Lecturer, School of Geography and Sustainable Development


Dr Lydia Cole is a conservation ecologist with a keen interest in how ecosystems, in particular peatlands, can be managed sustainably in the face of a variety of anthropogenic pressures. Past projects, involving time in both academia and industry, include: creating remote monitoring tools for UK peatlands; reconstructing past vegetation change and assessing future prospects for the coastal peatlands of Malaysian Borneo; exploring 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 wildlife connectivity. She is a lecturer in Geography and Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews and developing a digital masters course in Data Literacy for Social and Environmental Justice. She is Chair of the Conservation Ecology Special Interest Group of the British Ecological Society, and Coordinator of Expert Group: Peatlands and Biodiversity, of the International Peatland Society‘s Scientific Advisory Board.

Selected publications

Tropical peatlands in the anthropocene: lessons from the past Cole, L. E. S.Åkesson, C., Hapsari, K. A., Hawthorne, D.Roucoux, K., Girkin, N. T., Cooper, H. V., Ledger, M. J., O’Reilly, P. & Thornton, S. A., Mar 2022, In: Anthropocene. 37, 17 p., 100324.

The future of Southeast Asia’s tropical peatlands: local and global perspectives Cole, L. E. S., Willis, K. J. & Bhagwat, S. A., Jun 2021, In: Anthropocene. 34, 100292.

Guides to Better Science: Interdisciplinary research Cole, L. E. S. & Davies, A., 2021, British Ecological Society.

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.