Who we are
Dr. Casey Ryan, Reader in ecosystem services and global change at the University of Edinburgh, School of GeoSciences.
Dr. Sam Bowers
Sam develops tools for monitoring forest change across Africa, part of the SMFM project, funded by the World Bank. He works with colleagues in Zambia and Mozambique to develop tools to monitor dry forests, savannas and woodlands with remote sensing. Full details here.
Dr. Bowy den Braber
Bowy works on the SEOSAW project, and is particularly interested in the spatial patterns of the floristic composition of the woodlands of southern Africa and how to map them.
Sam works as part of the SECO project, with a focus on spatial analyses of the carbon cycle in the dry tropics.
Current PhD students
Peter researches the operational integration of remote sensing into the analysis of rural poverty by using high-resolution satellite imagery and relating this to measures of wellbeing derived from household survey datasets in southern Mozambique. The objective is to explore the role that remote sensing can play in improving the monitoring of socioeconomic conditions in rural spaces. Peter is also working with the Ecosystem Services and Management Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).
Lucy is a first year PhD student researching the response of savannas and dry forests to global change, with a focus on areas of conservation concern. Her project will have a strong aspect of remote sensing to understand the effects of climate change, land use and changing CO2 on dry tropical ecosystems. Lucy is part of the SENSE CDT.
Project: Socio-ecological landscape dynamics in the headwaters of the Okavango (with the National Geographic Foundation).
Project: Causes and consequences of degradation in the woodlands of Tanzania
Project: The socio-ecology of woodfuels in sub-Saharan Africa
Luisa Fernanda Escobar Alvarado
Project: Socio-ecological landscape dynamics in the headwaters of the Okavango
Lorena’s project explores fragmentation in African savannas, address our knowledge gap first by quantifying fragmentation, intactness, and connectivity in African savannas and determining how these processes impact the survival of animals, ecosystem services such as climate regulation and carbon sequestration, and the livelihoods of people
Thom’s project aimed to assess the drivers of spatial and temporal patterns of biomass change in the Miombo woodlands of south-eastern Africa with a particular interest in areas showing a trend of increasing biomass. As part of his PhD he conducted a placement with Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique.
Brig was a PhD student studying tree growth rates across southern Africa, as part of the SEOSAW project.
Ellie studied degradation and fire socio-ecology in rural Tanzania. The miombo woodlands she worked in directly support local livelihoods as well as being globally-important carbon stores and sources of biodiversity. Ellie used social and natural science methods to study causes of woodland degradation, such as fire, and their impacts on ecosystem services to inform effective and equitable conservation. She has also undertaken work with Tree Aid as part of her PhD.
Paula Nieto Quintano
Paula finished a PhD where she set up a fire experiment in the Bateke Plateau, in the Republic of Congo, to understand the floristic composition, carbon storage, woody cover and fire regime of that mesic savanna-forest mosaic ecosystem. Her PhD was funded by the US Forest Service and the University of Edinburgh, supported by WCS Congo.
She then worked as a research assistant with TreeAID, an organisation that works on the potential of trees to reduce poverty and protect the environment in drylands in Africa. Her research explores the use of open access remote sensing approaches to develop a method to quantify the impact of TreeAID´s work on carbon stocks in forest sites in Burkina Faso. Additionally, she will assist with measurement protocols for the establishment and monitoring of permanent plots for TreeAID’s projects.
Geoff studied adaptive management and the social-ecological drivers of tree biomass and diversity in smallholder agroforestry schemes in the tropics (Mexico, Mozambique and Uganda). He used mixed-methods research using tree measurements, environmental data and social surveys/interviews.
As a final year undergraduate, Shawn was a research assistant in the CycleEx project, which aims to quantify the impact of cyclone Idai on savanna-dry forest systems.