School of GeoSciences Research

Sustainable forests and landscapes

We seek to obtain a deeper understanding of the benefits and limitations of ecosystem services in shaping sustainable environments.

The global change ecology laboratory has pioneered model-data fusion approaches for carbon cycle analysis. We link process modelling to data, generating unique diagnostic insights into carbon cycle processes, and a robust assessment of process model uncertainty.

Our research ranges from high-resolution time series investigations at study sites, to global analyses using earth observation.  We address questions such as “what is the optimum model complexity for C cycle prediction?”; “what is the dominant cause of uncertainty in model forecasts?” and “What are the key determinants of C sinks and sources across global biomes?”.

Examples of collaborative research include:

Can forest planting help us manipulate catchment sub-surface runoff pathways and contribute to natural flood management strategies?

Investigating team: Dr Leo Peskett, Professor Kate Heal; with British Geological Survey and the University of Dundee, UK

“Our Phosphorus Future”, bringing together scientific evidence to support policies to address the phosphorus sustainability challenge

Investigating team: Professor Kate Heal, Professor Dave Reay; with UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

The effect of wind farms on peatlands on aquatic carbon, phosphorus and nitrogen fluxes

Investigating team:  Professor Kate Heal; with University of Glasgow, UK; Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA); and Scottish Natural Heritage

Resilience of the UK food system to global shocks 

Principal Investigator: Dr Peter Alexander

More information on this project award can be found on *ERE

UKRI GCRF South Asia Nitrogen Hub 

CWI-UNEP International Nitrogen Management System (INMS

Principal Investigator: Professor Dave Reay

More information on this project award can be found on *ERE

Our researchers in sustainable landscapes and forests are:

  • Dr Peter Alexander
  • Dr Alfy Gathorne-Hardy
  • Professor Kate Heal
  • Dr Aidan Keane  
  • Professor David Reay
  • Dr Casey Ryan
  • Dr Gary Watmough

Centre for Sustainable Forests and Landscapes

The Centre for Sustainable Forests and Landscapes work with a wide range of partners to provide critical interdisciplinary knowledge to deliver sustainable landscape management and policy development, with an emphasis on forested landscape mosaics.

Visit the Centre for Sustainable Forests and Landscapes website


* Edinburgh Research Explorer (ERE) is the University's research information system and is managed by Library and University Collections.