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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 seeks to extend geophysical modelling of natural hazards and climate change into the social and business environments in which land use change happens.  It spans physical science, social science, and environmental economics; with a focus on the impacts of geophysical hazards on landscape-scale land use; and the feasibility of mitigating environmental changes with strategic land use and landscape design. 

Background:  I have a slightly unusual background, with expertise in 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 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.