School of Earth and Environment

Julia Martin-Ortega Dr Julia Martin-Ortega

Associate Prof: Ecological Economics

Telephone number: +44(0) 113 34 39752
Email address:
Room: 9.109

Affiliation: Sustainability Research Institute


Julia has an interdisciplinary background in environmental sciences and economics, with an emphasis on environmental valuation and qualitative and participatory approaches and a focus on water research. Graduated as Doctor in the University of Cordoba (Spain), Julia joined the Sustainability Research Insitute in July 2015, after 5 years as Senior Researcher at The James Hutton Institute in Scotland. Previously, she had worked for the Basque Centre for Climate Change (Spain) and was a guest researcher at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) of the VU University in Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

Julia is author of 42 ISI-indexed publications and >46 other peer reviewed publications, including the multi-authored book Water Ecosystem Services: A Global Perspective by Cambridge University Press, that she has led and that is now open access (dowload here for free). She is also author of a number of knowledge exchange outputs addressed to non-academic audiences.

She is also affiliated to water@leeds, one of the largest interdisciplinary centres for water research in any university in the world, encompassing expertise from across the physical, biological, chemical, social and economic sciences and engineering as well as the arts.

Julia is also member of the Editorial Board of the Spanish Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics; Lead author of IUFRO's Global Forest Expert Panel and member of the Steering Committe of Scottish Goverment's Center for Expertise in Waters (CREW). She is also External Examiner of the MSc on Ecosystem Services of the University of Edinburgh.

Research Interests

Julia's research focuses on the relationships between society and water systems, and has a strong interdisciplinary and policy-relevance emphasis. Three main research lines guide Julia's work:

  1. How to assess the impacts of changes in water systems on human welfare. Julia looks at the multiple values of water ecosystem services and how they can be assessed. This includes working with natural scientists to translate their understanding of biophysical processes and modelling results in terms of service delivery for the design of valuation research.
  2. How economic tools and principles can best be applied to attain sustainable water management. Julia looks to integrate outputs of hydrological modelling and stakeholder knowledge into the economic analysis of water management. Her work in this area has mostly taken place in the context of the European Water Framework Directive and in relation to Payments for Ecosystem Services in Latin America.
  3. How changes in the provision of ecosystem services compromise the capacity of communities to use and enjoy them and how communities adapt to these changes. This includes previous work on the economics of droughts and adaptation to climate change, and current work on ecosystem services-based approaches and community-based management of natural resources and scenario planning in Latin America and Africa.

Julia's current research projects include:

Other selected recent research projects are:

Teaching Interests

Julia is Programme Leader for the Sustainability and Environmental Management Programme at the School of Earth and Environment. She is also module leader for the undergratduate Sustainability Economics in Practice and the postgraduate Research Methods modules at SRI

She has been nominated for Partnership Awards of the Students Union of the University of Leeds in the categories of Inspirational Teaching (2016, 2017) and Positive Impact (2017).

She has designed and facilitated several training courses on environmental economics and water management in Spain, Peru and the Dominican Republic.

Julia has supervised two sucessful PhD projects: Dr. Azahara Mesa (2011), whose thesis focused on the value of water resources for agriculture and Christopher Schulz (2017, no corrections), whose thesis explored the value base of water goverhance.

She currently supervises three other PhD students: Blandine Boef who is undertaking a critical study of cost-benefit analysis in the EU water framework directive planning in France and the UK; Lina Brand Correa, who looks at how energy provisioning systems affect socio-economic performance and Murat Okumah, who is looking at the effects of awarness in adoption of measures to mitigate rural diffuse pollution by land managers.

Julia is also generally interested in producing communication and pedagogic materials explaining complex concepts to broader audiences, like this 3 minutes clip explaining Payments for Ecosystem Services (A version in Spanish and in Mandarin also available):


ISI-indexed publications


Boeuf, B., Fritsch, O. & Martin-Ortega, J. (2018). Justifying exemptions through policy appraisal: ecological ambitions and water policy in France and the United Kingdom. Water Policy (in press)

Glenk, K. and Martin-Ortega, J. (2018). The Economics of Peatland restoration. Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy (in press). .

Brand-Correa, L., Martin-Ortega, J., Steinberger, L. (2018). Human Scale Energy Services: Untangling a 'golden thread'. Energy Research & Social Sciences (in press).

Waylen, JK, Martin-Ortega, J. (2017). Surveying views on Payments for Ecosystem Services: Implications for environmental management and research. Ecosystem Services.


Berbel, J., Gutierrez, C., Martin-Ortega, J. (2017). Water Economics and Policy (editorial). Water, 9(10); 801.

Martin-Ortega, J., Glenk, K., & Byg, A. (2017). How to make complexity look simple? Conveying ecosystems restoration complexity for socio-economic research and public engagement. PLOS ONE, 12(7), e0181686.

