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Dr Lydia Cole

Dr Lydia Cole

Research Fellow (Valuing Intact Tropical Peatlands - Ecology)

Researcher profile

+44 (0)1334 462389


Research areas

I am a Conservation Ecologist with a keen interest in how tropical ecosystems can be managed sustainably in the face of agriculture expansion and the other pervasive impacts of population growth and globalisation.  I am particularly interested in peat-scapes, and how they can be responsibly managed through an understanding of their unique hydrological requirements.  Past projects of mine, involving time in both academia and industry, have included: 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.

I am currently working as the Ecologist on a two year Leverhulme Trust-funded project entitled: Valuing intact tropical peatlands - an interdisciplinary challenge.  With the expertise of an interdisciplinary team of physical and human geographers, we are exploring the range of values associated with some hydrologically intact peatlands within the Peruvian Amazon.  One of the major goals of the project is to assess which and where values assigned through a western scientific perspective align or differ from those perceived by people living in the locale of these peatland environments.  This knowledge can then be used to help inform how these unique ecosystems might be effectively protected from ongoing development in the Amazon basin.

In order to engage with the next, and multiple generation(s), with industry and with the wider scientific community, I am engaged in the following roles:

- Chair of the Conservation Ecology Special Interest Group of the British Ecological Society

- Coordinator of the Expert Group: Peatlands and Biodiversity, within the Peatlands and Environment Commission of the International Peatland Society's Scientific Advisory Board

- Volunteer for Action for Conservation (

Selected publications

  • 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.

    Research output: Contribution to journal ? Article

  • Incorporating connectivity into conservation planning for optimal representation of multiple species and ecosystem services

    Williams, S. H., Scriven, S. A., Burslem, D. F. R. P., Hill, J. K., Reynolds, G., Agama, A. L., Kugan, F., Maycock, C. R., Khoo, E., Hastie, A. Y. L., Sugau, J. B., Nilus, R., Pereira, J. T., Tsen, S. L. T., Lee, L. Y., Juiling, S., Hodgson, J. A., Cole, L. E. S., Asner, G. P., Evans, L. J. & Brodie, J. F., 6 Dec 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Conservation Biology. In press

    Research output: Contribution to journal ? Article

  • 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.

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publication ? Article

  • 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., Priyanto, R., Ripoll Capilla, B., Rowland, L., Santos, E. M., Schreer, V., Sudyana, I. N., Taman, S. B. B., Thornton, S. A., Upton, C., Wich, S. A. & van Veen, F. J. F., 19 Nov 2019, In : People and Nature. Early View, 25 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journal ? Article

  • ?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.

    Research output: Contribution to journal ? Article

  • Peat

    Kelly, T. J., Lawson, I. T. & Cole, L. E. S., 1 Jan 2018, Encyclopedia of Geochemistry. White, W. M. (ed.). Springer, p. 1197-1200 4 p. (Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding ? Chapter

  • Denial of long-term issues with agriculture on tropical peatlands will have devastating consequences

    Wijedasa, L. S., Jauhiainen, J., Könönen, M., Lampela, M., Vasander, H., Leblanc, M. C., Evers, S., Smith, T. E. L., Yule, C. M., Varkkey, H., Lupascu, M., Parish, F., Singleton, I., Clements, G. R., Aziz, S. A., Harrison, M. E., Cheyne, S., Anshari, G. Z., Meijaard, E., Goldstein, J. E., Waldron, S., Hergoualc'h, K., Dommain, R., Frolking, S., Evans, C. D., Posa, M. R. C., Glaser, P. H., Suryadiputra, N., Lubis, R., Santika, T., Padfield, R., Kurnianto, S., Hadisiswoyo, P., Lim, T. W., Page, S. E., Gauci, V., Van Der Meer, P. J., Buckland, H., Garnier, F., Samuel, M. K., Choo, L. N. L. K., O'Reilly, P., Suksuwan, S., Sumarga, E., Jain, A., Laurance, W. F., Couwenberg, J., Joosten, H., Vernimmen, R., Hooijer, A., Malins, C., Cochrane, M. A., Perumal, B., Siegert, F., Peh, K. S. H., Comeau, L. P., Verchot, L., Harvey, C. F., Cobb, A., Jaafar, Z., Wösten, H., Manuri, S., Müller, M., Giesen, W., Phelps, J., Yong, D. L., Silvius, M., Wedeux, B. M. M., Hoyt, A., Osaki, M., Hirano, T., Takahashi, H., Kohyama, T. S., Haraguchi, A., Nugroho, N. P., Coomes, D. A., Quoi, L. P., Dohong, A., Gunawan, H., Gaveau, D. L. A., Langner, A., Lim, F. K. S., Edwards, D. P., Giam, X., Van Der Werf, G., Carmenta, R., Verwer, C. C., Gibson, L., Gandois, L., Graham, L. L. B., Regalino, J., Wich, S. A., Rieley, J., Kettridge, N., Brown, C., Pirard, R., Moore, S., Capilla, B. R., Ballhorn, U., Ho, H. C., Hoscilo, A., Lohberger, S., Evans, T. A., Yulianti, N., Blackham, G., Onrizal, Husson, S., Murdiyarso, D., Pangala, S., Cole, L. E. S., Tacconi, L., Segah, H., Tonoto, P., Lee, J. S. H., Schmilewski, G., Wulffraat, S., Putra, E. I., Cattau, M. E., Clymo, R. S., Morrison, R., Mujahid, A., Miettinen, J., Liew, S. C., Valpola, S., D'Arcy, L., Gerding, M., Sundari, S., Thornton, S. A., Kalisz, B., Chapman, S. J., Su, A. S. M., Basuki, I., Itoh, M., Traeholt, C., Sloan, S., Sayok, A. K. & Andersen, R., Mar 2017, In : Global Change Biology. 23, 3, p. 977-982 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journal ? Letter

  • Long-term disturbance dynamics and resilience of tropical peat swamp forests

    Cole, L. E. S., Bhagwat, S. A. & Willis, K. J., 1 Jan 2015, In : Journal of Ecology. 103, 1, p. 16-30 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journal ? Article

  • Recovery and resilience of tropical forests after disturbance

    Cole, L. E. S., Bhagwat, S. A. & Willis, K. J., 20 May 2014, In : Nature Communications. 5, 7 p., 3906.

    Research output: Contribution to journal ? Article

  • Scaling of tree vascular transport systems along gradients of nutrient supply and altitude

    Coomes, D. A., Jenkins, K. L. & Cole, L. E. S., 22 Feb 2007, In : Biology Letters. 3, 1, p. 86-89 4 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journal ? Article


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