Professor Lindsay C. Stringer

Professor Lindsay C. Stringer


Professor Stringer was a member of the School of Earth and Environment from 2007; she moved to the Department of Environment and Geography, University of York in Summer 2020.

Lindsay's research advances understanding of human-environment relationships focusing on:

  • The links between livelihoods and environment
  • Science, policy and environmental governance, and
  • The practical and policy mechanisms that can advance sustainable development.

Her research is interdisciplinary and uses theories and methods (both qualitative and quantitative) from the natural and social sciences. She takes a solutions-orientated, systems based approach that recognises the complexity of the world's sustainable development challenges and the trade-offs and opportunities created by change. In 2017, Lindsay won a Wolfson Merit Award from the Royal Society, and in 2013, she was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for her work on environmental change and sustainable development in drylands. In 2015 she was presented with a Women of Achievement Award.

Lindsay's work engages significantly with research users, and is instrumental in informing international policy interventions through the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). She was a Coordinating Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Regional Assessment for Africa, as well as Lead Author for the IPBES Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment. She is currently participating in the IPBES Expert Group on Policy Support Tools and Methodologies. She is a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on Climate Change and Land and for the IPCC's 6th Assessment Report. Lindsay was also an author on the UK Government's most recent Climate Change Risk Assessment. She is a member of the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative working group on Options and Pathways to Action and chaired the Independent Task Force of the CGIAR’s Research Programme on Dryland Systems, which was commissioned to develop a global research in development programme to achieve sustainable livelihoods for dryland populations that depend on agriculture. She has served on the editorial boards of the international journals Land Degradation and Development; Resources; and Food Security and is an elected Advisory Board member for DesertNet International. She sits on the International Scientific Advisory Board of the Centre for Dryland Agricuture at Bayero University Kano, Nigeria, one of the Africa Centres of Excellence supported by the World Bank and is an External Advisory Board member for the York Environmental Sustainability Institute.

Lindsay was co-Director and then Director of the Sustainability Research Institute from 2011-2014. She has been programme leader for various undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes at the University of Leeds, and was previously elected to the University Senate and Research and Innovation Board. She was external examiner for taught Masters programmes at the University of Reading and for undergraduate programmes at the University of East Anglia. She has examined several PhD theses in both the UK and overseas. Prior to joining the University of Leeds in 2007, Lindsay worked at the University of Manchester and before that at the University of Sheffield.

Lindsay has worked and travelled in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas, visiting more than 100 countries. She also participated in the inaugural Homeward Bound Project women in science leadership programme which took her to Antarctica in December 2016. She has published more than 140 peer-reviewed articles in leading international journals, as well as a book, book chapters, working papers, book reviews, magazine articles and policy reports. She has presented her work at international conferences across the world. In addition, Lindsay has an international consultancy reputation.

Lindsay has been involved with research projects with a total value of more than £42 million. Her work is supported by multiple funders, including bodies such as NERC, ESRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, the Leverhulme Trust, the European Commission (Framework Programmes 6 and 7), the British Academy, the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, the Worldwide Universities Network, the  Economics of Land Degradation Initiative (through GIZ - Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), the British Council, the White Rose Consortium, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the United Nations, the Department for International Development (DfID), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Research interests

Lindsay's research interests are varied, broadly encompassing the realms of environment and international development and cross-cutting themes such as land, climate, food, energy, water and conservation. She is currently working on projects including:

  • EUFP7 project RECARE: Preventing and remediating degradation of soils in Europe through land care. This brings together a multidisciplinary team of 27 organisations to find ways of assessing current threats to soils and finding innovative solutions to prevent further soil degradation across Europe
  • ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) - Lindsay leads a project on mainstreaming adaptation, mitigation and development
  • Newton (ESRC) - NAFOSTED funded project on harnessing multiple benefits from resilient mangrove systems in Vietnam
  • Newton-DIPI funded project on enhancing the benefits of tropical peatland restoration to support local communities and ecosystem processes in Indonesia (Sumatra)
  • Economics of Land Degradation Initiative project - costs and benefits of land degradation and restoration in Rwanda
  • British Council /Newton Institutional Links project in Brazil (with UEPG) -  building economic development and social welfare of small farming communities in Parana, Brazil thorugh climate compatible development: the role of bioenergy crops
  • BBSRC/Newton- Malaysia project on sustainable consumption and production of compost, biofuels and chemicals from oil palm residues
  • Erasmus+ project ILHAM-EC on Interuniversity Learning in Higher Education on Advanced Land Management, with 4 Egyptian Universities, Univeristy of Sassari and University of Thessaloniki
  • CCAFS project - pathways to agricultural transformation
  • White Rose - Refugia of Futures Past. This examines baseline conditions for Earth habitability under long-term future global environmental change

Recently completed projects include:

  • Advancing knowledge on the costs, benefits, trade-offs of sustainable land management in southern Africa’s rangelands. This research was funded through the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative and assessed the costs, benefits and trade-offs associated with different land uses and management strategies in rangeland systems in southern Botswana.
  • UMFULA: Understanding Reduction in Models for Understanding Development Applications. This project was funded through the Future Climate For Africa programme  to understand the links between climate and weather events and on-the-ground development impacts with a view to informing response strategies.
  • Catastrophic shifts in drylands: how can we prevent ecosystem degradation? (CASCADE) This project was funded through EU FP7. The aim of CASCADE was to obtain a better understanding of sudden ecosystem shifts that may lead to major losses in biodiversity and ecosystem services, and to define measures that can be used to prevent such shifts
  • Costs and benefits of sustainable soil fertility management in Western Kenya. This project was funded by GIZ and provided policy recommendations to the national Soil Task Force.
  • Understanding land use, livelihoods and social-ecological change in rural Swaziland This project was supported by a Philip Leverhulme Prize and explored land use and land management practices in Swaziland’s middleveld, with a view to identifying the factors that have facilitated and inhibited agricultural production and sustainable livelihoods over the period 2002-2014. It also explored innovative knowledge exchange mechanisms for land user engagement in research and in the uptake of research findings.
  • Sustainable Liquid Biofuels from Biomass Biorefining (SUNLIBB). SUNLIBB was funded through EU FP7 and brought together researchers and industrial innovators to overcome technical barriers for second generation bioethanol production. SUNLIBB aimed to ensure that the new processes developed fulfil sustainability requirements across environmental, social and economic dimensions and worked in cooperation with CEProBIO, Brazil.
  • Assessing institutional and governance partnerships for climate compatible development in southern Africa; funded through CDKN. This project identified and analysed successful climate compatible development models and institutional and governance partnership activities involving different stakeholders in complex and dynamic governance and political-economic contexts in sub-Saharan Africa. It focused specifically on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  • Sustainable Uplands: Transforming Knowledge for Upland Change, funded through the Joint Research Councils' Rural Economy and Land Use programme. This project developed new approaches that can stimulate knowledge exchange, learning and innovation between researchers, policy makers, businesses, local stakeholders and the wider public with an interest in Upland Sustainability.
  • Desertification Mitigation and Remediation of Degraded Land (DESIRE) funded through EU FP6. This project examined alternative strategies for the use, protection and rehabilitation of 18 international desertification 'hotspots' and brought together 28 research institutions, non-governmental organisations and policy makers from all over the world.
  • Sustainable Land Management in the Mining Sector. This project was funded by the UNCCD’s Global Mechanism and looked at the engagement of the mining sector in sustainable land management (SLM) practices and their corporate reporting of SLM.
  • Managing land for carbon in southern Africa: Relationships between carbon, livelihoods and ecosystem services. This was funded through the DFID/NERC/ESRC Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation programme, part of the Living with Environmental Change Programme. The project considered carbon stores and fluxes relating to soil and vegetation along a transect through Namibia-Botswana-Zambia-Malawi, examining trade-offs between land use shifts, the continued provision of ecosystem services and the ways they link to livelihoods of the poor.
  • Involved: What makes stakeholder participation work? This work was funded by the British Academy and investigated what makes stakeholder participation in environmental management work. By understanding why different approaches work in different contexts, more appropriate participatory processes can be designed.
  • Sustainable delivery of pollination services for African food production. This work was funded through the DFID/NERC/ESRC Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation programme. It aimed to identify the knowledge gaps and scientific challenges currently hampering the sustainable delivery of crop pollination and honey production services to rural Sub-Saharan Africa.
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD, Geography, University of Sheffield
  • MSc, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment in Drylands, Univeristy of Sheffield
  • BSc, Physical Geography, University of Sheffield

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award Holder
  • Leverhulme Prize Winner

Student education

I contribute to teaching at all levels of undergraduate study, as well as being involved in postgraduate taught and research programmes.

Lindsay is currently involved with PhD supervision for the following students:

  • Ms Xueqin Li Climate compatible development in urban areas using blue green infrastructure (Co-supervised with Dr Martin Dallimer)
  • Mr Harry Wells The role of cattle in degradation and restoration processes in savanna social-ecological systems – Insights from Laikipia, Kenya (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Dougill)
  • Mr Emmanuel Likoya Agricultural Water Modelling Under Different Future Climate and Irrigation Intervention Appraisals for Building Resilience in Malawian Food Production Systems (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Dougill and Dr Cathryn Birch)
  • Ms Zubaida Umar Baba Environmental and social implications of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in North East Nigeria (Co-supervised with Dr Claire Quinn)
  • Ms Sharvini Siva Raman Development of policy based decision making processes for energy generation from palm oil mill effluent (Co-supervised with Dr Zainura Noor and Dr Chong Chun Shiong, UTM, Malaysia)
  • Mr Augustine Oyiyole Entonu Creating markets, enabling environments and frameworks for the deployment and diffusion of low-carbon technologies in Africa (Co-supervised with Prof Jouni Paavola)
  • Ms Huiting Lu Changes and driving force analysis of ecosystem service supply, demand and mismatch in Southwest China (Visiting PhD student; Co-supervised in Leeds with Dr Martin Dallimer)
  • Ms Zheng-Hong Kong From land degradation to sustainable land management: which mechanisms work for policy-makers, scientists, and non-state actors in China?(Co-supervised with Prof Jouni Paavola)
  • Ms Dietlinde Nakwaya Environmental impact assessment systems in Namibia: Regulatory frameworks, effectiveness and public participation; Commonwealth split-site (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Dougill)
  • Ms Nausheen Mazhar An Assessment of Desertification Intensity and Community Resilience in South Punjab, Pakistan(Visiting PhD student; Co-supervised in Leeds with Dr Martin Dallimer)
  • Mr Eberechukwu Ihemezie (Co-supervised with Dr Martin Dallimer)

