Julia Leventon

Leventon, JuliaI am an interdisciplinary environmental social scientist working to understand policy implementation and formulation in the field of sustainability.  My research examines governance networks, including the ideas and actions of policy actors or stakeholders, and the structures and relationships that shape them.  I am interested in the multi-level, interdisciplinary nature of governance networks, and in connecting on-the-ground activities into policy processes. In this way, issues of scale (spatial and temporal) often feature in my work.

My research methods include stakeholder and network analysis, participatory methods and transdisciplinary research forums, and elite interviews.  I am particularly interested in mixed-methods research approaches in sustainability science.

I am particularly interested in how governance processes are shaped by both the political context and the material/physical context.  I have therefore conducted in-depth case study research into a range of environmental challenges in a number of political systems.  These include the management of groundwater in Eastern Europe; climate governance in sub-Saharan Africa; and biodiversity in agricultural landscapes in Western Europe.

For more information and updates on my research:

Current Research Projects

Leverage Points for Sustainability Transformations (www.leveragepoints.org).  Co-Principal Investigator, and project manager.  Funded by the VW Foundation.

MULTAGRI: Rural Development through Governance of Multifunctional Agricultural Land Use (www.cec.lu.se/research/multagri).  Senior Research Associate.  Funded by ERA-Net RURAGRI.

RECARE: Preventing and Remediating degradation of soils in Europe through Land Care (www.recare-project.eu).  Co-Investigator.  Funded by the EU’s 7th Framework Programme.  Through this project, I retain links to the Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds, UK.

Professional Activities

I am a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the Development Studies Association.

I am an associate editor of the peer reviewed journal Environmental Policy and Governance.

Highlighted Publications

For a full list of publications, please see the publications page.


Beyers, F., Leventon, J., & Heinrichs, H. (2022). Collaborative governance or state regulation? Endless efforts but little capacity for sustainability transformation of the German textile sector. Environmental Policy and Governance, 1– 22 [free open access content].


Beyers, F. & Leventon, J. (2021). Learning spaces in multi-stakeholder initiatives: The German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles as a platform for dialogue and learning?. Earth System Governance, 9, 100113 [free open access content].

Leventon, J., Duşe, I. A. & Horcea-Milcu, A. I. (2021). Leveraging Biodiversity Action From Plural Values: Transformations of Governance Systems. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 9 [free open access content].

Klaniecki, K., Duse, IA., Engler, JO., Leventon, J. & Abson, D.J. (2021) Energy conservation attitudes and intentions: investigating place attachment in Eastern Transylvania, Romania (Actitudes e intenciones respecto al ahorro de energía: investigando el apego al lugar en Transilvania Oriental, Rumanía). PsyEcology, 12:2, 177-201 [free open access content].


Klaniecki, K., Duse, I. A., Lutz, L. M., Leventon, J. & Abson, D. J. (2020). Applying the energy cultures framework to understand energy systems in the context of rural sustainability transformation. Energy Policy, 137, 111092.


Balázsi, G., Riechers, M., Hartel, T., Leventon, J. & Fischer, J. (2019). The impacts of social-ecological system change on human-nature connectedness: A case study from Transylvania, Romania. Land Use Policy, 89, 104232.

Bergsten, A., Jiren, T. S., Leventon, J., Dorresteijn, I., Schultner, J. & Fischer, J. (2019). Identifying governance gaps among interlinked sustainability challenges. Environmental Science & Policy, 91, 27–38 [free open access content].

Leventon, J., Schaal, T., Velten, S., Loos, J., Fischer, J., & Newig, J. (2019). Landscape-scale biodiversity governance: Scenarios for reshaping spaces of governance. Environmental Policy and Governance, 29(3), 170-184.


Klaniecki, K., Leventon, J. & Abson, D.J. (2018). Human–nature connectedness as a ‘treatment’ for pro-environmental behavior: making the case for spatial considerations. Sustainability Science, 13(5), 1375–1388 [free open access content].

Jiren, T. S., Bergsten, A., Dorresteijn, I., Collier, N. F., Leventon, J. & Fischer, J. (2018). Integrating food security and biodiversity governance: A multi-level social network analysis in Ethiopia. Land Use Policy, 78, 420–429.

Velten, S., Schaal, T., Leventon, J., Hanspach, J., Fischer, J., & Newig, J. (2018). Rethinking biodiversity governance in European agricultural landscapes: Acceptability of alternative governance scenarios. Land Use Policy, 77, 84-93.


Abson, D. J., Fischer, J., Leventon, J., Newig, J., Schomerus, T., Vilsmaier, U., von Wehrden, H., Abernethy, P., Ives, C. D., Jager, N. W. & Lang, D. J. (2017). Leverage points for sustainability transformation. Ambio, 46(1), 30-39.

Ekroos J., Leventon J., Fischer J., Newig J., & Smith H. G. (2017). Embedding evidence on conservation interventions within a context of multi‐level governance. Conservation Letters 10(1), 139-145 [free open access content].

