Dr Elsa Maria Cardona Santos

Elsa Maria Cardona Santos holds a PhD in Environmental Economics and works at the interface between science and policy, focusing on biodiversity conservation. Her work primarily involves the provision of ecosystem services through nature protection and restoration, the mainstreaming of biodiversity goals, and the promotion of socio-ecological transformation processes, particularly through participatory approaches.

She studied Economics at the University of Freiburg and earned her Master's degree in Food and Resource Economics at the University of Bonn, specializing in Environmental Economics and Policy. She completed her PhD at the same university in 2018, where she also served as a lecturer.

Her research at the Centre for Development Research (ZEF) and the University of Bonn focused on the cost-effective design of market-based instruments for biodiversity and climate protection and their social impacts. At the Environmental Action Germany (DUH) in Berlin, her work in biodiversity policy concentrated on the mainstreaming of natural capital in sectors such as agriculture, finance, and supply chains. She gained experience in facilitating dialogues between science, policy, and society, as well as in science communication and environmental education.

As a postdoc at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), she was involved in the conception of the communication and implementation process for the German National Biodiversity Strategy 2030. This included developing recommendations for implementation tools and participatory processes. Her research examined the integration of biodiversity goals into various sectors and levels of decision-making, including elements of transformative biodiversity policy. She is currently working as a freelance biodiversity expert.