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The socio-ecology of land use intensification.

Casey Ryan and the LANDteam research group

The socio-ecology of land use intensification.

Contact Casey Ryan: | +44 (0)131 650 7722

About me

I am a Professor of Land System Science at the University of Edinburgh, School of GeoSciences.

Broadly, I’m interested in the socio-ecology of land use transitions, particularly the ways that land use change impacts livelihoods and ecosystems. I teach mixed methods, ecosystem ecology and run professional placements that allow students to spend time applying their new knowledge outside academia. My research combines remote sensing, ecological fieldwork and modelling, household surveys and interviews. I’ve applied these to understand a range of land use transitions with a focus on southern Africa and the dry tropics.

My main research topics include:

  • Deforestation and forest degradation, with a particular emphasis on new methods to quantify degradation and its drivers
  • Miombo woodland ecology, particularly the role of fire
  • Land use change in woodlands and savannas, particularly in SE Asia and Africa
  • The socio-ecological outcomes of land use intensification
  • The carbon cycle of tropical savannas and dry forests
  • Radar remote sensing



My research and other work

I lead a team of researchers and students called the LANDteam. See the links on the left for more details about the group’s projects and activities, and some of our papers.

You can read this paper to understand the 10 things I think are important about how land systems work: Meyfroidt P, de Bremond A, Ryan CM, et al (2022) Ten facts about land systems for sustainability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 119, 1–12. [open access]

I have also worked for UK Department for International Development, (DFID) providing consultancy and research services to their Africa department on issues relating to REDD+.

In 2009 I worked at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology producing a briefing note on deforestation for MPs and Peers. I used to be the secretary of the Royal Society‘s Global Environmental Research Committee and part of their Frontiers of Science Programme. From 2002-2005 I worked as the international project officer of the SOLAS (Surface Ocean – Lower Atmosphere Study) at UEA. Before that I taught English in China and worked at a design agency.



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