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Dr. Marcus Collier
Assistant Professor, Botany


I specialise in social-ecological systems thinking and the environmental governance issues at the nature-culture interface. To this end I have carried out research in: land use and land-use change, resilience thinking and societal transitioning, collaborative management and planning, urban and rural governance, biodiversity impact, as well as novel landscapes and landscape elements. Notable examples of my research include the contentious policy issues of: biomass/bioenergy land use policies and implications, afforestation policies and acidification processes, field boundaries and agri-environmental change, resource use and after-use policies, re-wilding, GM crops and biodiversity, marine and coastal governance, (cultural) ecosystem services, well-being and, in recent years, urban resilience and sustainable development. As an environmental consultant, prior to entering academia, I worked with communities and governmental agencies to co-devise and implement environmental projects through adaptive collaborative processes. I have drawn upon my practical experience in the co-creation and co-design of environmental projects to shape empirical research methodologies for use in testing new mechanisms for collecting data. This co-production of knowledge (transdisciplinarity) is essential, I believe, for achieving the proposed Sustainable Development Goals. My PhD research was an exploration of collaborative governance policies and future land use in severely damaged landscapes. For this, I examined (conflicting) stakeholder rationalities and power asymmetries, resulting in policy prescriptions that have since been adopted by the Irish Government.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Bullock, C., Joyce, D. & Collier, M.J., An exploration of the relationships between cultural ecosystem services, socio-cultural values and well-being, Ecosystem Services, 31, 2018, p142 - 152 Journal Article, 2018 URL DOI

Ustaoglu, E. & Collier, M.J., Farmland abandonment in Europe: an overview of drivers, consequences and assessment of the sustainability implications., Environmental Reviews, 2018 Journal Article, 2018 TARA - Full Text DOI URL

Slaev, A. & Collier, M.J., Managing natural resources: Coasian bargaining versus Ostromian rules of common governance, Environmental Science and Policy, 85, 2018, p47 - 53 Journal Article, 2018 DOI URL

Collier, M.J., Connop, S., Corcoran, A., Crowe, P., Nedović-Budić, Z., Pichler-Milanović, N., Rijavec, R., Sinclair, J., Vandergert, P. & Varghese, J., European university-community partnership-based research on urban sustainability and resilience, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability , 23, 2017, p79 - 84 Journal Article, 2017 DOI URL

Canedoli, C., Bullock, C., Collier, M.J., Joyce, D. & Padoa-Schioppa, E., Public participatory mapping of cultural ecosystem services: citizen perception and park management in the Parco Nord of Milan (Italy), Sustainability, 9, (6), 2017, p891- Journal Article, 2017 DOI TARA - Full Text URL

Lennon, M., Scott, M., Collier, M.J. & Foley, K., The emergence of green infrastructure as promoting the centralisation of a landscape perspective in spatial planning: the case of Ireland, 42, 2017, p146 - 163 Journal Article, 2017 URL DOI

Collier, M.J., Connop, S., Foley, K., Nedović-Budić, Z., Newport, D., Corcoran, A., Crowe, P., Dunne, L., de Moel, H., Kampelmann, S., McQuaid, S., Schwarz von Raumer, H.-G., Slaev, A., Stumpp, E.-M., Van den Abeele, P. & Vandergert, P., Urban transformation with TURAS open innovations; opportunities for transitioning through transdisciplinarity, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 22, 2016, p57 - 62 Journal Article, 2016 TARA - Full Text URL DOI

Collier, M.J. & Devitt, C., Novel ecosystems: challenges and opportunities for the Anthropocene, The Anthropocene Review, 2016 Journal Article, 2016 DOI TARA - Full Text URL URL

Connop, S., Vandergert, P., Eisenberg, B., Collier, M.J., Nash, C., Clough, J. & Newport, D., Renaturing cities using a regionally-focused biodiversity-led multifunctional benefits approach to urban green infrastructure, Environmental Science and Policy , 62, 2016, p99 - 111 Journal Article, 2016 URL DOI

Scott, M., Lennon, M., Collier, M.J, & Foley, K., Integrating Ecosystem Approaches, Green Infrastructure and Spatial Planning, Research 188, Ireland, Environmental Protection Agency, 2016, 106 Report, 2016 URL TARA - Full Text

Lennon, M., Scott, M., Collier, M.J. & Foley, K., Green Infrastructure: A 'How To' Guide for Disseminating and Integrating the Concept into Spatial Planning Practice, Research 182, Ireland, Environmental Protection Agency, 2016, 28 Report, 2016 TARA - Full Text URL

