von Essen






Profile summary

  • Wildlife management
  • Hunting
  • Urban wildlife
  • Invasive species
  • Digitization
  • Environmental ethics
  • Social movements

Erica von Essen is a human-wildlife scholar who examines the new roles that animals inhabit for us in the Anthropocene, and the conflicts and ethical dilemmas that arise with this.

Erica von Essen leads the project DigiWild: From virtual tourism to citizen science, investigating how publics produce and consume datafied wildlife in Sweden, funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. She also works part-time in the Formas-funded project BIOrdinary: Biodiversity dilemmas in ordinary places, based at the department of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University. von Essen is an active member of the Stewardship & Transformation theme at the Centre.

von Essen holds a PhD and docent title from Environmental Communication at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Before then, she completed a master of science in Sustainable Development from Uppsala University.

von Essen regularly appears in the Swedish and international media, both print and TV/radio to speak on issues of wildlife, particularly controversies such as trophy hunting, poaching, and wolf conservation. Her appearances include SVT Utrikesbyrån, Vetenskapens Värld, German ZTV, Sveriges Radio and Arte Channel’s Vox Pop.

She is also consulted by policy-makers and agencies on these issues, feeding into large carnivore management plans, SEPA reports, and participating in expert inquiries on hunting issues and legislative revisions. She has been invited to speak at both Swedish and EU parliaments on human-wolf conflicts.

von Essen is an elected member of Sveriges Vildnad (Swedish Wildlife Society); an Advisory board member of Digital Ecologies (based at Cambridge University), and a member of the ERC project Veterinarization of Europe? Hunting for Wild Boar Futures in the Time of African Swine Fever.

Awards and achievements

  • Recipient of the 2017 Pedagogical Prize, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Five supervised PhD students, 23 masters thesis students
  • Grant reviewer for research councils (National Science Foundation, New Frontiers in Research Fund Canada, UKRI Future Leader Fellowship) and tenure reviews
  • P.I. for five multiple-person research projects
  • PhD defense / VIVA evaluation committee member for three PhD students
  • Keynote speaker at Wolves Across Borders: Conference on Wolf Ecology and Management (2023), Animals in Crises Symposium (2022), The 24-hour Conference on Organized Crime (2022), NordCAW Symposium 2019: Animal welfare for wild animals
  • Reviewer for +45 journals

Key publications

von Essen, E. and Redmalm, D. 2023. Natural Born Cullers? How hunters police the more-than-human right to the city. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space

von Essen, E. Drenthen, M., Bhardwaj, M. 2023. How fences communicate interspecies codes of conduct: toward bidirectional communication? Wildlife Biology. Special Issue: Fences in conflict management.

von Essen, E. O’Mahony, K. Szczygielska, M. Arregui, A. Vaté, V. Gieser, T. Broz, L. 2023. The Many Boar Identities: Understanding difference and change in the geographies of European wild boar management. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.

von Essen, E. and D. Redmalm 2023. "Social licence to cull: Examining scepticism toward lethal wildlife removal in cities." People and Nature.

von Essen, E. and Redmalm, D. 2023. License to Cull: A Research Agenda for Investigating the Necropolitics of Countryside Culling and Urban Pest Control, Society & Animals (published online ahead of print 2023). doi:10.1163/15685306-bja10129

von Essen, E. The Virtual Animal in the Digital Anthropocene: Empowered or Subjugated? 2023. The Routledge International Handbook of More-than-Human Studies. Franklin, A. Routledge International Handbook Series pp. 241-254

von Essen, E. and Allen, M. 2023. Cow Releases as Staged Liberations in Agri-Tourism. 2022. Critical Animal Studies: Critical Animal Theory. (eds) Nocella II, A.J. George. Lexington Books.

Vajas, P., Von Essen, E., Tickle, L., Gamelon, M. Meeting the challenges of wild boar hunting in a modern society: The case of France. Ambio. 2023 Mar 21. doi: 10.1007/s13280-023-01852-