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School of Geography

Joseph Holden Prof Joseph Holden

Contact details

Room 10.142
School of Geography
University of Leeds
University Road
Leeds LS2 9JT   UK


+44 (0) 113 34 33317

Student hours:

Work in progress

Current projects

  • Holden, J. (2017-2021) Role of upland organo-mineral soils in flooding. NERC & Natural England £95,000
  • Holden, J. and colleagues (2017-2022) Yorkshire integrated catchment solutions programme. NERC. £4.7M
  • Chapman, PJ, Palmer, S., Holden J. (2016-2018) Future DOC trends. Yorkshire Water. Confidential sum.

  • Banwart, S. Zhu, Y., Kadirkamanathan, V., Beerling D., Zona, D., Menon, M., Firbank, L., Holden, J., Kay,, P., Millner, Merharg, A., Merharg, C., Daniell, T., Neilsen R., Guo, H. Guan, X., Ji R., Chen L., Yan, X (2016-2020) Using Critical Zone Science to Enhance Soil Fertility and Improve Ecosystem Services for Peri-Urban Agriculture in China. NERC and CSF, £1.6m

  • Holden, J. (2015-2017) Long-term catchment management intervention study. Yorkshire Water. Confidential sum.
  • Holden J. and Grayson RJ (2015-2016) Stean Moor flood flow evaluation. Environment Agency, £15k.
  • Leake, J., Holden, J, Firbank, L., Chapman, P, Hodson, M. Helgasson, T., Freckleton, R., Childs, D., Cameron, D., Burrell, M. Banwart, S., Grayson R, Edmondson, J. (2015-2018) SoilBioHedge - harnessing hedgerow soil biodiversity for restoration of arable soil quality and resilience to climatic extremes and land use changes. NERC, £1 867 000

  • Leake, J., Banwart, S., Cameron, D., Scholes, J., Ton, J., Helgasson T, Heinemeyer A, Holden, J., Firbank, L. (2014-2018) MycoRhizSoil. BBSRC, £1 110 536

  • Holden, J. and Palmer, S.M. (2014-2018) Improving Sphagnum recolonisation after fire on peat. NERC and Natural England. £81 000

  • Holden, J., Baird, A.J., Chapman, P.J., Billett, M. and Dinsmore, K. (2012-2016) The role of natural and artificial pools in northern peatland carbon cycling. NERC, £657,132. (£500,505 to Leeds)


  • Holden, J. and Hirst, V. (2013-2016) Upland hydrology group JIP multiple sources, £22,000.


  • Holden, J. (2012-2016) Impact of plastic mesh tracks on blanket peat. North Pennines AONB Partnership. £83,000


  • Evans, C., Chapman, P., Baird, A., Holden, J. et al (2011-2015) Lowland peatland systems in England and Wales – evaluating greenhouse gas fluxes and carbon balances. Defra, £1,514,483, £211,186 to SoG.


  • Baird, A.J., Holden, J., Chapman, P.J., Evans, C., Gauci, V. and Ostle, N. (2010-2014) Investigation of peatland restoration (grip blocking) techniques to achieve best outcomes for methane and greenhouse gas emissions/ balance. Defra (£1,065,519) CI


  • Holden, J., Kay, P., McDoanld AT., Chapman, PJ. (2010-2015) Yorkshire Water partnership strategic project work. Confidential sum. PI

Previous grants

  • Holden, J., Grayson, R., Kirkby, M., Gao, J. (2015) Compaction and flood modelling in Coverdale. Yorkshire Dales National Park, £9899.
  • Holden, J., Slack, R., Lightfoot, S., Kay, P., Beharry-Borg, N. et al  (2009-2012) ACCWA -  Approaching Climate Change for Water Resource Adaptation. World University Network (£59,482) PI
  • Holden, J., Kirkby, M., Gao, J., Hirst, V., Wright, N. (2014) Flood modelling in Upper Calderdale. Calderdale Council, £6 000.
  • Holden, J. and Grayson, R., (2012-2015) Stean moor monitoring. Yorkshire Water and Environment Agency. £65,300
  • Holden, J. Grayson, R., Blundell, A., Kay, P. Palmer, S., Brown, L. (2011-2013) Water quality response to catchment management. Yorkshire Water. £830,319

  • Kunin, W., Holden, J. and Chapman, P.J. (2011-2014) EXPEER EU FP7 Project €7.4m; Leeds component around £350k

  • Holden, J. and Hirst, V. (2011-2014) Linking NERC science with user needs for the Water Framework Directive. NERC, £158,820.
  • Entwistle, T., Slack, R and Holden, J. (2012-2013) Leverhulme Trust artist-in-residence. Leverhulme Trust, £15,000.