Crowe, P.R., Foley, K. & Collier, M.J., Operationalizing urban resilience through a framework for adaptive co-management and design: five experiments in urban planning practice and policy, Environmental Science & Policy, 62, 2016, p112 - 119 Journal Article, 2016 URL DOI

Lennon, M., Scott, M., Collier, M. & Foley, K., Developing green infrastructure 'thinking': devising and applying an interactive group-based methodology for practitioners, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 2015, p1 - 23 Journal Article, 2015 DOI URL

Vandergert, P., Collier, M., Kampelmann, S. & Newport, D., Blending adaptive governance and institutional theory to explore urban resilience and sustainability strategies in the Rome Metropolitan Area, Italy, International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, 8, (2), 2015, p126 - 146 Journal Article, 2015 URL URL

Collier, M. J., Novel ecosystems and social-ecological resilience, Landscape Ecology, 2015, p1 - 7 Journal Article, 2015 URL DOI URL

Collier, M.J., Novel ecosystems and the emergence of cultural ecosystem services, Ecosystem Services, 9, 2014, p166 - 169 Journal Article, 2014 DOI URL URL

Collier, M.J., Nedović-Budić, Z., Aerts, J., Connop, S., Foley, D., Foley, K., Newport, D., McQuaid, S., Slaev, A. & Verburg, P., Transitioning to resilience and sustainability in urban communities, Cities, 2013, p21 - 28 Journal Article, 2013 URL URL DOI

Collier, M.J., Mullins, E., Potential for longevity of novel genetically modified herbicide-tolerant traits in the Irish landscape, Irish Geography, 45, (2), 2013, p117 - 130 Journal Article, 2013 DOI URL URL

Collier, M.J., Field Boundary Stone Walls as Exemplars of 'Novel' Ecosystems, Landscape Research, 38, (1), 2013, p141 - 150 Journal Article, 2013 URL URL DOI

Collier, M.J., Mullins, E., Assessing the impact of pollen-mediated gene flow from GM herbicide tolerant Brassica napus into common wild relatives in Ireland, Biology and Environment-Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 112B, (3), 2012, p257-266 Journal Article, 2012 URL URL DOI

Bullock, C.H., Collier, M.J., Peatlands, their economic value and priorities for their future management - The example of Ireland, Land Use Policy, 29, (4), 2012, p921 - 928 Journal Article, 2012 DOI URL URL

Mullins, E., Collier, M. J., The CINMa Index: Assessing the Potential Impact of GE Crop Management across a Heterogeneous Landscape, 2011, 2 Report, 2011 URL

Collier, M.J., Incorporating socio-economic factors into restoration: Implications from industrially harvested peatlands, Restoration Ecology, 19, (5), 2011, p559 - 563 Journal Article, 2011 TARA - Full Text DOI

Bullock, C.H., Collier, M.J., When the public good conflicts with an apparent preference for unsustainable behaviour, Ecological Economics, 70, (5), 2011, p971 - 977 Journal Article, 2011 DOI TARA - Full Text URL

Mullins, E., Collier, M.J., Evaluating the Ecological Impacts of Cultivating Genetically Modified Herbicide Tolerant (GMHT) Oilseed Rape and Maize: STRIVE Report 2007-B-DS-1-S1, Ireland, Environmental Protection Agency, 2011, 49 Report, 2011 URL

Bullock, C.H., Collier, M.J., Peatlands, People and Policies, 2011, p77 - 116 Report, 2011 URL

Collier, M.J. & Scott, M., Focus group discourses in a mined landscape, Land Use Policy, 27, (2), 2010, p304 - 312 Journal Article, 2010 TARA - Full Text DOI URL

Collier, M.J., Mullins, E., The CINMa index: assessing the potential impact of GM crop management across a heterogeneous landscape., Environmental biosafety research, 9, (3), 2010, p135 - 145 Journal Article, 2010 URL DOI URL URL URL

Collier, M.J. & Scott, M., Conflicting rationalities, knowledge and values in scarred landscapes, Journal of Rural Studies, 25, (3), 2009, p267 - 277 Journal Article, 2009 TARA - Full Text DOI URL

Mullins, E., Collier, M., O'Brien, M., Meade, C., Spillane, C., Predicting the Impact of Coexistence-Guided, Genetically Modified Cropping on Irish Biodiversity: STRIVE Report 39, Ireland, Environmental Protection Agency, 2009, 64 Report, 2009 URL

Collier, Marcus J., Feehan, John, Scott, Mark, Social and community dimensions in cutaway peatland policy, 13th International Peat Congress, Tullamore, Ireland, 8th-14th June, 1, 2008, pp384 - 386 Conference Paper, 2008

