiversity & Conservation Distinction (University of Leeds 1999-2000)

BSc Hons Ecology & Environmental Science First Class (University of Lancaster 1994-97)



Lecturer in Environment & Development University of Edinburgh (Aug.2017-present) [0.3FTE]

ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Fellow University of Edinburgh (Jan.2017-Dec.2018) [0.5FTE]

PDRA TEDDInet, University Of Edinburgh (Sept. 2013-Dec. 2016) [part-time 0.5FTE] []

Teaching Fellow in Environment and Development, University of Edinburgh (Sept. 2012-Dec.2016) [0.2FTE]

Participatory Appraisal Consultant (part-time, 2006-2008)

Research Assistant, Universities of Leeds, York & Wellington (New Zealand) (2005)

Consultant Ecologist, Environmental Advice Centre (2004)

Research Co-ordinator, Society for Environmental Exploration, Tanzania (2001-2003)

Survey Assistant, Somerset Environmental Records Centre (1999)

Naturalist Guide, Explorer’s Inn, Peru (1998)



Wells G., Fisher J., Porras I., Staddon S. & Ryan C. (2017) Rethinking monitoring in smallholder carbon payments for ecosystem service schemes: devolve monitoring, understand accuracy and identify co-benefits. Ecological Economics, 139, 115-127.

Staddon S. (2017) Reflecting on personal and professional energy stories in energy demand research. Energy Research & Social Science, published online 21 June 2017.

Mallaband B., Staddon S. & Wood G. (2017) Crossing transdisciplinary boundaries within energy research: An 'on the ground' perspective from early career researchers. Energy Research & Social Science, 26, 107-111.

Mallaband B., Wood G., Buchanan K., Staddon S., Mogles N. & Gabe-Thomas E. (2017) Integrating social science into UK energy research: A reality check from those on the inside. Energy Research & Social Science, 25, 9-18.


Staddon S., Cycil C., Goulden M., Leygue C. & Spence A. (2016) Intervening to Change Behaviour and Save Energy in the Workplace. A Systematic Review of Available Evidence. Energy Research & Social Science, 17, 30-51.

Van der Horst D., Harrison C., Staddon S. & Wood G. (2016) Improving energy literacy through student-led fieldwork - at home. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 40, 67-76.


Staddon S., Nightingale A. & Shrestha S.K. (2015) Exploring participation in ecological monitoring in Nepal's community forests. Environmental Conservation, 42(3), 268-277. 


van der Horst D., Staddon S. & Webb J. (2014) Smart energy, and society? Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 26:10, 1111-1117. 

Staddon S., Nightingale A. & Shrestha S.K. (2014) The social nature of participatory ecological monitoring. Society & Natural Resources, 27(9), 899-914. 

Staddon S. (2014) The Ethics of ‘Giving Back’ to Communities involved in fieldwork. In (ed.) J. Lunn. Ethical challenges and dilemmas of fieldwork in the Global South. London, Routledge, pp.249-261.


Staddon S. (2012) Keeping Track of Nature: Interdisciplinary Insights for Participatory Ecological Monitoring. PhD thesis, University of Edinburgh.

Staddon S., Compton S.G. & Portch A. (2010) Dispersal of fig seeds in the Cook Islands: Introduced frugivores are no substitute for natives. Biodiversity & Conservation, 19, 1905-1916. 

Staddon S. (2009) Carbon Financing and Community Forestry: A Review of the Questions, Challenges and the Case of Nepal. Journal of Forest & Livelihood, 8, 25-32. 

Holt A.R., Davies Z.G., Tyler C., Staddon S. (2008) Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Predation on Animal Prey Abundance: Evidence from UK Vertebrates. PLoS ONE 3(6): e2400.

Staddon S. & Dyke A.J. (2007) ‘Moss harvesting in Scottish forests: Its extent, value and sustainability’, Scottish Forestry, 63 (1), 61-21

Staddon S. (2007) 'Masses of Moss', Non-Wood News, 15, 32-34 

Staddon S. (2007) Broadening participation in biological monitoring: handbook for scientists and managers. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Pilz D., Ballard H. & Jones E. (2006) ‘Book Review’, Reforesting Scotland, Autumn/Winter 2007.


Conference presentations

BEHAVE 2016. 4th European Conference on Behaviour and Energy Efficiency. Coimbra, Portugal, September 2016. 'The Personal and Professional in Researching End-Use Energy Demand'

XXVI ESRS Congress 2015, Aberdeen 2015. '"Conservation's all about having a blether and getting people on board" social dynamics in Scottish nature conservation'

RGS- IBG Annual International Conference 2015, Exeter 2015. Personal and professional stories of energy in the development of smart energy technologies.

BES Special Interest Group on Citizen Science workshop: 'Understanding Participants in citizen Science' BES London, 2015. Exploring who and what participatory ecological monitoring is for.

‘Contribution of the amateur to understanding environmental change’, University of Nottingham, 2010. Participatory ecological monitoring: who and what is it for?

British Ecological Society Annual Meeting 2010, University of Leeds, 2010. ‘Monitoring Matters’, or does it? New ideas on participating in ecological monitoring

RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2010, RGS, London, 2010. The social nature of participatory environmental monitoring; The ethics of ‘giving back’ to communities involved in fieldwork

British Nepal Academic Council (BNAC) Study Day, University of Edinburgh, 2009. Participating in Environmental Monitoring: Insights from the Forests of Nepal

International Association for the Study of the Commons Biennial Conference 2008, University of Gloucestershire, 2008. Environmental monitoring, community participation and governance of the commons: insights from Nepal

Ethnobotanical Society of Nepal, Kathmandu, 2008. Community-based monitoring: insights from Nepal’s community forestry

Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting 2007, San Francisco, 2007. Forest monitoring by local communities: What impacts for society and the environment?



ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Fellowship

PhD Landscape Research Group (winning prize for PhD thesis in category ‘Science, Planning & Management’ 2013); ESRC/NERC Interdisciplinary Studentship; British Ecological Society; Centenary Research Fund; Elizabeth Sinclair Award; Dudley Stamp Memorial Fund

MSc Natural Resource Management NERC Studentship; Forestry Commission Scotland; Scottish Forest Industries Cluster

MSc Biodiversity & Conservation University of Leeds Bursary; Mouat Jones/Harvey/Boyle Travel Fund; Garstang Priestly Travel Fund