Schulz, C., Martin-Ortega, J. Ioris, A., Glenk, K. (2017). Applying a 'Value Landscapes Appraoch' to conflicts in water goverance: the case of the Paraguay-Parana waterway. Ecological Economics, 138 (2017): 47-55.

Byg. A, Martin-Ortega, J., Glenk, K., Novo, P. (2017). Public perceptions of peatlands: "the good, the bad and the ugly". Biological Conservation, 206: 181-189.

Schulz, C., Martin-Ortega, J., Glenk, K., Ioris, A. (2017).The Value Base of Water Governance: A Multi-disciplinary Perspective. Ecological Economics, 131: 241-249.


Boeuf, B., Fritsch, O. & Martin-Ortega, J. (2016). Undermining European environmental policy goals? The EU Water Framework Directive and the politics of exemptions. Water (in press)

Duckett, D., Feliciano, D., Martin-Ortega, J., & Munoz-Rojas, J. (2016). Tackling wicked environmental problems: The discourse and its influence on praxis in Scotland. Landscape and Urban Planning, 154: 44-56.

Brown, I., Martin-Ortega, J., Waylen, K., Blackstock, K. (2016). Participatory scenario planning for developing innovation in community adaptation responses: three contrasting examples from Latin America. Regional Environmental Change; 1-16.


Waylen, K., Martin-Ortega, J. et al. (2015). Can scenario-planning support community based natural resource management? Experiences from three countries in Latin America. Ecology and Society, 20(4).

Oteros, E. et al (including Martin-Ortega). (2015). Participatory scenario-planning in place-based social-ecological research: insights and experiences from 23 case studies. Ecology and Society, 20(4)

Martin-Ortega, J., Perni, A., Jackson-Blake, L., Balana, B. B., Mckee, A., Dunn, S., ... & Slee, B. (2015). A transdisciplinary approach to the economic analysis of the European Water Framework Directive. Ecological Economics, 116, 34-45.

Martin-Ortega, J.; Mesa-Jurado, A.; Berbel, J. (2015) Revisiting the impact of order effects on sensitivity to scope: a contingent valuation of a common-pool resource. Journal of Agriculture Economics, 66(3):705-726.

Hill R., Dyer, G.A., Lozada-Ellison, L.M.; Gimona, A., Martin-Ortega, J., Munoz-Rojas, J., Gordon. I.J. (2015). A social-ecological systems analysis of impediments to delivery of the Aichi 2020 Targets and potentially more effective pathways to the conservation of biodiversity. Global Environmental Change, 34: 22-34.

Balana, B., Jackson-Blake, L., Martin-Ortega, J., S. Dunn (2015). Integrated cost-effectiveness analysis of agri-environmental measures for water quality. Journal of Environmental Management, 161: 163-172.

Ojea, E., Martin-Ortega, J. (2015). Understanding the economic value of water services from tropical forests: a systematic review for South and Central America. Journal of Forest Economics, 21(2): 97-106.

Brouwer, R., Martin-Ortega, J., Dekker, T., Sardonini, L., Andreu, J., Kontogianni, A., ... & Windle, J. (2015). Improving value transfer through socio-economic adjustments in a multicountry choice experiment of water conservation alternatives. Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 59(3):458-478.

McVittie, A., Norton, L., Martin-Ortega, J., Siameti, I., Glenk, K., & Aalders, I. (2015). Operationalizing an ecosystem services-based approach using Bayesian Belief Networks: an application to riparian buffer strips. Ecological Economics, 110, 15-27.

Christen, B.; Kjeldsen, C.; Dalgaard, T.; Martin-Ortega, J. (2015) Can Fuzzy cognitive mapping help in agricultural policy design and communication? Land Use Policy, 45: 64-75.

Schulz, C., Ioris, A., Martin-Ortega, J., & Glenk, K. (2015) Prospects for Payments for Ecosystem Services in the Brazilian Pantanal: A Scenario Analysis. Journal of Environment and Development, 24(1): 26-53.


Martin-Ortega, J.; Allot, T.; Glenk, K.; Schaafsma, M. (2014) Integrating hydrological and economic knowledge to value water quality improvements from peatland restoration: evidence and challenges. Ecosystem Services, 9: 34-43.

Glenk, K., Martin-Ortega, J., Potts, J., Pulido, M. (2014). Inferring attribute non-attendance from discrete choice experiments: implications for benefit transfer. Environmental and Resources Economics, 60(4): 1-24.

Glenk, K., Schaafsma, M., Moxey, A., Martin-Ortega, J., & Hanley, N. (2014). A framework for valuing spatially targeted peatland restoration. Ecosystem Services, 9: 20-33.


Martin-Ortega, J., Ojea, E., Roux, C. (2013). Payments for Ecosystem Services in Latin America: a literature review and a conceptual model. Ecosystems Services, 6: 132-122.