Collier, M.J. & Scott, M., Industrially harvested peatlands and after-use potential: Understanding local stakeholder narratives and landscape preferences, Landscape Research, 33, (4), 2008, p439 - 460 Journal Article, 2008 DOI URL

Collier, Marcus J., Olson, Eliza, The future of Burns Bog, Canada: stakeholder participation or habitat decline?, 13th International Peat Congress, Tullamore, Ireland, 8th-14th June, 2, 2008, pp185 - 187 Conference Paper, 2008

Bullock, Craig, Collier, Marcus J., Convery, Frank, Peatland after-use - issues in valuation, 13th International Peat Congress, Tullamore, Ireland, 8th-14th June, 2, 2008, pp141 - 143 Conference Paper, 2008

Murphy, G., Collier, M.J., Feehan, J., Opinions of upland walkers on socio-cultural and environmental impacts on blanket bog habitats: cultural aspects of peat and peatlands, 13th International Peat Congress , Tullamore, Ireland, 8th-14th June, 1, 2008, pp548 - 551 Conference Paper, 2008

Collier, M.J. & Farrell, E.P, The Environmental Impact of Planting Broadleaved Trees on Acid-sensitive Soils, Dublin, COFORD, July, 2007, 56 Report, 2007 URL URL URL URL URL

Collier, M.J., The National Wetland Wilderness Park: developing a strategy for cutaway peatland afteruse in Ireland, The 5th European Conference on Ecological Restoration, Greifswald, Germany, 21st-25th August, 2006, pp1 Conference Paper, 2006

Collier, M.J., Re-colonisation of a hedgerow after hedgelaying: using bird's nests as indicators, Environ 2005: 15th Irish Environmental Researchers' Colloquium, Sligo Institute of Technology, 28-30 January, 2005, pp1 Conference Paper, 2005

Mahon, B. J., Whelan. J., Kirwan, L. & Collier, M. J., Farmland birds and the field boundary evaluation and grading system in Ireland, Tearmann: Irish journal of agri-environmental research, 4, 2005, p67 - 78 Journal Article, 2005 URL

Collier, M.J., The ecology of dry stone walls, Walls: Future in our Past, Athenry, Co. Galway, Ireland, 21st-22nd October , 2005 Conference Paper, 2005 URL

Collier, M.J., Dublin City Environmental Directory, Dublin, Ireland, Dublin City Council, 2004, 101pp Book, 2004

Collier, M.J., Proposal for the description and classification of wallrows in the Irish Landscape, ENVIRON 2004: 14th Irish Environmental Researchers' Colloquium, University of Limerick, Ireland, 30thJanuary-1st Febr, 2004 Poster, 2004

Collier, M.J., Developing a field boundary evaluation and grading system in Ireland, ENVIRON 2003: 13th Irish Environmental Researchers' Colloquium, NUI Galway, 8th-10th January, 2003 Poster, 2003

Collier, M. J., Feehan, J., Developing a field boundary evaluation and grading system in Ireland, Tearmann: The Irish Journal of Agri-environmental Research, 3, (1), 2003, p27 - 46 Journal Article, 2003 URL URL

Collier, M.J., Using trees and woody shrubs to intercept excess nutrient in farm and forestry runoff, 7th International Conference on Diffuse Pollution and Basin Management, Johnstown, Co. Wexford, 17th-22nd August, 2003 Poster, 2003

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Collier, M.J., The National Wetland Wilderness Park: a blueprint for peatland afteruse, ENVIRON 2006: 16th Irish Environmental Researchers' Colloquium, University College Dublin, Ireland, 27th-29th January , 2006, pp1 Conference Paper, 2006

Collier, M.J., Introduction to wildlife gardening, World Biodiversity Day, National Botanic Gardens, Dublin, 21st May , 2005, pp1 Conference Paper, 2005

Collier, M.J., An ecological evaluation of field boundary stone walls in Ireland, Environ 2005: 15th Irish Environmental Researchers' Colloquium, Sligo Institute of Technology, 28-30 January, 2005, pp1 Poster, 2005 URL

Collier, M.J., Stone walls in the Burren, The Review of REPS and Burren Farming, Carron, Co. Clare, Ireland, 10th December, 2004 Conference Paper, 2004

Collier. M.J.; McCabe, O. & Farrell, E.P., PNtrap Project: Using trees and woody shrubs to intercept excess nutrient in farm and forestry runoff, 7th IWA International Conference Diffuse Pollution and Basin Management, UCD, Dublin and Johnstown, Co. Wexford, 17th-22nd August, 2003, pp1 Poster, 2003 URL

