Catherine Ashcraft

Phone: (603) 862-3925
Office: Natural Resources & the Environment, James Hall Rm 134, Durham, NH 03824
Catherine Ashcraft

I am interested in the human dimensions of ecological systems. I focus on how environmental policies and institutions are negotiated and designed, how they respond to change, and are renegotiated. I apply this research to develop actionable recommendations for negotiators to better manage conflict and uncertainty and for international and global institutions to promote sustainability and environmental justice. I am particularly interested in freshwater systems and the nexus between water, energy, climate and agriculture. I am eager to build bridges between environmental research, teaching and practice. Current research projects include adaptive and integrated approaches to flood risk management in Europe and New England, institutions for managing conflict and uncertainty in the Danube and Nile Rivers, and international water diplomacy. I’m currently co-editing a book with Dr. Tamar Mayer on The Politics of Fresh Water, which is under contract with Routledge/Earthscan. I am also a faculty fellow at UNH’s Carsey School of Public Policy and a Senior Researcher at the Center for Conflict Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

I am always looking for graduate students who are motivated and passionate about interdisciplinary work on the human dimensions of ecological systems. I strive to support students on my research grants, but also expect and work with students to seek external sources of funding. If you are interested in applying to work with me, please email me your CV and a brief description of your background and interests.


  • Ph.D., Urban and Regional Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • M., Environmental Science, Yale University
  • B.A., Biology and Philosophy of Science, University of Pennsylvania

Courses Taught

  • NR 600: Work Experience
  • NR 602: Nat Resources&Envrnmtl Policy
  • NR 720/820: Intl Envrnmt Politics&Policies
  • NR 724/824: Resolving Environmtl Conflicts

Selected Publications

Song, C., Diessner, N. L., Ashcraft, C. M., & Mo, W. (2021). Can science-informed, consensus-based stakeholder negotiations achieve optimal dam decision outcomes?. Environmental Development, 37, 100602. doi:10.1016/j.envdev.2020.100602

Diessner, N. L., Ashcraft, C. M., Gardner, K. H., & Hamilton, L. C. (2020). I’ll be dammed! Public preferences regarding dam removal in New Hampshire. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, 8(1). doi:10.1525/elementa.003

Malloy, J. T., & Ashcraft, C. M. (2020). A framework for implementing socially just climate adaptation. Climatic Change, 160(1), 1-14. doi:10.1007/s10584-020-02705-6

Weir, M. J., Ashcraft, C. M., Leuchanka Diessner, N., McGreavy, B., Vogler, E., & Guilfoos, T. (n.d.). Language effects on bargaining. PLOS ONE, 15(3), e0229501. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0229501

Luczaj, K., & Holy Luczaj, M. (2020). Live streaming at international academic conferences: Cooling down the digital optimism. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, 8. doi:10.1525/elementa.435

The Politics of Fresh Water (n.d.). . Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315717432

Ashcraft, C. M., & Mayer, T. (2016). The Politics of Fresh Water Access, conflict and identity. Routledge.

Most Cited Publications