My work aims to improve our understanding of social systems and the values, attitudes, and actions of land managers, publics and stakeholders to inform sustainable forest policy and management decisions. I am a human geographer and interdisciplinary environmental specialist. Previously, I have worked for Natural England as a social science specialist and farm conservation adviser, as an academic researcher, Parliamentary fellow, and a community development practitioner.
I am interested in a wide range of subject areas, including working with different forms of knowledge to promote sustainable land management, evidence-led stakeholder engagement, and the benefits obtained from engaging with nature.
Social and cultural values relating to trees outside of woodlands https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/research/understanding-the-public-value-of-trees-outside-woodlands-peri-urban-and-rural-towpur/
Understanding the longitudinal benefits to local communities from new tree planting https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/research/mapping-the-social-benefits-of-woodland-creation-and-expansion/
The social drivers and barriers to using innovative finance mechanisms for woodland creation and expansion https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/about-us/core-research-programmes-2021-26/programme-6-woodland-creation-and-expansion/
Integrating Social Science into Natural Environment (SSINE) policy and practice organisations e.g. https://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/5337765767282688
Evidence-led engagement e.g. https://nepubprod.appspot.com/publication/5365328451469312
Land managers and environmental improvements – work on the role of advice, the development of social indicators for monitoring and evaluation e.g. https://sciencesearch.defra.gov.uk/ProjectDetails?ProjectId=20129
Interested in collaborations which involve policy and practice-relevant research relating to all aspects of trees, woodlands, forests and hedgerows.
Also interested in hearing from public and third sector organisations who wish to explore the integration of social sciences in their organisations and work with us to benchmark their organisation and identify opportunities to better integrate them.
Selected peer-reviewed journal articles:
Engagement in the digital age: Navigating the technical and ethical debates around participatory technologies in environmental decision-making. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4626765. Journal of Environmental Management.
‘Digital tools for participatory environmental decision-making: challenges, opportunities, and future directions’. In: Sherren, K., Thondhlana, G., and Jackson-Smith, D. (eds). Opening Windows: Emerging Perspectives, Practices and Opportunities in Natural Resource Social Sciences. Utah State University Press.
Towards an understanding of quality and inclusivity in human-environment experiences. https://doi.org/10.1111/gec3.12723. Geography Compass.
Perceptions, preferences and barriers: A qualitative study of greenspace and under-representation in Leeds, UK. https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10507 People and Nature.
“#Springwatch #WildMorningswithChris: Engaging With Nature via Social Media and Wellbeing During the COVID-19 Lockdown,” https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.701769. Frontiers in Psychology.
“Developing Farm-Level Social Indicators for Agri-Environment Schemes: A Focus on the Agents of Change” https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147820 Sustainability.
“Guiding Carbon Farming Using Interdisciplinary Mixed Methods Mapping,” https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.24 People and Nature.
“Water-Energy Nexus Vulnerabilities in China,” in Energy Poverty and Vulnerability: A Global Perspective, ed. Neil Simcock, Harriet Thomson, and Saska Petrova, Routledge Explorations in Energy Studies (New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group).
“Tackling the Crisis in PhD Supervision through Group Active-Learning” http://repository.brynmawr.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1152&context=tlthe Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education.
Member of York Environmental Sustainability Institute External Advisory Board https://www.york.ac.uk/yesi/people/external-advisory-board/
Co-supervises a PhD research student, Andrew Palmer, whose project aims to understand the ways in which ethnicity and other contextual characteristics influence motivations to visit green and natural spaces, experiences of these spaces, and associated wellbeing benefits https://www.naturalspacesresearch.co.uk/about.html
Honorary Fellow of the Centre for Rural Policy Research at the University of Exeter.
Member of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Environmental Social Science Strategic Advisory Group.