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Evangelia (Elia) Apostolopoulou PhD

Evangelia (Elia) Apostolopoulou PhD

University Lecturer

My main research interest is the investigation of nature-society relationship in capitalism with a particular emphasis on the political ecology of nature conservation and urban political ecology. My current research is mainly guided by radical geographical research on the neoliberalisation of nature and neoliberal conservation, on the historical-geographic conception of neoliberalism, on uneven development and the capitalist production of nature and space, as well as by Marxist political economy and especially the Marxian theory of value and rent.



  • 2017-present: University Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.
  • 2017: Carson Fellow, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.
  • 2016-2017: Departmental lecturer in Human Geography, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford.
  • 2014-2016: Marie Curie Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.
  • 2015: Visiting Scholar. Center for Place, Culture and Politics (CPCP), City University of New York (CUNY).
  • 2013-2014: Post-doctoral Research Associate, Department of Geography and Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge.
  • 2009-2013: Post-doctoral Research Associate, Department of Ecology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Working on the FP7 Large-scale integrated Research Project SCALES (Securing the Conservation of biodiversity across Administrative Levels and spatial, temporal and Ecological Scales) coordinated by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ).
  • 2013: Visiting Academic. Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.
  • 2012: Visiting Academic. Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.
  • 2011-2012: Visiting Lecturer (P.D. 407/80) at the Department of Ecology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
  • 2011: Scientific coordinator of the project "Sustainable Management of Tourist Destinations: Biodiversity and Local Communities", International Environmental NGO Medasset, Greece.
  • 2011: Visiting Researcher. Environmental Policy Centre of Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Helsinki.
  • 2010-2011: Assistant lecturer. Postgraduate Studies Program of the Department of Ecology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.


  • 2009: PhD in Political Ecology (with honors). Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Thesis topic: Social conflicts during the implementation of nature conservation policies.
  • 2004-2005: MSc courses in Environmental Biology. Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
  • 2003: BSc in Biology. Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.


  • 2017: Rachel Carson Writing Fellowship (RCC Research Project: 'A Historical-Geographical Analysis of the Evolution of Market-Based Conservation in Europe: The Case of the UK').
  • 2017: BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant ('Rights to nature in post-crisis Europe: Tracing alternative political ecologies against the neoliberal environmental agenda through the study of environmental movements').
  • 2016: Organiser of the sponsored 2016 Geoforum Conference.
  • 2014-2016: Marie Curie Individual Intra-European Fellowship for Career Development (IEF).
  • 2014-2016: Post-Doctoral By-Fellow Elect, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, UK.
  • 2013: Honorary Fellowship from the Research Committee of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.
  • 2008: Marie Curie Fellowship for participation in the Training Course on the Human Dimension of Global Environmental Change, Berlin, Germany.
  • 2005-2008: Three-year PhD Scholarship from the General Secretariat of Research and Technology of Greek Ministry of Development (co-financed by the EU).


My current research mainly focuses on i) the neoliberalization of nature in post-crisis Europe and neoliberal conservation with an emphasis on free market environmentalism and environmental markets, ii) environmental offsetting and extended urbanization, iii) environmental movements in the post-crisis era with an emphasis on the right to the city and how it can be linked to the right to nature, iv) critical political economy, particularly on an analysis of the commodification of nature from the perspective of the theory of value and rent and v) extreme energy in the UK with an emphasis on fracking.

Rights to nature in post-crisis Europe: Tracing alternative political ecologies to the neoliberal environmental agenda through the study of emerging environmental movements (BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant, 2017-2018)

In this project in collaboration with Dr. Jose Cortes Vazquez (University of A Coruna) we explore the impact of the 2008 economic crash (and the following global economic crisis) on nature-society relations in Europe. We pay particular attention on the various environmental movements that have been opposing the neoliberal restructuring of environmental policies using arguments that often bridge traditional divisions between the environmental and labour agendas. In this project we study this phenomenon in four EU countries: Greece, Ireland, Spain and the UK. Our key goals are firstly, to document the social-ecological impacts of neoliberal attempts to exploit non-human nature in post-crisis Europe; and secondly, to analyse the opposition of emerging environmental movements and their demands for a different policy approach based on social needs and environmental justice. We aim to engage with local communities and activists through participatory qualitative social science research in order to map out the arguments, drivers and narratives that motivate their struggles and produce a set of groundbreaking empirical data about alternative and counter-hegemonic re-thinking of environmental politics in Europe.

