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Managing natural resources

This research area combines experimental and desk top studies and stakeholder engagement to inform management and policy decision-making for sustainable natural resource use.

Controlled burning on UK upland peat land. Photo: Andreas Heinemneyer, SEI

Our research takes key issues of the day, particularly related to flooding, soil health, food supply and biodiversity loss, and aims to understand the underlying ecological mechanisms driving change, the options for mitigation and adaptation, and the human perceptions and behaviours that influence the adoption of alternative management practices.

A major focus is on exploring the linkages of soil biota to ecosystem services, mainly in relation to the carbon cycle and GHG emissions, and water quality. The group has expertise in carbon and nutrient cycling, water management for flood prevention (including natural flood management), ecosystem-based adaptation, multifunctional land use, ecological restoration/rehabilitation, landscape ecology and land use/spatial planning.

A variety of modelling tools are employed in the group’s work including the peatland model (MILLENNIA), and soil carbon models such as Century and  DNDC. We also employ experimental monitoring methods (e.g. plant and soil gas flux chambers) to understand in situ dynamics across spatial and temporal scales.