Sanna Stålhammar

Sanna Stålhammar
I am an interdisciplinary sustainability scientist, interested in social and conceptual dimensions of biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human-nature connections. I draw on critical social science and philosophical perspectives to inform approaches for values and valuation of ecosystem services and biodiversity.


Current projects:

The role of local knowledge in assessments of biodiversity loss and climate change impacts (Formas 2023-2027)

The aim of this project is to develop the methodology for the integration of scientific and local knowledge in assessments of biodiversity loss and climate change impacts, in order to provide for more comprehensive and just assessments. The project combines conceptual analysis and literature reviews with empirical case studies focusing on regulated rivers in Sweden, which provides a critical case for complex trade-offs between local biodiversity freshwater degradation and fossil free hydroelectric power benefits.

Numeric trees and measurable ecosystem services: threats and opportunities for sustainable urban planning (Formas 2023-2026)

This project responds to concerns of risks of the effect of translating urban nature into quantitative and monetary measures, challenges in applying generic metrics for place specific governance, and to the need to analyse varied interpretations and outcomes of tree valuation in urban planning and management. The aim is to scrutinise if valuation of urban trees result in more sustainable planning and decision-making, or if such tools merely work to legitimise existing status quo. By following an STS approach, we uncover the power relations in ES valuation and investigate the i-Tree tool as a calculative device. The project traces the mechanisms and steps involved in the quantification and monetisation of trees, outlines the network and interactions between scientists, consultancies, planners and developers engaged with valuation, and analyses the interpretations and outcomes of tree valuation in Swedish cities.

As part of the VIVA-Plan project, I have been examining citizen resistance against the exploitation of urban nature, and how framings and assessments of green infrastructure leverages power in planning.



P000027 Critical Plant Studies: Re-imaginings of vegetal life (PhD course)


My research strives to diversify conceptions and assessments of human-nature relations within the ecosystem services paradigm. I examine the construction of values and valuation of natural environments. Ecosystem Services is a contested but widely applied framework that through its conceptualisation instrumentalises ecosystem functions toward particular ends related to human wellbeing or preferences. I contribute to the debates around various conflicts that arise through the anthropocentric framing of these concepts and approaches. A key tension explored in my work is that between abstract systems of categorisation, such as those often central to ecosystem services approaches, and people's varied perceptions and experiences in natural environments. I draw on qualitative and narrative methods to understand local values, and contribute to the methodological development of knowledge integration of values of biodiversity. I engage with philosphical and ethical foundations of values, and the politics of environmental knowledge in the science-policy interface. My field work is based on engagement with local communities and municipalities in Skåne in Sweden, in Cape Town, South Africa, and in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Sanna has a PhD in Sustainability Science from LUCSUS Lund University, and a MSc in Ecosystem Services from Edinburgh University. She has worked in inter-and transdisciplinary research projects on the implementation of ecosystem services approaches on municipal levels and in spatial planning (ECOSIMP and Mistra City-to-City learning lab)


Forskare vid Institutionen för landskapsarkitektur, planering och förvaltning
Box 190
234 22 Lomma
Besöksadress: Slottsvägen 5, Alnarp, Alnarp