Associate Lecturer, School of Geography and Sustainable Development


Dr Lydia Cole is a Conservation Ecologist with a keen interest in how tropical ecosystems can be managed sustainably in the face of agricultural expansion and the other pervasive impacts of population growth and globalisation. She is particularly interested in peat-scapes, and how they can be responsibly managed through an understanding of their unique hydrological requirements and socio-ecological relations. Her past projects include, spanning time in both academia and industry: creating a mapping and monitoring system for peatlands in the UK, Malaysia and Indonesia; reconstructing past vegetation change and assessing future prospects for the coastal peatlands of Malaysian Borneo; exploring the dynamics of human-wildlife interaction in northeast India; and training Government, research and NGO partners in Ghana, Indonesia and Malaysia on the use of a decision support tool for restoring connectivity in landscapes for biodiversity under climate change. Currently, she is exploring human-peatland interactions in the lowlands of the Peruvian Amazon, and teaching, as an Education-focused Associate Lecturer, in the School of Geography and Sustainable development, primarily on themes relating to environmental geography, and responsible environmental management. She is the Chair of the Conservation Ecology Special Interest Group of the British Ecological Society and coordinates the Expert Group on Peatlands and Biodiversity on the International Peatland Society’s Scientific Advisory Board.

Selected publications

Tropical peatlands and their conservation are important in the context of COVID-19 and potential future (zoonotic) disease pandemics Harrison, M. E., Wijedasa, L. S., Cole, L. E. S., Cheyne, S. M., Choiruzzad, S. A. B., Chua, L., Dargie, G. C., Ewango, C. E. N., Honorio Coronado, E. N., Ifo, S. A., Imron, M. A., Kopansky, D., Lestarisa, T., O’Reilly, P. J., Van Offelen, J., Refisch, J., Roucoux, K., Sugardjito, J., Thornton, S. A., Upton, C. & 2 others, , 17 Nov 2020, In: PeerJ. 8, 43 p., e10283.

Fire in the swamp forest: palaeoecological insights into natural and human-induced burning in intact tropical peatlands Cole, L. E. S., Bhagwat, S. A. & Willis, K. J., 28 Aug 2019, In: Frontiers in Forests and Global Change. 2, 15 p., 48.

Modelling wildlife corridors: a tool for creating habitat in fragmented landscapes Cole, L. E. S., Sep 2019, Biological Sciences Review, 32, 1, p. 22-26 5 p.

Tropical forest and peatland conservation in Indonesia: Challenges and directions Harrison, M. E., Ottay, J. B., D’Arcy, L. J., Cheyne, S. M., ., A., Belcher, C., Cole, L., Dohong, A., Ermiasi, Y., Feldpausch, T., Gallego-Sala, A., Gunawan, A., Höing, A., Husson, S. J., Kulu, I. P., Soebagio, S. M., Mang, S., Mercado, L., Morrogh-Bernard, H. C., Page, S. E. & 11 others, , 19 Nov 2019, In: People and Nature. Early View, 25 p.

“Pushing the limits”: experiences of women in tropical peatland research Thornton, S., Cook, S., Astiani, D., Hapsari, K., Varkkey, H., Cole, L., Dargie, G., Sjogersten, S., Zawawi, N. & Page, S., 24 Sep 2019, In: Marine and Freshwater Research. Online Early, MF19132.