Alcon, F.; Martin-Ortega, J.; Pedrero, F.; Miguel, D.D.E.; Alarcon, J.J. (2013). Incorporating non-market benefits of reclaimed water into cost-benefit analysis. Water Resources Management, 27(6), 1809-1820.


Martin-Ortega, J. (2012). Economic prescriptions and policy applications in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive. Environmental Science and Policy, 24: 83�9.

Mesa-Jurado, A.; Martin-Ortega, J.; Ruto, E.; Berbel, J. (2012). The economic value of guaranteed water supply for irrigation under scarcity conditions. Agricultural Water Management, 113, 10-18.

Martin-Ortega, J.; Brouwer, R.; Ojea, E; Berbel, J. (2012). Benefit transfer of water quality improvements and spatial heterogeneity of preferences. Journal of environmental Management, 106, 22-29.

Martin-Ortega, J.; Gonzalez-Eguino, M.; Markandya, A. (2012) The costs of drought: the 2007-2008 case of Barcelona. Water Policy, 1-22.

Vinten, A.J.A.; Martin-Ortega, J.; Glenk, K.; Booth, P.; Balana, B.B.; MacLeod, M.; Lago, M.; Moran, D.; Jones, M. (2012) Application of the WFD cost proportionality principle to diffuse pollution mitigation: a case study for Scottish Lochs. Journal of Environmental Management, 97, 28-37

Ojea, E.; Martin-Ortega, J.; Chiabai, A. (2012) Classifying ecosystem services for economic valuation: the case of forest water services. Environmental Science and Policy, 19-20: 1-15

Brouwer, R.; Martin-Ortega, J. (2012) Modeling self-censoring of polluter pays protest votes in stated preference research to support resource damage estimations in environmental liability. Resource and Energy Economics, 34, 151-166.

Berbel, J.; Kolberg, S.; Martin-Ortega, J. (2012) Assessment of the draft hydrological basin plan of the Guadalquivir River Basin (Spain). Water Resources Development, 28, 43-55.


Martin-Ortega, J; Brouwer, R.; Aiking, H. (2011) Application of a value based equivalency method to assess environmental damage compensation under the European Environmental Liability Directive. Journal of Environmental Management, 92, 1461-1470.

Alcon, F.; Martin-Ortega, J.; Berbel, J.; de Miguel, M.D. (2011) Environmental benefits of the reclaimed water: an economic assessment in the context of the Water Framework Directive. Water Policy, 14, 148-159.

Martin-Ortega, J.; Giannocaro, G.; Berbel, J. (2011) Environmental and resource costs under water scarcity conditions: an estimation in the context of the European Water Framework Directive. Water Resources Management, 25, 1615-1633.

Berbel, J.; Martin-Ortega, J.; Mesa, P. (2011). A cost effectiveness analysis of water saving measures for the Water Framework Directive. Water Resources Management 25, 623-640.


Martin-Ortega, J.; Berbel, J. (2010) Using multicriteria analysis to explore non-market monetary values of water quality changes. Science of the Total Environment, 408, 3390-3397.

Brouwer, R.; Martin-Ortega, J.; Berbel, J. (2010) Spatial preference heterogeneity: A choice experiment. Land Economics, 86, 552-568

Alcon, F.; Pedrero, F.; Martin-Ortega, J.; Arcas, N; Alarcon, J.J.; Miguel; (2010). The non-market value of reclaimed waste water for use in agriculture: a contingent valuation approach. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 8, 187-196.

Selected knowledge exchange products

What are payments for Ecosystem Services? A three minutes clip explaining the concept to broad audiences. Script produced by Martin-Ortega in collaboration with GRID-Arendal, a UNDP Centre for Environmental Knowledge for Change. A version in Spanish and in Mandarin also available.

Martin-Ortega, J., Holstead, K., Kenyon, W. (2013). The Value of Scotland Water Resources. CREW report to inform the Scottish Parliament discussion on the Scotland Water Resources Bill (27th February 2013). This note was officially welcomed by the Scottish Parlament and resulted in an ammendement of the Bill.

Measures of Esteem

Reviewer for the evaluation of research proposals for the European Commission (Research and Innovation); UK�s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC); the Norwegian Research Council; and the International Social Science Research Council (UNESCO, Paris). Reviewer for staff performance at The Nature Conservancy.

Member of the Scientific Committee for the European Water Resources Management Association - European Congress (2013).

Member of the Advisory Board of the European FP7 Projects: CLAIM: Supporting the role of the Common Agricultural Policy in landscape valorisation; OPENness: Operationalisation of natural capital and ecosystem services; and CONHAZ: Costs of natural hazards.

Member of the Scientific Advisory Group of DEFRA�s Demonstration Test Catchments Research and the Scottish Centre for Expertise in Waters (CREW).

External PhD Panel examiner at The Kings College London (2013).

Regular participant in policy consultations such as with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Land Reform Consultation Group and several UK Parliament inquiries.

Three of Julia�s scientific publications have been featured in EU's DG Environment News Alert Service.