School of GeoSciences Research

Environment and society

We explore the interactions between natural anthropogenic processes, environments, resources, people and places.

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Through our work, we aim to provide research-led solutions to global environmental and societal challenges.

Did you know?

  • By harnessing the potential of space and satellites in Earth observation and big data, we are using techniques to help the sustainability of resources such as forests, landscapes and agriculture.  For example, we have helped protect and restore up to 300million hectares of tropical forests by improving satellite monitoring in six partner countries.  
  • We have developed new methods using statistical tools and seismic data to forecast volcanic eruptions.  We are also undertaking probabilistic volcanic hazard assessment in a way that accounts for and quantifies uncertainty.  Using discrete element simulation, we have improved the physical basis for evolving population dynamics of fractures in brittle porous media, explaining scaling relations used in seismic hazard calculation.
  • We host the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (formerly the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation).  ECCI is Scotland’s leading centre for interdisciplinary research, teaching, policy and practice for climate action. It is the primary research-into-policy channel for the Scottish Government and is home to numerous programmes focusing on a green and just recovery.  

Want to know more?

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Satellite data allows us to see how forests are changing and help diagnose why – whether it be fire, agriculture or urban spread. Our models then predict what will happen to the savannas if we continue to act in this way and what the outcomes will be if lands are managed differently. This work is essential to help guide community preparations for and adaptations to climate change and so ensure livelihoods can be sustained and enhanced.

Professor Mathew WilliamsSchool of GeoSciences