A historical-geographical analysis of the evolution of market-based conservation in Europe: the case of the UK (Rachel Carson Fellowship, 2017)

The emergence of biodiversity markets —including biodiversity offsetting and payments for ecosystem services— under the rubric of green economy and green capitalism is central to the transformation of nature conservation and emblematic of a widespread turn to market-based solutions to biodiversity loss, and the broader shift towards the neoliberalization of nature. Using the UK as a case study, this project aims to analyze how and why biodiversity conservation in Europe is being reconstructed around the measurement of the economic values of nature, as well as its profound implications for nature-society relationships. In particular, the key project objectives are: (i) to provide a historical-geographical analysis of the evolution of biodiversity markets in Europe —along with a more in-depth analysis of the UK case— starting from the early 1990s, paying attention to the effects of the economic crisis with the goal of providing a sound explanation of how and why these markets have emerged and succeeded (or not) to operate; (ii) to identify the social, cultural and economic impacts of these markets and the socio-spatial, economic, and environmental injustices they potentially create or reinforce; (iii) to analyze how different actors are enrolled in their establishments, both materially and ideologically, and how they frame their support for or opposition to them; and (iv), to discuss alternative paths to prevent ecosystem degradation beyond market-based environmentalism.


Selected papers

  • Apostolopoulou, E., Adams, W. Cutting Nature to Fit: Urbanization, neoliberalism and biodiversity offsetting in England. Geoforum,
  • Apostolopoulou, E., Adams, W.M., Greco, E. Biodiversity offsetting and 'equivalent natures': unraveling the contradictions of the capitalist production of nature. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, accepted for publication.
  • Apostolopoulou, E., Adams, W.M. 2017. Biodiversity offsetting and the reframing of conservation: a reply to ten Kate & von Hase and Dempsey & Collard. Oryx 51, 40-42.
  • Apostolopoulou, E., Adams, W.M. 2017. Offsetting biodiversity: reframing nature to save it. Oryx 51, 23-31.
  • Apostolopoulou, E. 2016. Biodiversity offsetting in England: governance rescaling, socio-spatial injustices and the neoliberalisation of nature. Web Ecology 6, 67-71.
  • Salomaa, A., Paloniemi, R., Kotiaho, J., Kettunen, M., Apostolopoulou, E., Cent, J. 2016. Potential of green infrastructure to promote connectivity and contribute to the conservation of biodiversity. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 35, 265-288.
  • Garmendia, E., Apostolopoulou, E., Adams, W.M, Bormpoudakis, D. 2016. Biodiversity and Green Infrastructure in Europe: a boundary object or an ecological trap. Land Use Policy 56, 315-319.
  • Apostolopoulou, E., Adams, W.M. 2015. Neoliberal capitalism and conservation in the post-crisis era: the dialectics of "green" and "un-green" grabbing in Greece and the UK. Antipode 47, 15-35.
  • Paloniemi, R., Apostolopoulou, E., Cent, J., et al. 2015. Public participation and environmental justice in biodiversity governance in Finland, Greece, Poland and the UK. Environmental Policy and Governance, doi: 10.1002/eet.1672.
  • Kallimanis, A.S., Touloumis, K., Tzanopoulos, J., Mazaris, A.D., Apostolopoulou, E., et al. 2015. Vegetation coverage change in the EU: patterns inside and outside Natura 2000 protected areas. Biodiversity and Conservation 24, 579-591.
  • Apostolopoulou, E., Bormpoudakis, D., Paloniemi, R., et al. 2014. Governance rescaling and the neoliberalization of nature: The case of biodiversity conservation in four EU countries. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 21, 481–494.
  • Haila, Y., Henle, K., Apostolopoulou, E., et al. 2014. Confronting and Coping with Uncertainty in Biodiversity Research and Praxis. Nature Conservation 8, 45-75.
  • Tsianou, M.A., Mazaris, A.D., Kallimanis, A.S., Deligioridi, P-S.K., Apostolopoulou, E., Pantis, J.D. 2013. Identifying the criteria underlying the political decision for the prioritization of the Greek Natura 2000 conservation network. Biological Conservation 166, 103-110.
  • Tsiafouli, M., Apostolopoulou, E., Mazaris, A., et al. 2013. Human activities in Natura 2000 sites: a highly diversified conservation network. Environmental Management 51, 1025-1033.
  • Apostolopoulou, E., Paloniemi, R. 2012. Frames of scale challenges in Finnish and Greek biodiversity conservation. Ecology and Society 17(4): 9.
  • Apostolopoulou, E., Drakou, E.G., Pediaditi, K. 2012. Participation in the management of Greek Natura 2000 sites: Evidence from a cross-level analysis. Journal of Environmental Management 113, 308-318.
  • Paloniemi, R., Apostolopoulou, E., Primmer, E,. et al. 2012. Biodiversity conservation across scales: lessons from a science-policy dialogue. Nature Conservation 2, 7-19.
  • Apostolopoulou, E., Drakou, E., Santoro, F., Pantis, J.D. 2012. Investigating the barriers to adopting a "human-in-nature" view in Greek biodiversity conservation. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 19, 515-525.
  • Apostolopoulou, E. 2012. Social and economic implications of environmental policy and the role of collaborative governance: The case of Schinias. Geographies 19, 89-107. (in Greek)
  • Drakou, E.G., Kallimanis, A.S., Mazaris, A.D., Apostolopoulou, E., Pantis, J.D. 2011. Habitat type richness associations with environmental variables: a case study in the Greek Natura 2000 aquatic ecosystems. Biodiversity and Conservation 20, 929-943
  • Apostolopoulou, E. 2010. A critique of the dominant developmental ideology for the relationship between society and nature: The case of conservation policies. Utopia 91, 87-106. (in Greek)
  • Apostolopoulou, E., Pantis, J.D. 2010. Development plans versus conservation: explanation of emergent conflicts and governmental political handling. Environment and Planning A 42, 982-1000.
  • Apostolopoulou, E., Pantis, J.D. 2009. Conceptual gaps in the national strategy for the implementation of the European Natura 2000 conservation policy in Greece. Biological Conservation 142, 221-237.

