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Research priority area

Environmental Dynamics and Governance

The Environmental Dynamics and Governance research priority area focuses on challenges including global warming (and its associated impacts including the spread of pests and disease), food security, resource depletion and biodiversity loss.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Among the greatest threats to human society are a range of environmentally-based challenges including global warming (and its associated impacts including the spread of pests and disease), food security, resource depletion and biodiversity loss.

Research examining these fields, and the approaches required to mitigate and adapt to them, underpin the focus of the Environmental Dynamics and Governance (EDG) research priority area. The intention is to enable us to find ways that maximise the wellbeing of people and to mitigate or reverse damage to the ecosystems on which society is dependent.

Our strength lies in an interdisciplinary approach which is combined with the team’s active links to a range of stakeholders engaged in agriculture, environmental management and protection, policy making, business and action at both local and international scales.

Two students walking in the countryside

Investigating social, ecological and social-ecological systems

Both social and ecological systems are vulnerable to change from external factors such as climate change, migration and economic change, which drive land degradation, habitat fragmentation and urbanisation.

A new project, Rurality as a vehicle for Urban Sanitation Transformation​​ (RUST), funded by the ESRC is trying to understand the interaction between urban and rural livelihoods in and around Hyderabad, India, and people’s knowledge attitudes and practices in relation to sanitation and waste management.

Climate change dynamics and societal change

Reconstructing and dating climatic and environmental change; assessing the effects of recent and current change; and predicting the effects of future change requires various techniques and approaches across the natural and social sciences.

Drs Julie Ingram​ and Kenny Lynch led workshops funded by the Newton Fund in South Africa​ and Egypt​ exploring new ways to help secure water supplies and food security, particularly amongst smallholders and farmers who are threatened by multiple challenges which require local adaptation of management practices supported by scientific evidence.

South African scenery
Woman with glasses holding piece of paper smiling

Environmental governance, policy and strategies

Institutions for good governance are needed to address negative impacts of a changing world and this theme focuses on participatory action and knowledge exchange to inform current and future strategies and policies. This area centres on addressing the need, and opportunities for, more holistic understanding and innovative approaches to governance and policy by addressing real-world problems. 

Chris Short within the CCRI has been working closely with Stroud District Council to build partnerships between local communities, flood groups, local authorities and land managers, to deliver effective natural flood management at the local scale.

Vulnerable societies and cultures

There is a desire to work with various institutions, organisations and interest groups at all scales, to better understand the challenges to vulnerable people from threats in society or environmental change.

Director of the CCRI, Professor Janet Dwyer completed an OECD Fellowship in Japan in 2017, researching Satoyama cultural landscapes​ and how they can unlock the synergies between economic and environmental benefits for society. Conversely, Jon Hobson has undertaken studies into housing for vulnerable communities and Sam Scott and Rachel Bennett have studied migrant status and labour exploitation.

Japan scenery


Research centres


Contact Chris Short, research priority area convenor for Environmental Dynamics and Governance.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can within office hours