Background and activities

My academic interests can be placed at the interface of political ecology, ecological economics and critical geography and my research can be grouped in three core themes. First, extractivism and environmental governance in Ecuador, Peru and Indonesia, particularly related to multi-scalar relations of power, political participation in decision-making and configurations of agencies and materialities in complex natural resources-based economies. Second, feminist and decolonial theorization of political ecology in Latin America, framed within the intersectionalities between capital, patriarchy and coloniality and the identification of historical and emerging proposals for transformation coming from social movements and organizations. Finally, the analysis of socio-territorial conflicts motivated by actions against development projects and green neoliberal schemes, with particular regard to the understanding of institutionality, territoriality and social and environmental justice.

My current postdoctoral research is part of the “Extractive Industries, Transparency and Citizen Engagement in the Global South” project at the Geography Department, Norwegian University of Science and Technology. It aims to extend the analysis of environmental governance to understand new forms of institutional transformations and multi-scalar political participation for the economic transitions in Belitung, Indonesia, an island that shows an interesting configuration of various natural resource-based economies. I am particularly interested in understanding forms of people agency and the material and discursive struggles over access, control and management of natural resources in the transition from mining to tourism in the island. 


Vela-Almeida, D. “Seeing like a state” – “Seeing like the people”: a history of territory and resistance in the Southern Ecuadorian AmazonPolitical Ecology (in press).

Vela-Almeida, D., Zaragocín, S., Bayón, M. & Arazola, I. 2020. Imagining plural territories of life: a feminist reading of resistance in the socio-territorial movements in Ecuador. Journal of Latin American Geography, 19(2), 265-287.

Moreano, M. & Vela-Almeida, D. 2020. El lugar de la ecología política dentro de la geografía latinoamericana: el caso de CLAG. Journal of Latin American Geography, 19(1), 74-83.

Kolinjivadi, V., Vela-Almeida, D., Martineau, J. 2019. Can the planet really be saved in Time? On the temporalities of socionature, the clock and the limits debate. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 1-23.

Kolinjivadi, V., Van Hecken, G., Vela-Almeida, D., Kosoy, N & Dupras, J. 2019. Neoliberal performatives and the ´making´ of payment for ecosystem services. Progress in Human Geography, 1-23.

Vela-Almeida, D. 2018. Territorial partitions, the production of mining territory and the building of a post-neoliberal and plurinational state in Ecuador. Political Geography, 62, 126-136.


Vela-Almeida, D., Kolinjivadi, V., & Kosoy, N. 2017. The building of mining discourses and the politics of scale in Ecuador. World Development, 103, 188-198.

Vela-Almeida, D., Kuijk, F., Wyseure, G., & Kosoy, N. 2016. Lessons from Yanacocha: assessing mining impacts on hydrological systems and water distribution in the Cajamarca region, Peru. Water International, 41(3), 426-446.

Vela-Almeida, D., Brooks, G., & Kosoy, N. 2015. Setting the limits to extraction: a biophysical approach to mining activities. Ecological Economics119, 189-196.


Vela-Almeida, D. 2019. “Particiones territoriales: territorio minero y la construcción de un estado postneoliberal y plurinacional en Ecuador”. In: Colectivo de Geografía Crítica del Ecuador. Geografía Crítica para detener el despojo de los territorios: teorías y experiencias en Ecuador. Quito: Abya-Yala.

Vela-Almeida, D., Kuijk, F., Wyseure, G., & Kosoy, N. 2017. “Lessons from Yanacocha: assessing mining impacts on hydrological systems and water distribution in the Cajamarca region, Peru”. In Nickum, J.E., Brooks, D.B., Turton, A. R., & Esterhuyse, S. (eds). The Water Legacies of Conventional Mining. Routledge.

Vela-Almeida, D., & Alfaro Reyes, E. 2013. “Componente Antropológico”. In Prieto Méndez, J. Derechos de la Naturaleza. Fundamento, contenido y exigibilidad jurisdiccional. Quito: Corte Constitucional del Ecuador.


Vela-Almeida, D. 2016. “Mining, environments and people: depicting environmental, socio-economic and political understandings of mining conflicts in Cajamarca, Peru and Cordillera del Condor, Ecuador” Doctoral Dissertation, McGill University.

Vela, D. 2011. “Discourse Analysis of the Biodiversity Policy in Ecuador: a struggle between different coalitions” Masters Dissertation, Wageningen University.

Vela, D. 2011. “Collective action of small-scale producers of furniture in Jepara, Indonesia”. Internal Report, CIFOR. Bogor.

Vela, D. 2009. “IMBABURA: Páramo y Cosmovisión Indígena”. CAMAREN, Quito.


Vela-Almeida, D. y Giunta, I. (2019). “Religión, género y derechos humanos: entrevista a Juan José Tamayo”. Estado y Comunes.

Scientific, academic and artistic work

Journal publications


  • Vela Almeida, Diana Raquel; León, Mauricio; Lewinsohn, José Luis. (2021) Indicadores de Sostenibilidad en la Industria Minera Metálica. Policy Report prepared for the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC. 2021.