Leventon, J. (2017). Case study: the social context of arsenic regulation and exposure in South East Hungary. In P. Bhattacharya, D. A. Polya, D. Jovanovic (Eds.), Best Practice Guide on the Control of Arsenic in Drinking Water. IWA Publishing.

Leventon, J. (2017). Community awareness and engagement for arsenic management. In P. Bhattacharya, D. A. Polya, D. Jovanovic (Eds.), Best Practice Guide on the Control of Arsenic in Drinking Water. IWA Publishing.

Leventon, J., Schaal, T., Velten, S., Dänhardt, J., Fischer, J., Abson, D.J., & Newig, J. (2017). Collaboration or fragmentation? Biodiversity management through the common agricultural policy. Land Use Policy, 64, 1-12.

Leventon, J. & Laudan, J. (2017). Local food sovereignty for global food security? Highlighting interplay challenges. Geoforum, 85, 23–26.

Matias, D.M.S., Leventon, J., Rau, AL. (2017). A review of ecosystem service benefits from wild bees across social contexts. Ambio, 46, 456–467 [free open access content].

von Wehrden, H., Luederitz, C., Leventon, J., Russell, S. (2017). Methodological Challenges in Sustainability Science: A Call for Method Plurality, Procedural Rigor and Longitudinal Research. Challenges in Sustainability, 5, 35-42.


Abson, D. J., Fischer, J., Leventon, J., Newig, J., Schomerus, T., Vilsmaier, U., von Wehrden, H., Abernethy, P., Ives, C. D., Jager, N. W., & Lang, D. J. (2016). Leverage points for sustainability transformation. Ambio. [Free Open Access Content].

Dorresteijn, I., Milcu, A.I., Leventon, J., Hanspach J. & Fischer, J. (2016). Social factors mediating human–carnivore coexistence: Understanding thematic strands influencing coexistence in Central Romania. Ambio, 45, 490–500 [free open access content].

Horcea-Milcu, AI., Leventon, J., Hanspach, J. & Fischer, J. (2016). Disaggregated contributions of ecosystem services to human well-being: a case study from Eastern Europe. Regional Environ Change, 16, 1779–1791 [free open access content].

Leventon, J., Fleskens, L., Claringbould, H., Schwilch, G. & Hessel, R. (2016). An applied methodology for stakeholder identification in transdisciplinary research. Sustainability Science, 11(5), 763–775 [free open access content].

Leventon, J., Newig, J., Schaal, T., & S. Velten (2016). Governance approaches to address scale issues in biodiversity management – current situation and ways forward. MultAgri Policy Brief. MULTAGRI. 03/2016.

Nieto-Romero, M., Milcu, A., Leventon, J., Mikulcak, F. & Fischer, J. (2016). The role of scenarios in fostering collective action for sustainable development: Lessons from central Romania. Land Use Policy, 50, 156–168.

Schwilch, G., Bernet, L., Fleskens, L., Giannakis, E., Leventon, J., Marañón, T., Mills, J., Short, C., Stolte, J., van Delden, H. & Verzandvoort, S. (2016). Operationalizing ecosystem services for the mitigation of soil threats: A proposed framework. Ecological Indicators, 67, 586–597.


Leventon, J., Dyer, J. C., & Van Alstine, J. D. (2015). The private sector in climate governance: opportunities for climate compatible development through multilevel industry-government engagement. Journal of Cleaner Production, 102, 316-323.

Leventon, J. (2015). Explaining implementation deficits through multi-level governance in the EU’s new member states: EU limits for arsenic in drinking water in Hungary. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 58(7), 1137-1153.

Schwilch, G., Bernet, L., Claringbould, H., Fleskens, L., Giannakis, E., Leventon, J., Marañón, T., Mills, J. , Short, C. J., Stolte, J., van Delden, H. &Verzandvoort, S. (2015). Soil Functions & Ecosystem Services. In J. Stolte, M. Tesfai, L. Oygarden, S. Kvaerno, J. Keizer, F. Verheijen, P. Panagos, C. Ballabio, R. Hessel (Eds.), Soil threats in Europe: status, methods, drivers and effects on ecosystem services (pp.155-206). European Union. [free open access content].

Velten S., Leventon J., Jager N., & Newig J. (2015). What Is Sustainable Agriculture? A Systematic Review. Sustainability 7, 7833–7865 [free open access content].

Whitfield, S., Dougill, A.J., Dyer, J.C., Kalaba, F.K., Leventon, J., & Stringer, L.C. (2015). Critical reflection on knowledge and narratives of conservation agriculture.  Geoforum, 60, 133.


Leventon, J., & Hug, S. (2012). Consumer concerns about drinking water in an area with high levels of naturally occurring arsenic in groundwater, and the implications for managing health risks. In P. Bhattacharya, I. Rosborg, A. Sandhi, C. Hayes, & M. J. Benoliel (Eds.), COST Action 637. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference Metals and Related Substances in Drinking Water, METEAU, Kristianstad, Sweden, October 13-15, 2010 (pp. 34-40). London: IWA Publishing.


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