image of rolling valley with houses
My primary research interests include climate change adaptation, impacts of sea level rise and extreme weather events on coastal populations, collective management of common-pool resources, and policy and practice related to conservation and sustainability. 

I am currently collaborating with 
 Brian Burke (Appalachian State University) on a project
 that integrates political ecology and ethnoecology 
to more closely examine how people perceive and understand climate change, particularly how they use biodiversity as indicators of change. This work 
 is affiliated with the 
 Our book Changing Climate, Changing Worlds has just been released by Springer Nature. 

Closer to home, Brian Orland and I are wrapping up a project funded by NSF and Georgia Sea Grant to examine the impacts of Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Irma on the population of coastal Georgia. We completed more than 60 interviews less than six months after Hurricane Matthew and surveyed an additional 1,000 residents. In the weeks following Irma, we conducted follow up surveys and spoke with 20 of our original interviewees. From this work we are learning more about how people view their adaptation options, including migration away from the coast. The first article from this work appeared earlier this year, and a second will be published in the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters soon. This work has also grown into a collaboration that includes Stephen Berry and that uses augmented and virtual realities to explore environmental pasts, presents, and futures with research participants. If you are on the Georgia coast, download and try our app YouARHere, and let us know what you think.

In addition to working in the southeastern United States, I continue to be active in the Basque region of France. My dissertation research centered on the implementation of the European Union's Habitats Directive in the province of Xiberoa (Soule). This directive creates a pan-European network of sites, called Natura 2000, to be managed for ecological, social, and economic sustainability. For many years, however, it was strongly resisted by local land mangers and resource users. My dissertation explains the context of that resistance, discusses the particularities of implementing a conservation project in an area with a strong common property regime, and examines conceptualizations of success among various actors. 
Since that time, I have continued to work in Xiberoa, primarily looking at agricultural policy, multi-functional agriculture, and marketing of agricultural products in specialty markets. In May and October of 2019 we conducted workshops with farmers and researchers from multiple disciplines, with funding from the FACE Foundation and NSF, to explore how local and alternative food systems in southwestern France and in southern Appalachia may or may not contribute to climate resilience. This work is ongoing, and we are working in close collaboration with farmers as we design a large-scale research proposal.


Welch-Devine, M., A. Sourdril, and B. Burke. (eds). 2020. Changing Climate, Changing Worlds: Local knowledge and the challenges of social and        ecological change. Basel, Switzerland: Springer Nature. Download foreword and table of contents

Burke, B., M. Welch-Devine, and A. Sourdril. 2020. Understanding microexperiences of climate change: How climate ethnography informs 
collaboration, adaptation, and effective responses. (Introduction). In Changing Climate, Changing Worlds: Local knowledge and the challenges of    social and ecological change. M. Welch-Devine, A. Sourdril, and B. Burke, eds. Pp. 1-13. Basel, Switzerland: Springer Nature. Download

Rickless, D., X. Yao, B. Orland, M. Welch-Devine. 2019. Assessing social vulnerability through a local lens: An integrated geovisual approach. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 110(1): 36-55. DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2019.1625750 Download

Welch-Devine, M., A. Shaw, J. Coffield, N. Heynen. 2018. Facilitating interdisciplinary graduate education: Barriers, solutions, and needed innovations. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. 50(5): 53-59. Free e-print available from Routledge Publishing 

Burke, B.J., M. Welch-Devine, S. Gustafson. 2015. 
Nature Talk in an Appalachian Newspaper: What environmental discourse analysis reveals about efforts to address exurbanization and climate change. Human Organization. 74(2):185-196. Download

Welch-Devine, M., R.D. Hardy, J.P. Brosius, and N. Heynen. 2014. A Pedagogical Model for Integrative Training in Conservation and Sustainability. Ecology and Society. 19(2):10. [online] URL:

Murray, D.S. and M. Welch-Devine. 2014. Marketing the Mountain: The emergence and consequences of eco-chic practices in the Basque region. In Green Consumption: The Global Rise of Eco-chic. Bart Barendregt and Rivke Jaffe, eds. London: Bloomsbury. Download

Hirsch, P.D., J.P. Brosius, S. O’Connor, A. Zia, M. Welch-Devine, J.L. Dammert, A. Songorwa, T.C. Trung, J.L. Rice, Z.R. Anderson, S. Hitchner, J. Schelhas, T. McShane. 2013. Navigating Complex Trade-offs in Conservation and Development: An Integrative Framework. Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies. 31: 99-122. Download

Welch-Devine, M. 2012. Searching for Success: Defining success in co-management. Human Organization. 71(4):358-370. [online] URL:

Welch-Devine, M. 2011. Implementation and Resistance: Networking to create and renegotiate Natura 2000. Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research. 3(3): 287-302. [online] URL:

Welch-Devine, M. and D. S. Murray. 2011. “We’re European Farmers Now”: Transitions and transformations in Basque agricultural practices. Anthropological Journal of European Cultures. 20(1): 69-88. [online] URL:

McShane, T. O., P. Hirsch,T. Chi Trung, A. Songorwa, A. Kinzig, B. Monteferri, D. Mutekanga, H. Van Thang, J. L. Dammert, M. Pulgar-Vidal, M. Welch-Devine, J.P. Brosius, P. Coppolillo, and S. O’Connor. 2011. Hard Choices: Making trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and human well-being. Biological Conservation. 144: 966-972. [online] URL: