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School of Geography

Alan Grainger Dr Alan Grainger

Contact details

School of Geography
University of Leeds
University Road
Leeds LS2 9JT   UK


+44 (0) 113 34 33335

Student hours:
Monday 1300-1400

Research overview

Research interests

  • Modelling tropical deforestation and land use change.
  • Modelling the role of tropical forest biodiversity and carbon stores in global environmental change.
  • Monitoring tropical deforestation and land use change.
  • Desertification.
  • Analysis of forest policy and institutions.
  • Sustainable development.

PhD Supervision

I would be interested in supervising PhDs on topics such as:

  • Modelling land use change processes leading to tropical deforestation and desertification, with applications to United Nations initiatives, such as the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) scheme.
  • Understanding interactions between modern and traditional institutions in developing countries, their links with interpersonal networks, and their impacts on implementing policies for sustainable environmental management.
  • Devising new methodologies for managing multiple ecosystem services and measuring environmental degradation in complex tropical environments.
  • Reducing global environmental uncertainties by better global environmental monitoring: identifying constraints on global scientific measurement; developing new methodologies to track long-term trends and combine multiple spatial information layers for biodiversity, carbon etc.; and evaluating the effectiveness of indicator systems.
  • Explaining constraints on science-policy communication at national and international scales.
  • Explaining the mechanisms of global environmental governance.



  • 2007. 3rd AIMES Young Scholars Network Workshop, QUEST Programme, University of Bristol, 2-5 June. "Discovering the Meaning of Your Global Change Research".
  • 2006. International Conference on Deserts and Desertification: Challenges and Opportunities, Ben Gurion University, 6-9 November. Keynote paper to final plenary session: "Organizational Changes to Secure Better Progress in Combating Desertification".
  • 2005. International Workshop on Sustainable Forestry and Climate Change Mitigation, QUEST Programme, 25-26 July, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol. (Keynote paper).

Other presentations

  • 2007. "Temporal Consistency in an International Statistical Process". Annual Conference of the Royal Statistical Society", 16-20 July, University of York.
  • 2007. "Worlds of Their Own: Insularity and Inertia in International Organizations". Annual Conference of the British International Studies Association, 17-19 December, University of Cambridge.
  • 2007. Annual Conference of the Association of American Geographers, 17-21 April 2007. "Geographies of Cosmopolitanization: Whiteness Shall Reign?" (Critical Geographies of Whiteness and Mobility, Session 3605); "Breaking Out of the Grid: A Postmodern GIS for 21st Century Geography" (With A.J. Evans) (Perspectives in Spatial Analysis and Policy, Session 5135).
  • 2007. "The Role of Science in the Social Construction of Desertification". Presentation to Managing Dryland Environments Seminar Programme, 18 January, School of Geography, University of Oxford.
  • 2006. "Constraints on Environmental Globalization: Problems in Adapting Rules for Forest-Based Climate Change Mitigation to Incorporate Harvested Wood Products". Presented to EUEC 2006, the 9th Annual Conference on Clean Air, Mercury, Global Warming and Renewable Energy, 22-25 January, Westin La Paloma Resort, Tucson, Arizona.
  • 2005. "Between Two Stools: Understanding Our Disordered World". Seminar, 8th March, Department of Geography, Kings College, University of London.

Other conferences attended

  • 2007. Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, Chicago.
  • 2002. Resources for the Future 50th Anniversary Symposium, Washington DC.