image of rolling valley with houses
My primary research interests include political ecology, collective management of common-pool resources, and policy and practice related to conservation and sustainability. 
Most recently, and in keeping with my position as Director of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs at UGA and with my role in the Integrative Conservation doctoral program, I have taken a research interest in interdisciplinary pedagogy.

My current research, with the Coweeta Long Term Ecological Research project in western North Carolina, focuses on exurban development and landuse practices. In March 2016, Brian Burke (Appalachian State University) and I were awarded an NSF Cultural Anthropology grant to more closely examine how people in southern Appalachia perceive and understand climate change, particularly how they use biodiversity as indicators of change. In addition to leveraging the Coweeta LTER, this work forms part of an international comparative project, the Programme Interdisciplinaire sur les indicateurs Autochtones de la Faune et de la Flore.

My dissertation research centered on the implementation of the European Union's Habitats Directive in the French Basque province of Xiberoa (Soule). This directive creates a pan-European network of sites, Natura 2000, to be managed for ecological, social, and economic sustainability. Up to this point, however, it has been 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.   


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

Burke, B.J., M. Welch-Devine, S. Gustafson, N. Heynen, J.L. Rice, T. Gragson, S. Evans, D. Nelson. 2015. Can Science Writing Collectives Overcome Barriers to More Democratic Communication and Collaboration? Lessons from environmental communication praxis in southern Appalachia. Environmental Communication. [online] URL:

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

Vercoe, R., M. Welch-Devine, N. Heynen, R.D. Hardy, J. Demoss, S. Bonney, K. Allen, J.P. Brosius, D. Charles, B. Crawford, S. Heisel, R. de Jesús-Crespo, N. Nibbelink, L. Parker, C. Pringle, A. Shaw, L. Van Sant. 2014. Acknowledging Trade-offs and Understanding Complexity: Exurbanization issues in Macon County, North Carolina. Ecology and Society. 19(1): 23. 

Sourdril, A. and M. Welch-Devine. 2013. Conserver, gérer, étudier la biodiversity: quels apports de l’ethnologie? Introduction au numéro Biodiversité(S). 27. [online] URL:,Welch-Devine

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:

Paulson, N., A. Laudati, A. Doolittle, M. Welch-Devine, and P. Pena. 2012. Indigenous Peoples' Participation in Global Conservation: Looking beyond headdresses and face paint. Environmental Values. 21(3): 255-276
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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: