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Dr Robert Fish

Associate Research Fellow

I am a human geographer and social scientist by training with a longstanding interest in the culture and environment of rural areas. My work is interdisciplinary and policy orientated, centring primarily on the theory and practice of sustainable land management. Current work spans issues of both natural resource management and environmental protection.

I have recently left the Centre to take up a position as Reader in Human Ecology at the University of Kent. I still keeps close links with the Centre. To contact me please use this link.

Research interests

1. Sustainable agro-food systems, particularly at the interface of land and water.  My research focuses on understanding the emerging contours of land use policy and how these play out in patterns of land use and styles of management, particularly imperatives for food security, bio-security and most notably water quality.  Understanding how farming publics think about, and rationalise these issues is an important part of this.

2. Critical exploration (and development) of integrated frameworks for environmental governance. I am particularly interested in the emergence of ecosystem based approaches to natural resource management and interrogating the category of ‘ecosystem services’ in applied and theoretical ways.


Fish, R. Seymour, S and Watkins, C, Steven, M (eds) (2008) Sustainable farmland management: transdisiplinary approaches (CABI) ISBN 978184593351

Fish, R (ed) (2007) Cinematic Countrysides (Manchester University Press) ISBN 0719072662

Journal articles

Fish, R.D., Lobley, M and Winter, D.M (In Press) A License to produce? Farmer interpretations of the new food security agenda. Journal of Rural Studies

Oliver, D. M. Fish, R. D., Winter, M..Hodgson, C. Heathwaite, A. L., and Chadwick, D. R. (In press) Valuing local knowledge as a source of expert data: farmer engagement and the design of decision support systems Environmental Modelling & Software

Fish, R. (2011) Environmental decision making and an Ecosystems approach: some challenges from the perspective of social science Progress in Physical Geography vol. 35 no. 5 671-680

Fish, R., Christley, R., Haygarth, P. M., Heathwaite, A. L., Latham, S., Medd, W., Mort, M., Oliver, D. M., Pickup, R., Wastling, J., Wynne, B., and Austin, Z. (2011). Uncertainties in the governance of animal disease: an interdisciplinary framework for analysis. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 366, 2023-2034

Winter, M., Oliver, D. M., Fish, R., Heathwaite, A. L., Chadwick, D. R and Hodgson, C. J. (2011). Catchments, subcatchments and private spaces: scale and process in managing microbial pollution from source to sea. Environmental Science and Policy 14, 315-326

Selfa, T., Fish, R., and Winter, D.M. (2010) Farming livelihoods and landscapes: tensions in rural development and environmental regulation? Landscape Research 35, 595 - 612

Fish, R., Watson, N. and Ioris, A. (2010) Integrating Water and Agricultural Management: Collaborative Governance for a Complex Policy Problem, Science of the Total Environment 408, 5623-5630

Oliver, D. M., Page, T., Heathwaite, A. L., Hodgson, C. J., Chadwick, D. R., Fish, R., Winter, M. (2010). Development and testing of a risk indexing framework to determine field-scale critical source areas of faecal bacteria on grassland. Environmental Modelling and Software, 25, 503-512.

Oliver, D. M., Heathwaite, A. L., Fish, R., Chadwick, D. R., Hodgson, C. J., Winter, M., and Butler A. (2009). Scale appropriate modelling of diffuse microbial pollution from agriculture. Progress in Physical Geography, 33, 358-377.

Hodgson, C. J., Bulmer, N., Chadwick, D. R., Oliver, D. M., Heathwaite, A. L., Fish, R. and Winter, M. (2009). Establishing relative release kinetics of faecal indicator organisms from different faecal matrices. Letters in Applied Microbiology 49, 124-130.

Fish R., Winter M., Oliver D. M., Chadwick D. R., Selfa T., Heathwaite A. L. and Hodgson C. J. (2009) Unruly pathogens: eliciting values for environmental risk in the context of heterogeneous expert knowledge. Environmental Science and Policy, 12, 281-296.

Oliver, D. M., Fish, R. D., Hodgson, C. J., Heathwaite, A. L., Chadwick, D. R. and Winter, M. (2009). A cross-disciplinary toolkit to assess the risk of faecal indicator loss from grassland farm systems to surface waters. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 129, 401-412.

Chadwick, D. R., Fish, R. Oliver, D. M., Heathwaite, A. L., Hodgson, C. J. and Winter, M. (2008). Management of livestock and their manure to reduce the risk of microbial transfers to water – the case for an interdisciplinary approach. Trends in Food Science and Technology, 19, 240-247.

Fish, R. Seymour. S, and Watkins, C. (2003) Conserving English Landscapes: Land managers and agri-environmental policy Environment and Planning A, 35, pp. 19-41

Fish, R, Seymour, S and Watkins, C, Steven, M (2006) Sustainable farmland management as political and cultural discourse Geographical Journal Volume 172, Part 3.