  • Holden, J. Chapman, P., Palmer, S., (2011-2013) Managing upland catchments for multiple water quality benefits. Yorkshire Water. £393,238.

  • Brown, L and Holden, J (2011-2014) Biodiversity of Upland Blanket Peat Bog Pools. Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. £72,500


  • Holden, J. Chapman, PJ, Palmer, SM, Kay, P. Grayson, R., Blundell A. (2012-2013) Review of catchment management strategies for upland water quality. Yorkshire Water £66,706, PI.


  • Evans, C., Freeman, C., Chapman, P.J., Palmer, S., Holden, J., Worrall, F., Billett, M., Dinsmore, K., Burden, A., Jones, D., Jones, T., Evans M.G., Allott, T., (2010-2014) Greenhouse gas emissions associated with non gaseous losses of carbon from peatlands - fate of particulate and dissolved carbon. £299,988, Defra (SoG component £44,921), CI.


  • Holden, J., Chapman, PJ and West LJ (2010-2013) Knowledge Transfer Partnership developing peatland survey techniques with Dinsdale Moorland Services. £170,175  NERC/TSB. PI


  • Brown, L., Holden, J. and Palmer, S. (2009-2012) EMBER -Effects of Moorland Burning on the Ecohydrology of Rivers. NERC (£643,000) CI


  • Grayson R. and Holden, J. (2013) Colour risk maps for the Esk. Yorkshire Water, £8,008
  • Palmer, S., Brown, L and Holden, J. (2012-2014) Marsden moor wildfire impacts on water quality. Yorkshire Water (£80,343) CI

  • Holden, J., Chapman, P.J., Palmer, S.M., Kay, P. and Grayson, R (2011-2012) review of moorland burning impacts on water quality. Yorkshire Water (£8,751) PI

  • Reed, M. Hubacek, Dougill A., Holden, J. and Kirkby, M.J. and with other EU partners. Desertification, mitigation and remediation of land (DESIRE). EU €8m.
  • Holden, J., Wainwright, J et al. (2007-2010) Impact of large scale management change on upland ecosystems. Three White Rose PhD scholarships.
  • Holden, J. and Grayson, R. (2009-2011) Hydrological monitoring of Stean Moor restoration. Environment Agency, Natural England (£46,276)


  • Holden, J., Reed, M., Termansen, M., Chapman, P.J., Kirkby, MJ., Irvine,. B, Hubacek, K, Burt, TP, Prell, C. (2009-2010) Sustainable uplands: communicating and learning to live with change. ESRC (£101,235) PI


  • Grayson, R. and Holden, J (2010-11) Monitoring peat erosion rates using ground based lidar. £6400, Peatscapes, PI.


  • Reed, M. Hubacek, Dougill A., Holden, J. and Kirkby, M.J. and with other EU partners. Desertification, mitigation and remediation of land (DESIRE). EU €8m.


  • Holden, J., Wainwright, J et al. (2007-2010) Impact of large scale management change on upland ecosystems. Three White Rose PhD scholarships.


  • Holden, J., Reed, M., Termansen, M., Chapman, P.J., Kirkby, MJ., Irvine,. B, Hubacek, K, Burt, TP, Prell, C. (2009-2010) Sustainable uplands: communicating and learning to live with change. ESRC (£101,235) PI


  • Holden, J., Slack, R., Chapman, P.J., Mortimer, R., Palmer, S., et al., (2009-2010) Protecting water quality: lessons from around the world. Developing a partnership for water quality research, training and outreach in the UK, USA and PRC. World University Network (£17,000) PI


