Alaric McCarthy

James Butler

Manager Social Science

Role at Cawthron

James is a Cawthron’s Social Science Manager, with a multi-disciplinary background in agricultural economics, development studies and terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecology gained in Africa, Scotland, Australia and the Indo-Pacific region. His research solves complex natural resource management problems, focussing on achieving climate resilient development with coastal and island communities. He applies participatory systems research to develop tools and processes with decision-makers that enable them to better understand future change, and to adapt and innovate accordingly. At Cawthron, James’ projects involve transforming coastal food systems, adaptation in commercial and recreational fisheries and aquaculture, and blue carbon conservation and restoration

Technical skills, experience and interests

  • Social-ecological systems understanding
  • Adaptation pathways planning
  • Monitoring, evaluation and learning
  • Knowledge integration, including traditional and Indigenous knowledge
  • Governance and power mapping
  • Workshop facilitation and knowledge brokering
  • Conflict resolution


  • 1989: BSc (Hons.), Agricultural Economics and Management, University of Reading (UK)
  • 1994: MSc, Tropical Resource Ecology Programme, University of Zimbabwe
  • 1998: PhD, Tropical Resource Ecology Programme, University of Zimbabwe
  • 2010: Diploma, Australian Institute of Company Directors

ORCID profile URL: James Butler (0000-0001-8333-947X) (

Web of Science URL: Butler, James RA – Web of Science Core Collection


Alaric McCarthy