Lena Strauß

Lena Strauß


As a PhD student in the Sustainability Research Institute, my current aim is to investigate the relationships between people, forest use, and biodiversity in small island states. Due to their geographic constraints, islands provide exceptional model conditions for studying universal processes such as environmental change. Specifically, I focus on the small island state of São Tomé und Príncipe, located in the Gulf of Guinea, Central Africa, where a rapidly growing population is putting pressure on the natural resource base. Yet, the biodiversity in this country urgently needs to be protected, in particular on account of its high level of species uniqueness.

My research is funded by the Panorama NERC Doctoral Training Partnership. Prior to joining the University of Leeds, I gained work experience in the broad fields of international development cooperation, constructive journalism, and congress management. I hold a Master’s Degree from the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, in Integrated Natural Resource Management with an emphasis on biodiversity conservation.

Research interests

  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Land-use change
  • Ecosystem services
  • Nature-based solutions
  • Tropical forest ecology
  • Small island states


  • MSc Integrated Natural Resource Management, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
  • BSc Landscape Planning and Landscape Architecture, Technical University of Berlin, Germany

Research groups and institutes

  • Sustainability Research Institute
  • Environment and Development
  • Ecology and Global Change