  • Holden, J., Chapman, P.J., Billett, M.F. and Baird, A.J. (2007-2010) The role of natural pipes in peatland carbon cycling NERC (£407,000).
  • Brown, L.E. and Holden, J (2008-2011) NERC CASE studentship won through NERC grant round competition. (£54,000)
  • Holden, J. (2008-2010) Philip Leverhulme Prize (£70,000)
  • Holden, J. (2007-2009) Monitoring hydrological recovery at Winscar. Yorkshire Water (£17,195) PI
  • Holden, J. (2009) Review of grip-blocking science. Environment Agency (£3000) PI
  • Baird, A.J., Holden, J. and Chapman, P.J. (2009) Review of methane emissions from restored peatlands. Defra £25,000
  • Holden, J., Smart, R., Chapman, P.J., Billett, M., Dinsmore, K., Baird, A.J. (2009-2010) The role of natural pipes in carbon cycling in peatlands: Using radiocarbon analysis to identify the source and age of carbon being released by pipes in blanket peat. NERC: 64 radiocarbon dates worth £33280. PI
  • Holden, J., Billett, M., Smart, R., Chapman, P.J., Dinsmore, K., Baird, A.J. (2008-2009) delta13C for understanding carbon cycling in peatlands. NERC 300 samples worth £8700. PI
  • Holden, J., Reed, M., Termansen, M., Chapman, P.J., Kirkby, MJ., Irvine,. B, Hubacek, K, Burt, TP, Prell, C. (2009-2010) Sustainable uplands: communicating and learning to live with change. ESRC (£101,235) PI
  • Bonn, A., Holden, J., Chapman, PJ, Kirkby, MJ, Baird, AJ., Termansen, M., Beharry, N., Robroek, B., Worrall, F., et al., (2008-2009) Ecosystem services of peat. Defra, £99850 (Leeds component £33500) Co-PI
  • Holden, J. and Worrall, F. Carbon budget mapping phase 2. Yorkshire Water. (£92K) PI
  • Kay, P., Holden, J., McDonald, A.T., (2008-2010) Pilot catchment monitoring for landscape scale change. Yorkshire Water. (£202, 500). PI
  • Heinmeyer, A., Baxter, B., Huntley, B., Sayer, D., Worrall, F., Holden, J., Stockdale, J., Ineson, P. (2008-2009) Uplands breathing in or breathing out? Linking land management, hydrology and carbon footprints. UKPopNet. (£14,900) CI
  • Brown, L.E., Ledger, M., Holden, J., Maidstone, C. (2008-2009) Patch-scale mesocosms for applied freshwater ecology research: An assessment of replicability, realism and issues for upscaling UKPopNet (£11,275) CI
  • Brown, L. and Holden, J. (2007-2009) Understanding moorland aquatic insect ecology to inform biodiversity conservation and sustainable land management. Peatscapes (£7,847) CI
  • Holden, J., Bonn, A., Walker J., Worrall, F., Evans, M.G. (2008) A compendium of UK peat restoration projects. DEFRA (£29,990; £8,200 to Leeds). PI [Website]
  • Holden, J. (2007) Carbon assessment and management. Yorkshire Water. PI
  • Kay, P., Holden, J., McDonald, A.T., (2007) Determination of the source and scale of sediment delivery to Hewden reservoir. Yorkshire Water. CI
  • Brown, L. and Holden, J. (2006) Impacts of reservoir releases on river ecology. Yorkshire Water (£11,200) CI
  • Armstrong, A. and Holden, J. (2007-2008) What promotes vegetation growth in grips post blocking? Peatscapes (£2,619.84) CI
  • Holden, J. Chapman, P.J., Warburton, J., Evans M.G., Kay, P. and Hubacek, K. (2006) Vulnerability of organic soils in England and wales. £24935. DEFRA and Countryside Council for Wales.
  • Holden, J.., Chapman, P.J. and McDonald, A.T. (2006-2007) Grip blocking in upland catchments - cost benefit analysis: £101056. Yorkshire Water
  • Holden, J. Impact of peatland management on coloured and non-coloured components of dissolved organic carbon in rivers. Royal Society (£14,997)
  • Holden, J, Wallage, Z.E. and Jones, T. A study into the influence of management on enzyme decay processes in upland blanket peat. Nuffield Undergraduate Science Bursaries (£1,400)
  • Holden, J., Royal Society Travel Grant (£910) Royal Society.
  • Holden, J. Young scientists travel award- Vienna. European Geophysical Union. (£550)
  • Holden, J., Mcdonald, A.T., Worrall, F. and Burt, T.P. Monitoring different grip blocking techniques. United Utilities (£35, 000).
  • Hubacek, K., Burt, T.P., Holden, J., Reed, M., Stagl, S., Kirkby, M.J. Worrall, F., Turner. A., Pitts, C., Fraser, E. and Dougill, A., Prell, C. (2004) Sustainable upland management for multiple benefits. BBSRC/ESRC/NERC (£50, 000)
  • Holden, J., Lane, S.N., Brookes, C.J. and McDonald, A.T. (2004) Strategic locations for gully blocking. Moors for the Future (£10, 000)
  • Holden, J. Panter, I., Lane, S.N., West, J., and Oxley, J. (2004) Predicting impacts of environmental change on surface-subsurface hydrological process interactions in sensitive urban environments. NERC CONNECT A. (£11,500)
  • Holden, J., Wallage, Z.E., McDonald, A.T. and Lane, S.N. (2004-2007) Monitoring hydrological recovery to drain blocking by heather. English Nature (£12,000)
  • Millar, B, Odling, N, Philip, L., Ng, K., Barker, D.W., Orange, B., Stell, J., Holden, J. Evans A., et al., (2004-2007) Yorkshire Quarry Arts: arts-science collaboration towards improved public perception. MIST (£189, 576)
  • Holden, J. (2003-2006) Artificial drainage and wetland restoration in managed upland wetlands (University Endowed Scholarship, ~£50, 000)
  • Holden, J., McDonald, A.T., Lane, S.N. (2003-2006) Impact of stocking density on revegetation and runoff production in eroded moorland. Environment Agency (£10,000).
  • Holden, J. (2002-2005) Hydrological, fine sediment and water colour response of managed upland wetlands. NERC. (£110,000) + 3 NERC studentships for SoG. (+~£180,000) [PDF FILE]
    Holden, J. (2003) Rainfall-runoff relationships at Osbaldwick, York. Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (£4k).
  • Holden, J. (2002-2003) Use of ground-penetrating radar to identify soil pipe density, connectivity and runoff sources in blanket peat catchments, RGS-IBG (£2,100)
  • Holden, J. and Howard, A.J. (2002-2003) Hydrological restoration of Bramham Park; feasibility study. English Heritage (£24,000) [PDF FILE]
  • Holden, J. (2002) Whitby Abbey Headland hydrological processes. English Heritage (£2,400)
  • Tunney, C., Holden, J, Keylock, C.J and Howard, A. (2002-2003) Yorkshire Geomorphology School Pack. WP (£16,000).
  • Howard, A., Holden, J and Keylock, C.J. Yorkshire Geomorphology School Pack. BGRG (£500)
  • Holden, J. (2001) Survey of piping and pipeflow in upland Britain. Royal Society (£400).
  • Holden, J. (2001) Assessment of natural recovery of moorland gripping in the Pennine blanket peats. BGRG. (£550)
  • Holden, J. (2001) Royal Society Conference Travel Grant; Presentation of the three papers at the EGS Conference, Nice, 2001. Royal Society (£319)
  • Holden, J. (2001) Wetlands and Environmental Change conference grant. British Hydrological Society. (£120)
  • Holden, J. (2001) Research Travel Grant. University of Leeds. (£750)
  • Holden, J. (1999) The use of Ground Penetrating Radar to provide subsurface information on an Environmental Change Network Target Site. Institute of Terrestrial Ecology. (£250)
  • Holden, J. (1999) Infiltration and macroporosity in blanket peat catchments: advances through use of a tension infiltrometer. Durham Geography Graduates Society. (£450)
  • Holden, J. (2001-2002) Writing hydrological briefs. English Heritage. (£550)
  • Holden, J. (2001). Piloting and evaluating web and paper-based teaching and learning resources (TALESSI – University of Greenwich). (£400).
  • Holden, J and Tunney, C. (2001) Discovering Geography -A geographical experience in the School of Geography for GCSE students. Campus Connect. (£500)
  • Tunney, C. and Holden, J. (2001) Summer School - Explorations in Geography for school children. Leeds City Council. (£400)

