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Dr Christopher Lee

Dr Christopher Lee

Landscape Decisions Fellow

+44 (0) 1392 72

First Floor
Xfi Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4ST, UK

I’m an environmental physicist and a UKRI Landscape Decisions Fellow, working on landscape dynamics and design. 

I’m based at LEEP, and work in Defra’s Environmental Land Management Data Science and Modelling team, translating academic research into evidence and tools to inform agri-environment policy design.

Current Research:  My research investigates the relationships between landscape scale land use and the effects of climate change and natural hazards.  It examines both the potential impact of environmental change on land use and management; and the feasibility of mitigating natural hazards with strategic land use, particularly at the landscape scale. 

Background:  My background is an unusual combination of both geophysical measurement and modelling, and rural land and business management!  I gained my PhD in atmospheric sciences from the University of Manchester in 2011, before taking up a post-doctoral position at the University of Reading, focusing on the predictability of severe winter weather events.  Before joining LEEP I worked in the private sector for four years, managing rural estates and business in the west country, and consulting on environmental land management and valuation.  I qualified as an agricultural valuer and chartered surveyor in 2017.

Research interests

My research interests span the physical and social sciences of strategic land use, and focus on natural hazard modelling and mitigation, land use dynamics, and landscape decision making:

  • Natural Hazards – Quantification and modelling of natural hazards, and in particular their effect on land use, and the mitigation of hazards with strategic land use change.
  • Land Use Dynamics – Understanding and modelling land use changes, including how land ownership, tenure, local trends, and environmental factors impact farm business decisions.  The extension of physical models of environmental processes to incorporate social factors in land use decision making.
  • Landscape Decision Making – Dealing with uncertainty and risk in land use modelling and decision making.  Strategic land use policy design and development with land managers and policymakers.

Research projects

Christopher is a Landscape Decisions Fellow and runs the CIRCLE project, working within Defra’s Environmental Land Management design team to translate landscape decisions expertise into agri-environment policy for England.

Amoungst other projects, Christopher previously worked on ADVANCES, developing techniques to make landscape scale management decisions under risk and uncertainty.