Sarah C. Klain


Transitioning away from fossil fuels is crucial to mitigating climate change. Offshore wind farms have the potential to generate not only a substantial amount of electricity but also considerable controversy. My research focuses on coastal communities considering offshore wind farms and marine ecosystem services, which are ecological processes that provide benefits to people.

I collaborated with the non-profit organization Island Institute to document lessons learned from community engaCraig Denfordgement on three New England islands near proposed offshore wind farms. I also conducted surveys about public attitudes towards this technology and willingness to pay for offshore wind farms that are biologically regenerative (i.e., provide high quality fish habitat).

Stellar Sea Lions in the Broughton Archipelago

I started my PhD after completing my master’s thesis research in Northern Vancouver Island, which was done in collaboration with the Regional District of Mount Waddington and Living Oceans Society. I interviewed people about why the ocean is important to them for economic and cultural reasons (see this 3 min video summarizing my research). I also asked participants to map areas of monetary importance, non-monetary importance and areas under environmental threat. This type of research can inform marine spatial planning, particularly the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area process which is underway along the north coast of British Columbia.

Clams mussels Sarah2

Before I came to UBC, I graduated from Reed College where I majored in biology and also studied environmental economics. My interest in sustainability, ecology, economics, and fisheries further developed when I worked as a GIS Technician and Research Assistant at Ecotrust, a conservation organization dedicated to improving economic opportunities, social equity and environmental stewardship. I also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Micronesia at Palau’s Bureau of Marine Resources where I helped lead a sea turtle conservation and monitoring program. In Palau, I collected baseline data and did environmental education and outreach on sea turtlesdugongs and saltwater crocodiles (see linked photos) and helped with a reef survey in remote Helen Reef.

PublicationsKlain Fog Fishing Boat

Gould, R. K., Klain, S. C., Ardoin, N. M., Satterfield, T., Woodside, U., Hannahs, N., et al. (2014). A Protocol for Eliciting Nonmaterial Values Through a Cultural Ecosystem Services Frame. Conservation Biology,

Klain, S. C., Beveridge, R., & Bennett, N. J. (2014). Ecologically sustainable but unjust? Negotiating equity and authority in common-pool marine resource management. Ecology and Society, 19(4), art52. doi:10.5751/ES-07123-190452

Klain, S. C., Satterfield, T. A., & Chan, K. M. A. (2014). What matters and why? Ecosystem services and their bundled qualities. Ecological Economics, 107(C), 1–11. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.09.003

Russell, R., Guerry, A. D., Balvanera, P., Gould, R. K., Basurto, X., Chan, K. M. A., Klain, S. C. et al. (2013). Humans and Nature: How Knowing and Experiencing Nature Affect Well-Being. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 38(1), 473–502. doi:10.1146/annurev-environ-012312-110838

Ban, N. C., Mills, M., Tam, J., Hicks, C. C., Klain, S., Stoeckl, N., et al. (2013). A social-ecological approach to conservation planning: embedding social considerations. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

Satterfield, T., Gregory, R., Klain, S., Roberts, M., & Chan, K. M. (2013). Culture, intangibles and metrics in environmental management. Journal of Environmental Management, 117, 103–114. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.11.033

Klain, S. C., & Chan, K. M. A. (2012). Navigating coastal values: Participatory mapping of ecosystem services for spatial planning. Ecological Economics, 82, 104–113. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2012.07.008

Chan, K.M.A., Guerry, Anne D., Balvanera, P., Klain, S., Satterfield, T., Basurto, X., Bostrom, A., Chuenpagdee, R., Gould, R., Halpern, B.S., Hannahs, N., Levine, J., Norton, B., Ruckelshaus, M., Russell, R., Tam, J., Ulalia Woodside. (2012). Where are ‘Cultural’ and ‘Social’ in Ecosystem Services? A Framework for Constructive Engagement. BioScience, 62(8).

Sisk, T. D., Singh, G., Tam, J., Chan, K. M. A., Klain, S., Mach, M., & Martone, R. (2011). Barriers and Incentives to Engagement in Public Policy and Science-based Advocacy. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, 92(3), 276–280. doi:10.1890/0012-9623-92.3.276

Chan, K., Gregr, E. J., & Klain, S. (2009). A critical course change. Science. [book review]

Klain, S., J. Eberdong, et al. (2007). Linking Micronesia and Southeast Asia: Palau Sea Turtle Satellite Tracking and Flipper Tag Returns. Marine Turtle Newsletter 118, 9-11.

clam dawn

Historic clam garden site near Calvert Island, BC

Additional Links

A short video for the SciFund Challenge  on the BC salmon aquaculture controversy, my use of social media and my research

Clam Gardens and Clean Energy, my oral statement to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Panel Review Panel

Piscivore’s Dilemma, a fun, short film on why it’s hard (but not impossible!) to buy local seafood from a fishing town on the west coast of Vancouver Island

Ancient Navigators of the Pacific, essay and photos on sea turtle conservation in Micronesia

Sarah fishYou can contact me at s.klain.ubc[at]