Other research activity

  • Core member of NERC's grant panels
  • Member of a water and agriculture taskforce for government.
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board for IGB-Berlin
  • Scientific evaluator for the University of Oulu's research assessment 2013.
  • Former Trustee of British Society for Geomorphology + Research Committee Secretary.
  • Philip Leverhulme Prizewinner
  • Acted as an expert witness
  • Several industrial partnerships

Grant refereeing

  • Reviewer on Environment Agency funded project reports
  • Reviewer for NOAA
  • Reviewer for Leverhulme Trust
  • Reviewer for National Science Foundation grants, USA
  • Reviewer for Finish Science Academy
  • Reviewer for Science Foundation Ireland grants
  • Reviewer for UK ESRC grants
  • Reviewer for UK NERC grants
  • Reviewer for US Department of Agriculture grants
  • Reviewer for Natural Sciences and Engineeering Research Council, Canada

Journal refereeing

  • Ecohydrology
  • Nature
  • Nature Climate Change
  • Reviewer for Plant and Soil
  • Reviewer for Climate Research
  • Reviewer for Water Resources Research
  • Reviewer for European Journal of Forest Research
  • Reviewer for Global Change Biology
  • Reviewer for Vadose Zone Journal
  • Reviewer for Soil Use and Management
  • Reviewer for Progress in Physical Geography
  • Reviewer for Journal of Environmental Management
  • Reviewer for Journal of River Basin Management
  • Reviewer for Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
  • Reviewer for Journal of Hydrology
  • Reviewer for Hydrological Processes
  • Reviewer for Annales Botanici Fennici
  • Reviewer for Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
  • Reviewer for Wetlands
  • Reviewer for Canadian Water Resources Journal
  • Reviewer for Catena
  • Reviewer for Earth and Planetary Science Letters
  • Reviewer for Mires and Peat
  • Reviewer for Biogeochemistry
  • Reviewer for Geoderma
  • Reviewer for Land Use and Management
  • Reviewer for Vadose Zone Journal
  • Reviewer for Quaternary International


My work has been reported in a range of media and I have appeared in many radio and TV interviews