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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Research Group: Environmental Change and Sustainability (ECaS)

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We carry out geospatial analysis and experimentation to understand environmental change, its drivers and solutions, including climate change impacts. Our focus is on understanding the sustainable use of natural resources both in the developed and developing worlds. We do this using a range of tools, from satellite remote sensing, to novel sensors and modeling for environmental monitoring and prediction. We work closely with stakeholders to ensure that our research is impactful by informing decision making and policy.

Current research priorities

Our research focuses on understanding the complexity of coupled human-natural systems. We increasingly take interdisciplinary approaches to explore the role of human-environment interactions within socio-ecological systems, and the implications of environmental change and management for development. We use whole systems approaches to understand sustainable futures and trade-offs, and potential transitions and tipping points. Our intended impact is on decision-making concerning environmental management and human development, adaptation and mitigation.

We develop and utilize a range of research tools focused on global environmental monitoring, modeling and analysis frameworks, climate change impacts and adaptation, and sustainability science. We use these approaches to understand a variety of environmental challenges:

  • Natural hazards impact reduction
  • Hydrological processes
  • Water resources and water security
  • Agricultural production and food security
  • Terrestrial ecosystem dynamics
  • Natural and human induced disturbance
  • Human-ecosystem interactions
  • Waste management

Our research is local in nature but global in influence, with socio-economic impact and societal relevance at the forefront of our work. We have research projects across the world, from coastal zones and small island states, to the drylands and deltas of the developing world. We work with a variety of stakeholders from communities to national and international NGOs, local and national government.  

Main areas of expertise

We have a range of expertise in the integrated modelling and assessment of human activities and environmental processes:

  • Environmental modeling and assessment.
  • Geographical information systems (GIS).
  • Climate change impact assessment, adaptation and risk mitigation
  • Monitoring, assessment and management of aquatic environmental systems.
  • Modeling, analysis and prediction of hazards
  • Satellite remote sensing of land resources, agriculture and ecosystems.
  • Reconstructing past environmental change from sediments.
  • Environmental impact assessment, conservation and management.

Goals and plans for the future

We continue to develop excellence in geospatial analysis and understanding of environmental change. We aim to further develop methods in remote sensing, novel sensors and modelling for environmental monitoring and prediction; to integrate research into solving national and global challenges; and to deliver impactful research that can improve decision making and has policy influence.

Notable projects

We lead and are involved in a range of research projects, including:

BRECcIA: “Building REsearch Capacity for sustainable water and food security In sub-saharan Africa” project is a 4-year UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) program to develop multi-institutional research capacity for improving food and water security for the poorest of society.

GBOV: “Ground Based Observations for Validation of Copernicus Global Land Products” is a 4-year project that contributes to the EC Copernicus programme, to develop robust in-situ datasets for validation of satellite-derived bio-geophysical products.

Research funding

Our research funding comes from diverse sources, such as UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Department for International Development (DfID), Leverhulme Trust, and the European Union. We have funding from a range of UK research councils: NERC, ESRC, EPSRC, BBSRC. We work with a range of national and international NGOs, UN agencies, the World Bank and regional development banks.

Key Facts

  • Inter-disciplinary focus on global environmental change
  • International reputation in satellite remote sensing
  • World leading research on hydrological prediction
  • Internationally renowned research on climate change adaptation
  • Strong links with European Space Agency

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