Selected book chapters

  • Primmer, E., Paloniemi, R., Mathevet, R., Apostolopoulou, E., et al. 2014. An approach to analysing scale-sensitivity and scale-effectiveness of governance in biodiversity conservation. In: Padt, F.J.G., Opdam, P.F.M., Polman, N.B.P., Termeer, C.J.A.M. (eds.) Scale-sensitive governance of the environment. Edited volume. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons. Pp. 242-262.
  • Cent, J., Grodzinska-Jurczak, Pietrzyk-Kaszynska, A., Paloniemi, R., Apostolopoulou, E., et al. 2014. Legitimacy of site selection processes across Europe: Social construction of legitimacy in three European countries. In: Henle, K., Potts, S.G., Kunin, W.E., Matsinos, Y.G., Simila, J., Pantis, J.D., Grobelnik, V., Penev, L., Settele, J. (eds). Scaling in ecology and biodiversity conservation. Pensoft Publishers, Sofia. Pp. 180-185.
  • Apostolopoulou, E. (invited author), Drakou, E., Pantis, J.D. 2012. Unraveling stakeholders' discourses regarding sustainable development and biodiversity conservation in Greece. In: Sustainable Development - Policy and Urban Development - Tourism, Life Science, Management and Environment. InTech Publications. (ISBN 979-953-307-650-7). Pp. 405-430.
  • Apostolopoulou, Ε., Pantis, J.D. 2008. Social conflicts during the implementation of biodiversity conservation policies. In: Sustainable management of protected areas. Dimopoulos, P., Pantis, J.D., Tzanoudakis, D., Vagenas, D. (eds.). Pappas Editions, Athens, Greece. Pp. 526 - 535.
  • Apostolopoulou, Ε., Pantis, J.D. 2006. Political Ecology and protected areas. In: Political ecology in Greece. Evonimos Ecological Library, Athens, Greece. Pp. 190-203.


  • Economic Globalization and its Crises
  • Human Geography Research and Analysis Skills
  • MPhil in Conservation Leadership

External activities

  • 2011-present: Research Fellow in Earth System Governance Project.
  • 2005-2012: Freelance journalist on environmental and political issues.