Phillips. M, Fish, R. and Agg. J (2001) Putting Together Ruralities: towards a symbolic analysis of rurality in the British mass media Journal of Rural Studies 17 (1), pp. 1-27

Book Chapters

Haines-Young, R.and Fish, R. (2009): Hypothesis Testing. In: Kitchen, R. & Trift, N. (eds): International Encyclopaedia of Human Geography, Vol 5: 264-270. Oxford: Elsevier

Fish, R, Seymour, S and Watkins, C, Steven, M (2008) Agendas for sustainable farmland management. In Fish, R. Seymour, S and Watkins, C, Steven, M (eds) (2008) Sustainable farmland management: transdisiplinary approaches (CABI)

Fish, R, Seymour, S and Watkins, C, Steven, M (2008) Agendas for Transdisciplinarity. In Fish, R. Seymour, S and Watkins, C, Steven, M (eds) (2008) Sustainable farmland management: transdisiplinary approaches (CABI)

Fish, R (2007) What are these cinematic countrysides? In R Fish, (Ed) (2007) Cinematic Countrysides (Manchester University Press)

Fish, R (2005) ‘Countryside Formats and Ordinary Lifestyles’. In D.Bell and J.Hollows (Eds.) Ordinary Lifestyles (Open University Press, Milton Keynes )

Fish, R. (2005) ‘ Mobile Viewers: Media Producers and the Televisual Tourist’. In D.Crouch, R.Jackson (Eds.) Convergent Cultures: Mass Media and the Tourist Imagination ( Routledge, London )

Fish, R. (2004) Spatial Stories: Preliminary Notes on the Idea of Narrative Style in Rural Studies. In L Holloway, M.Kneafsey (Eds.) Geographies of Rural Cultures and Societies ( Ashgate: Aldershot)

Fish, R.D Haines-Young, R. and Rubiano, J. (2003) Stakeholder landscapes and GIS: Institutional Visions of Landscape and Sustainability in the Management of the Sherwood Natural Area, UK . In H. Palang and G.Fry. (Eds.) Landscape Interfaces: Cultural Heritage in Changing Landscapes pp.147-163 ( Kluwer: London)

Refereed Conference proceedings

Butler, A., Oliver, D. M., Chadwick, D., Fish, R., Winter, M., Hodgson, C., and Heathwaite, A. L. (2009). Modelling the mitigation mix: faecal microbes, economic constraints and sustainable land management. Proceeding of the Agricultural Economics Society 83rd Annual Conference, Irish Management Institute, Dublin, March 31st to April 2nd 2009.

Oliver, D. M., Fish, R. D., Hodgson, C. J., Heathwaite, A. L., Chadwick, D. R., and Winter, D. M. (2008). Building integrated natural and social science solutions to assess the risk of FIO loss from land to water: a cross-disciplinary toolkit. Agriculture and the Environment VII; Land management in a changing environment. Proceedings of the SAC/SEPA biennial conference. Crighton, K and Audsley, R. (eds), Scottish Agricultural College, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Edinburgh, pp. 103-108. ISBN 1 85482 867 3

Fish, R (2006) What kind of narrative for what kind of future? Designing unaccomplished space-time. In Warren M. and Yarwood R. The rural citizen: Governance, culture and well being in the 21st century (University of Plymouth) ISBN 1-84102-155-5

Fish R., Seymour, S. and Watkins, C. (2001) Ideas of history and the management of landscapes for conservation. (University of Valladolid) pp. 1-12 ISBN 84-699-4986-1

Other Notable Publications

Fish, R., Burgess, J. Church. A., and Turner, K. (2011) Shared values for the contributions ecosystem services make to human wellbeing  - Chapter 24 of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment

Fish, R., Burgess, J., Chilvers, J. Footitt, A., Haines-Young, R. Russel, D., Turner, K. & Winter, D.M  (2011)  Participatory and Deliberative Techniques for Embedding an Ecosystems Approach into Decision Making. An Introductory Guide. Produced for Defra (NR-0124)

Fish, R., Burgess, J., Footitt, A., & Turner. K (2011) Participatory and deliberative techniques to support the monetary and nonmonetary valuation of ecosystem services: An Introductory Guide. Produced for Defra (NR-0124)


Research supervision

Cheryl Willis - Harnessing Nature’s Benefits: Problems and Prospects for Recognising the Environmental Basis of Regional Tourist Economies (ESRC-CASE Studentship with Dorset County Council, 2009-2012)

Colin Nolden - Building capacity for climate change action in rural communities (2010-2013)

Tim Wilkinson -Perceptions of Exmoor National Park and impact on the local tourism economy' (ESRC-CASE Studentship with Exmoor National Park Authority, 2010-2013)


I was awarded a first class BSc Hons degree in Geography from Coventry University in 1995 and a PhD from the University of Leicester in 2000. I have held research fellowships in the Universities of Nottingham and Lancaster and have been a Lecturer in Human Geography at the Universities of Nottingham and Exeter (Cornwall Campus). Alongside my position as Senior Research Fellow in CRPR, I am currently a visiting fellow in the Centre for Environmental Management, University of Nottingham, and the Centre for Sustainable Water Management, University of Lancaster.

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