Associate Professor

Ecological Economics
University of Leeds
Room: 9.112
phone-icon +44(0) 113 34 39752
email-icon J.MartinOrtega@leeds.ac.uk
Skype julipie


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 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; and to the Water, Environmental, Agricultural and Resource Economics (WEARE) research group of the University of Cordoba (Spain).

Julia is also member of the Editorial Board of the Spanish Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

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:

  • Understanding people’s values and preferences of peatland restoration: a national level assessemt for Scotland in collaboration with The James Hutton Institute and the Scottish Rural Collague – funded by the Scottish Goverment (2012 – 2017).
  • Applying ecosystem services-based approaches to water resource decision making: studying the risk of nature commodification in Mexico’s last free-flowing river in colaboration with ECOSUR in Mexico- funded by the British Council Newton Fund Advanced Fellowship (2016- 2018).
  • Exploring the potential for setting up a Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) scheme in Ethiopia in collaboration with AECOM, Kings College London and the University of Addis Ababa – funded by the Global Green Growth Institute (2016).

Other selected recent research projects are:

Teaching Interests

Julia currently manages the undergratduate Sustainability Economics module and the postgraduate Research Methods module at SRI.

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

She currently supervises two PhD students: Christopher Schulz, whose thesis aims to explore new strategies to incorporate non-monetary values of water resources into policy making and water governance and focuse on the Brazilian Pantanal; and Blandine Boef who is undertaking a critical study of cost-benefit analysis in the EU water framework directive planning in France and the UK.

She 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):


Julia is author of 31 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 coordinated (Martin-Ortega et al. 2015). She is also author of a number of knowledge exchange outputs addressed to non-academic audiences.

ISI-indexed publications

Bark, R.H., Martin-Ortega, J. and Waylen, K.A. (2021). Stakeholders’ views on natural flood management: Implications for the nature-based solutions paradigm shift?, Environmental Science & Policy 115:91-98. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2020.10.018


Dallimer, M., Martin-Ortega, J., Rendon, O., Afionis, S., Bark, R., Gordon, I.J. and Paavola, J. (2020). Taking stock of the empirical evidence on the insurance value of ecosystems, Ecological Economics 167:106451. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.106451

Faccioli, M., Czajkowski, M., Glenk, K. and Martin-Ortega, J. (IN PRESS). Environmental attitudes and place identity as determinants of preferences for environmental goods, Ecological Economics

Lyon, C., Cordell, D., Jacobs, B., Martin-Ortega, J., Marshall, R., Camargo-Valero, M.A. and Sherry, E. (2020). Five pillars for stakeholder analyses in sustainability transformations: The global case of phosphorus, Environmental Science and Policy 107:80-89 doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2020.02.019


Glenk, K., Meyerhoff, J., Akaichi, F., Martin-Ortega, J. (2019). Revisiting cost vector effects in discrete choice experiments, Resource and Energy Economics. 57:135-155 doi:10.1016/j.reseneeco.2019.05.001

Martín-Ortega, J., Dekker, T., Ojea, E. and Lorenzo-Arribas, A. (2019). Dissecting price setting efficiency in Payments for Ecosystem Services: A meta-analysis of payments for watershed services in Latin America, Ecosystem Services 38:100961. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2019.100961

Martín-Ortega, J., Mesa-Jurado, M.A., Pineda-Vázquez, M. and Novo P. (2019). Nature commodification: ‘a necessary evil’? An analysis of the views of environmental professionals on ecosystem services-based approaches, Ecosystem Services 37:100926 doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2019.100926

Schulz, C., Martin-Ortega, J. and Glenk, K. (2019). Understanding Public Views on a Dam Construction Boom: the Role of Values, Water Resources Management 33(14):4687-4700. doi:10.1007/s11269-019-02383-9


Okumah, M., Chapman, J.P., Martin-Ortega, J. and Novo, P. (2018). Mitigating Agricultural Diffuse Pollution: Uncovering the Evidence Base of the Awareness–Behaviour–Water Quality Pathway, Water 11(1). doi:10.3390/w11010029

Boeuf, B., Martin-Ortega, J., and Fritsch, O. (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 1-18.

Brand Correa, L., Martin-Ortega, J., and Steinberger, J. (2018). Human Scale Energy Services: Untangling a ‘golden thread’, Energy Research and Social Science 38:178-187.

Waylen, K.A. and Martin-Ortega, J. (2018). Surveying views on Payments for Ecosystem Services: Implications for environmental management and research, Ecosystem Services 29:23-30.


Berbel, J., Gutiérrez-Martín, C. and Martin-Ortega, J. (2017). Water Economics and Policy, Water 9:801.

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

Schulz, C., Martin-Ortega, J., Ioris, A.A.R. and Glenk, K. (2017). Applying a ‘Value Landscapes Approach’ to conflicts in water governance: the case of the Paraguay-Paraná waterway, Ecological Economics 138:47-55.

Byg, A.,Martin-Ortega, J., Glenk, K. and Novo, P. (2017). Conservation in the face of ambivalent public perceptions – The case of peatlands as ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’, Biological Conservation 206:181-189.

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


Boeuf, B., Fritsch, O. and Martin-Ortega, J. (2016). Undermining European environmental policy goals? The EU Water Framework Directive and the politics of exemptions, Water 8(9):388.

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

Brown, I., Martin-Ortega, J., Waylen, K. and 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 (in press)

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

Martin-Ortega, J., Perni, A., Jackson-Blake, L., Balana, B. B., Mckee, A., Dunn, S. and 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. and 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 (in press).

Hill R., Dyer, G.A., Lozada-Ellison, L.M.; Gimona, A., Martin-Ortega, J., Munoz-Rojas, J. and 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. and S. Dunn (2015). Integrated cost-effectiveness analysis of agri-environmental measures for water quality. Journal of Environmental Management, 161: 163-172.

Ojea, E. and 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., and 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 (in press).

McVittie, A., Norton, L., Martin-Ortega, J., Siameti, I., Glenk, K. and 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. and 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. and 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.

2014 and previous

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

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

Martin-Ortega, J., Ojea, E. and 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. and 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. and 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. and 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. and 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. and 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. and 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. and 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. and 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. and 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. and 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. and 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. and 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. and 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. and 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. and 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.