Completed PhD students:

  • Dr Gabriel Lopez-Porras Resilience in dryland grassland systems in Mexico: the role of water governance (Co-supervised wth Dr Claire Quinn)Dr Nicholas Roxburgh- Modelling the combinatory impact of stressors on mountain communities
  • Dr Edna Chinseu - Climate-smart agriculture in Malawi; funded by a Commonwealth Scholarship (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Dougill)
  • Dr Caroline Ward - Protected area governance and livelihood security; funded by a NERC studentship (Co-supervised with Dr George Holmes)
  • Dr Simone Quatrini (based at ETH Zurich) - Mobilising blended finance for sustainable development: experience and lessons from the investment fund for Land Degradation Neutrality
  • Dr Rebecca Howard - Pathways to 'Fair Carbon': Assessing fairness in standard-setting and carbon projects. (Co-supervised by Dr Anne Tallontire and Dr Rob Marchant (University of York); funded by an ESRC-NERC studentship)
  • Dr Ke Huang - Land Resource Management in China (Visiting postgraduate student, 12 months; Co-supervised with Dr Martin Dallimer and Prof Anlu Zhang; funded by a CSC studentship )
  • Dr Uche Okpara - Characterising the relationship between climate shocks, lake drying and conflict in the Lake Chad Basin. (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Dougill; funded by the Nigeria Education Trust Fund Scholarship/University of Nigeria Staff Development Scheme)
  • Dr Ben Wood – Climate compatible development in Malawi; funded by a University of Leeds Research Scholarship (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Dougill and Dr Claire Quinn)
  • Dr Elizabeth Harrison – The Governance of Natural Resource Management in Zimbabwe: Unravelling the Relationships between Conservation and Development (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Dougill and Dr Deborah Sporton (University of Sheffield); funded by an ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Centre scholarship)
  • Dr Cecilia de Ita - Theory and measurement of socio-environmental factors affecting environmental sustainability in planned tourism developments: the case of Cancun, Mexico. (Co-supervised with Dr Claire Quinn; funded by Conacyt)
  • Dr Steven Orchard - Exploring adaptive capacity in mangrove social-ecological systems of rural Vietnam (Co-supervised with Dr Claire Quinn; funded by ESRC/CCCEP)
  • Dr Jami Dixon - Smallholder farming systems, adaptive capacity, and climate change in Uganda: insights for adaptation planning. (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Challinor; funded by an ESRC-NERC studentship)
  • Dr Gerald Yiran- Hazards and vulnerability to climate change in northern Ghana; funded by a Commonwealth Scholarship (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Challinor)
  • Dr Nicola Favretto - Powering Mali with sustainable biofuels? Livelihood opportunities and policy challenges of Jatropha curcas (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Dougill; funded by a University of Leeds Overseas Research Scholarship)
  • Dr Jose Octavio Velazquez Gomar - Institutional interactions among biodiversity-related conventions: How interplay management can improve global environmental governance (Co-supervised with Prof Jouni Paavola; funded by Conacyt)
  • Dr Philip Antwi-Agyei - Vulnerability to climate change in food systems (Co-supervised with Dr Evan Fraser, University of Guelph, Canada and Prof Andy Dougill; funded by a Commonwealth Scholarship)
  • Dr Jen Dyer - Assessing the impacts of biodiesel crop Jatropha curcas on livelihoods in rural Malawi (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Dougill; funded by an ESRC-CASE Studentship)
  • Dr David Glew - Validating the sustainability of biorenewable replacements for petrochemical products (Co-supervised with Prof Simon McQueen-Mason, University of York; funded by a White Rose studentship). David was based at the University of York, UK.
  • Dr Ian Duvenage – Sustainability frameworks for biofuel production in Africa. Ian was based at Bond University, Australia.
  • Dr Julia Leventon- "We don’t eat fish…" Science, policy and governance: the implementation of arsenic limits for drinking water in a Hungarian case study. (Funded by an EU Marie Curie Network Award). Julia was based at the Central European Univesity, Budapest, Hungary. She passed with Summa cum Laude honours.

Research groups and institutes

  • Environment and Development
  • Sustainability Research Institute

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>