Dr Eirini Saratsi
BA (Athens, Greece), MSc (Imperial, London), PhD (Nottingham)
I joined the Centre for Rural Policy Research in January to work on Farmcat, a research project exploring farmer attitudes to nature conservation through training under agri-environmental schemes.
My research interests lie in the fields of rural and historical landscape studies. They focus on landscape and environmental history as a means to inform contemporary ideas about landscape management and nature conservation. I am particularly interested in exploring society-nature relationships and their impacts on landscape modification and representation. In recent years I have been working on projects related to current management practices and policy implementations for the management of the British countryside.
I am a Fellow of the RGS-IBG and Deputy coordinator of the IUFRO Forest and Woodland History research group: Ecological history. Under this last position I coordinate the unit's conference for the year 2007 'Woodland Cultures in Time and Space: tales from the past, messages for the future'
My intellectual awareness of human-nature interactions has been fashioned the reading of my first degree at the Agricultural University of Athens. My final year project investigated landscape change and ecological effects of land redistribution schemes on a semi-mountainous landscape in Greece. In 1998 I obtained my MSc on 'Landscape, Ecology, Design and Management' from Imperial College London at Wye and then in 1999 moved to the University of Nottingham where I undertook a PhD in Landscape History.
The substantive aim of my doctoral research was to investigate long-term processes of change in the character of a mountainous landscape in Northern Greece. Allied to an historical survey, the research also considered the relationship between social processes and environmental/landscape change, and the role of traditional land management practices for cultural heritage and nature conservation.
During 2005 I worked at the University of Leicester, Geography Department on a research project on Gentrifying Nature with Prof Martin Phillips and Prof Sue Page. This project was funded as a scoping study, part of the Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme. The research identified and documented the social use and modification of nature within gentrified rural environments in Leicestershire.
In 2006 I moved to the University of Exeter, Cornwall campus where I worked at the Department of Geography with Prof Catherine Brace for the Atlantic Coasts Valleys Project (ACVP). The ACVP considered the re-introduction of Large Blue Butterfly along the North Cornwall coastline. My research documented interactions between nature, society and local economy and investigated the implications of the proposed management strategy for the evaluation of the project objectives and success.
I am currently working with Dr Matt Lobley on the FarmCat, project. This project is funded under the Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme and is an interdisciplinary research between three research teams in the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), the University of Reading and University of Exeter. My work is involved with the social science element of the research and is concentrating on observing the way farmers' decisions are influenced by enterprise circumstances and how their attitudes to nature conservation change after training and achieving different environmental objectives.
I obtained a BSc in agriculture from the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece in 1995. This was a five year degree including six months practical training. Principal courses were taken in: Botany, Ecology, Plant Science, Horticulture, Flower Production, Landscape Architecture, Arboriculture, Forestry, Chemistry, Food Industry, Animal Science, Agricultural Economics, Physics, Mathematics, Irrigation Systems and Agricultural Machinery.
After I finished my first degree I worked for several years in Athens in the private sector on green space design and management and in the public sector at the Ministry of Agriculture. In 1997 I won a scholarship from the National Scholarship Institute in Greece to undertake postgraduate study in England. Through this opportunity I was awarded an MSc in Landscape Ecology Design and Management from Imperial College at Wye, University of London and a PhD in Landscape History and Traditional Management Practices at the School of Geography, University of Nottingham.
Since I finished my PhD I have worked as part-time and full-time researcher in the Universities of Nottingham, Athens, Greece and Leicester and I have been working as a research fellow at the University of Exeter from January 2006.