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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 and Land Use teams, 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, managing rural estates and business, 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, focusing on the practical application of academic approaches to landscape-scale land use design and decision making:

  • Land Use Change Design – Integrated assessment modelling of land use change policy development and design; including quantification and modelling of ecosystem services benefits arising from agricultural land use change, and the associated costs and trade-offs of scheme designs.
  • 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, translating landscape decisions expertise into agri-environment policy for England.

Christopher is a research fellow on the NetZeroPlus project, where he works with Defra's Land Use team providing integrated assessment modelling expertise to inform UK land use policy design.

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