image of rolling valley with houses
My primary research interests include climate change adaptation, collective management of common-pool resources, and policy and practice related to conservation and sustainability. 
My current research, which is affiliated with the 
Coweeta Long Term Ecological Research program in western North Carolina, integrates political ecology and ethnoecology 
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.
 In March 2016, Brian Burke (Appalachian State University) and I were awarded an NSF Cultural Anthropology grant for this work.

Brian Orland and I have also recently received funding from both NSF and Georgia Sea Grant to examine the impacts of Hurricane Matthew on the population of coastal Georgia. We completed more than 60 interviews less than six months after the storm and are surveying an additional 1,000 residents. We hope to learn more about how people view their adaptation options, including migration away from the coast.

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.   


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

Sourdril, A. and M. Welch-Devine. 2013. Conserver, Gérer, Etudier la Biodiversite: 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
[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: