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Evangelia (Elia) Apostolopoulou PhD

Evangelia (Elia) Apostolopoulou PhD

University Lecturer

My main research interest is the investigation of nature-society relationships in capitalism with an 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, uneven development and the capitalist production of nature and space, planetary urbanisation, social-environmental justice and grassroots innovation.



  • 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.
  • 2013: Visiting Academic. Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.
  • 2012: Visiting Academic. Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.
  • 2011-2012: Visiting Lecturer. Department of Ecology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
  • 2011: Scientific coordinator and project manager. International Environmental NGO MEDASSET, Athens, Greece.
  • 2011: Visiting Researcher. Environmental Policy Centre of Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Helsinki.
  • 2010-2011: Assistant lecturer. Department of Ecology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.


  • 2009: PhD in Political Ecology (with honors). Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
  • 2004-2005: MSc courses in Environmental Biology. Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
  • 2003: BSc in Biology. Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.


  • 2019: HFRI (Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation), Greek Ministry of Education and EU funds. Project Title: From the 'right to the city' to the 'right to nature': Exploring environmental movements in the Anthropocene as pathways to social-ecological sustainability. Principal Investigator.

  • 2017: Rachel Carson Writing Fellowship. Project Title: A Historical-Geographical Analysis of the Evolution of Market-Based Conservation.
  • 2017: BA/Leverhulme Research Grant. Project Title: Rights to nature in the post-crisis era: Tracing alternative political ecologies against the neoliberal environmental agenda through the study of environmental movements. Principal Investigator.
  • 2016: Organiser of the sponsored 2016 Geoforum Conference.
  • 2014-2016: Marie Curie Individual Intra-European Fellowship for Career Development. Project Title: Conservation and Ecosystem Services in the New biodiversity Economy - CESINE.
  • 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 - 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 restructuring of nature-society relationships in the era following the 2008 financial crash with an emphasis on environmental markets, ii) environmental offsetting and planetary urbanization, iii) environmental movements across the Global South and North and social-environmental justice with an emphasis on the right to the city and how it can be linked to the right to nature, iv) critical political economy, and particularly on the nature valuation debate, v) urban agriculture, and vi) the role of grassroots innovations and citizen engagement for a transition to social-ecological sustainability.

The right to nature in the post-crisis era: an exploration of environmental movements and grassroots innovations as pathways to sustainability (HFRI Research Innovation Grant, 2019-2021).

In the era following the 2008 financial crash many areas across the global south and north have witnessed the re-birth of environmental politics and the emergence of alternative approaches to nature-society relations. In this project, by focusing on emerging movements and grassroots innovations in both urban and rural places, I aim to address the following key research question: which are the underlying causes and impacts of increasing environmental conflicts, and how can we turn such conflicts and emerging environment-related social movements and struggles into forces for environmental sustainability?

To address this question, research will be conducted in places where communities face displacement, exploitation or/and dispossession from urban and rural green spaces and natural landscapes/ecosystems. Methods will involve in-depth ethnographic research, surveys and counter-mapping to document the arguments and narratives that motivate environmental struggles with an emphasis on the emergence of grassroots innovations as responses to social-environmental challenges. Case studies include anti-fracking, and anti-privatization struggles as well as various community innovations. By addressing processes of transformative change and paying attention to the compelling resemblances and discrepancies in the selected cases, my aim is to produce a set of novel conceptual and methodological tools for analysing emerging movements and grassroots innovations as pathways to social-environmental sustainability. It is worth noticing that this research is directly related to the edited book I have recently edited: Apostolopoulou, E., Cortes-Vazquez, J. 2018. The Right to Nature: Environmental justice, social movements and neoliberal natures. Routledge-Earthscan.


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

  • 2018-present: Co-Editor, ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies.

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