Gund Affiliate, Environmental Science and Policy Specialist, Research Faculty, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

Leah Bremer's work focuses on interdisciplinary, applied, and problem-driven research related to water and watershed policy and management.

As a geographer and conservation scientist by training, Leah views social and environmental challenges and solutions as intricately inter-connected and so works with collaborative teams of researchers, community groups, agencies, non-profits, and others to co-produce knowledge with the goal of informing effective and equitable decision making.

Leah's work broadly focuses on three inter-related themes: 1) illuminating the links between people and the environment (including watersheds) through various lenses, including ecosystem services, biocultural restoration, and inclusive valuation; 2) improving land and water management decisions to account for the multiple ways people use and value land and water, including through links to groundwater dependent ecosystems; and 3) critical evaluation of the social and ecological outcomes of ecosystem services policies and programs, including payments for watershed services, with the goal of improving program effectiveness and equity.

In addition to Leah's split appointment with UH Economic Research Organization (Environmental Policy and Planning Group) and the Water Resources Research Center, she is also collaborating faculty with the Department of Geography and Environment, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, and the Biocultural Initiative of the Pacific.

Leah is also a research fellow with Fundación Cordillera Tropical, an NGO in Ecuador who she worked with for many years.

Associations and Affiliations

  • University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
  • Environmental Policy and Planning Group - University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization
  • Water Resources Research Center 
  • Cooperating Faculty - Department of Natural Resources and Environment; Department of Geography and Environment
Gund Affiliate Leah Bremer

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Watershed conservation and management, social-ecological systems, biocultural restoration, social and ecological dimensions of payments for ecosystem services 


  • PhD, Geography, University of California at Santa Barbara - San Diego State University
  • MS, Conservation Biology, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand - Macquarie University, Australia
  • BA, Psychology, Northwestern University


  1. UHERO