Collier, M.J., Hedgelaying, Ruralité, faune sauvage et développement durable: Le bocage, enjeux de territoire pour demain, Rennes, France, 16th-17th October , 2002, pp1 Conference Paper, 2002

Collier. M.J., Hedgerows in Ireland, Les haies en Europe: plantation, entretien (Hedge planting and maintenance in Europe), Rennes, France, 13th-16th June, 2001, pp1 Conference Paper, 2001

Research Expertise


My PhD research concentrated on severely damaged landscapes: resilience planning, rewilding and collaborative processes. This study was part of an interdisciplinary collaboration between several Universities (via the EPA funded BOGLAND Project). My main areas of expertise are in urban ecology, social-ecological systems, landscape and restoration ecology, environmental policies and collaborative governance. I am very interested in Novel Ecosystems and their potential for rewilding urban areas as well as urban communities and welcome all who share a similar interest! I am the leader of Connecting Nature, a €12m Horizon 2020 project which runs from 2017 to 2022 (see website). This project will develop innovations by scaling out nature-based solutions in 11 cities in Europe as well as cities in China, Brazil, Korea and the Caucasus. I am also leading a Horizon 2020 Coordination and Supporting Action - ReNature. This is a 3-year, capacity-building project aimed at widening participation in European research, and strengthening research in nature-based solutions. From 2011 to 2016 I was the leader of the TURAS FP7 project. This was a €6.8m project with 28 partners across Europe and 2 in Taiwan. TURAS has developed novel strategies, and spun out three new companies to date, that enable urban communities-of-interest to tackle urgent issues such as cliamte adaptation in urban areas to the challenges of the future using novel design, collaboration and integrated and resilient policy prescriptions. In June 2012 TURAS was awarded one of five special awards in the Champions of European Research for ranking first in the Sustainable and Resilient Green Cities section of the FP7 call topic (for scoring 15/15). I led a Work Package Leader on another FP7 project, OPERAs which studied Ecosystem Services and my focus was on socioeconomic / sociocultural values


  • Title
    • Connecting Nature
  • Summary
    • Connecting Nature will position Europe as a global leader in the innovation and implementation of nature-based solutions. It brings together 29 partner organisations from 16 EU countries including local authorities, communities, industry partners, NGOs and academics. Through Connecting Nature, 11 European cities will invest in multi-million-euro large scale implementation test-beds of nature-based solutions and measure the impact of this approach on climate change adaptation, health and well-being, social cohesion as well as sustainable economic development.
  • Funding Agency
    • European Commission Horizon 2020
  • Date From
    • June 1st, 2017
  • Date To
    • May 31st, 2022
  • Title
    • ReNature
  • Summary
    • ReNature is a 'widening' project which brings a small number of partners (5) together to build capacity for research in urban areas in Malta, with a specific focus on urban nature-based innovation. This three-year project aims to develop solutions to pursue economic growth whilst improving human well-being and tackling environmental challenges that can be addressed through nature-based solutions, particularly those associated with sustainable urbanisation.
  • Funding Agency
    • European Commission Horizon 2020
  • Date From
    • September 1st, 2018
  • Date To
    • August 31st, 2021
  • Title
    • PhD Scholarship
  • Summary
    • This research project will foster transdisciplinary, bottom-up processes, and the co-creation of a continuous, creative dialogue between and within communities and policy-makers with respect to nature-based solutions.
  • Funding Agency
    • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Date From
    • September 1st, 2018
  • Date To
    • August 31st, 2022


Biodiversity; Biodiversity and Conservation; BIOGEOGRAPHY; Citizen Science; CLIMATE CHANGE; Coastal management and conservation; CONSERVATION; Conservation Biology; ECOLOGY; Ecology, Ecosystems; ecosystem services; Ecosystem(s); ECOSYSTEMS; Education for Sustainable Development; Environmental Conservation; Environmental Geography; Environmental planning and sustainable development; Human Ecology; human geography; INNOVATION; landscape ecology; Marine Ecosystems; natural capital; Natural History; Natural Sciences; Nature conservation policy and practice; NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS; NEW NATURE; NOVEL ECOSYSTEMS; PEATLANDS; Restoration and Preservation; RESTORATION ECOLOGY; REWILDING; Social Innovation; SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS; Sustainable development; Sustainable Urbanism; Urban Ecology; Urban Geography; Wetland Ecosystems; Woodlands ecology


Awards and Honours

Government of Ireland Champion of EU Research Award; awarded by President M.D. Higgins 2011

Irish Research Council New Ideas Award 2011

University of Aberdeen: Transdisciplinary Masterclass Award 2006

University College Dublin: Graduate Research and Innovation Prize 2007

University College Dublin: Postgraduate Publication Prize 2004