School of Earth and Environment

Lindsay C. Stringer Prof Lindsay C. Stringer

Professor in Environment and Development

Telephone number: +44(0) 113 34 37530
Email address:
Room: 9.105
Twitter: @LindsayStringer

Affiliation: Sustainability Research Institute


Lindsay's research advances understanding of human-environment relationships focusing on:

  • The links between livelihoods and environment
  • Science, policy and environmental governance, and
  • The practical and policy mechanisms that can advance sustainable development.

In 2017, Lindsay won a Wolfson Merit Award from the Royal Society, and in 2013, she was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for her work on environmental change and sustainable development in drylands. In 2015 she was presented with a Women of Achievement Award. Lindsay was co-Director and then Director of the Sustainability Research Institute from 2011-2014.

Lindsay’s research is interdisciplinary and uses theories and methods from both the natural and social sciences. Her work engages significantly with research users, and is instrumental in informing international policy interventions through the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Lindsay is currently a Coordinating Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Regional Assessment for Africa, as well as Lead Author for the IPBES Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment. She is a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report on Climate Change and Land. She is a member of the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative working group on Options and Pathways to Action and chaired the Independent Task Force of the CGIAR’s Research Programme on Dryland Systems, which was commissioned to develop a global research in development programme to achieve sustainable livelihoods for dryland populations that depend on agriculture.

Lindsay has worked and travelled in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas, visiting more than 95 countries. She has published more than 130 peer-reviewed articles in leading international journals, as well as a book, book chapters, working papers, book reviews, magazine articles and policy reports. She has presented her work at international conferences across the world. In addition, Lindsay has an international consultancy reputation, undertaking commissioned work on several occasions for the United Nations, as well as for the UK Government's Department for International Development (DfID) and various other agencies and organisations.

Lindsay has recently been involved in projects funded by bodies such as the UK's Joint Research Councils (NERC, ESRC, BBSRC) under the Rural Economy and Land Use Programme, the Leverhulme Trust, the European Commission (Framework Programmes 6 and 7), the British Academy, the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative (through GIZ - Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), and DfID/NERC/ESRC under the Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation and Future Climate For Africa Programmes. She also participated in the inaugural Homeward Bound Project women in science leadership programme in Antarctica in December 2016.


BSc Geography (University of Sheffield); MSc Environmental Monitoring and Assessment in Drylands (University of Sheffield); PhD Geography (University of Sheffield)


Lindsay sits on the editorial board of the journals Land Degradation and Development; and Resources. She was formerly on the editorial board of the journal Food Security. She is an elected advisory board member of international scientific network DesertNet International for which she also chairs the Food Security Working Group, and she represented the University of Leeds in the international OSLO consortium, where she provided scientific coordination. Lindsay was also a working group member for Global Soil Week.

Research Interests

Environmental and land use change (including social, political and economic dimensions); land degradation and desertification; participatory processes; livelihood dynamics; environmental governance.

Lindsay’s current research projects include:

Recently completed projects include:

    • Advancing knowledge on the costs, benefits, trade-offs of sustainable land management in southern Africa’s rangelands. This research was funded through the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative. This project assessed the costs, benefits and trade-offs associated with different land uses and management strategies in rangeland systems in southern Botswana.
    • Understanding land use, livelihoods and social-ecological change in rural Swaziland This project is supported by a Philip Leverhulme Prize and explores land use and land management practices in Swaziland’s middleveld, with a view to identifying the factors that have facilitated and inhibited agricultural production and sustainable livelihoods over the period 2002-2014. It also explores innovative knowledge exchange mechanisms for land user engagement in research.
    • Sustainable Liquid Biofuels from Biomass Biorefining (SUNLIBB). SUNLIBB was funded through EU FP7 and brought together researchers and industrial innovators to overcome technical barriers for second generation bioethanol production. The project aimed to ensure that the new processes developed fulfil sustainability requirements across environmental, social and economic dimensions and worked in cooperation with CEProBIO, Brazil.
    • Assessing institutional and governance partnerships for climate compatible development in southern Africa (Funded through CDKN). This project identified and analysed successful climate compatible development models and institutional and governance partnership activities involving different stakeholders in complex and dynamic governance and political-economic contexts in sub-Saharan Africa. It focused specifically on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
    • Sustainable Uplands: Transforming Knowledge for Upland Change (Funded through the Joint Research Councils' Rural Economy and Land Use programme). This project developed new approaches that can stimulate knowledge exchange, learning and innovation between researchers, policy makers, businesses, local stakeholders and the wider public with an interest in Upland Sustainability.
    • Desertification Mitigation and Remediation of Degraded Land (DESIRE- funded through EU FP6). This project examined alternative strategies for the use, protection and rehabilitation of 18 international desertification 'hotspots' and brought together 28 research institutions, non-governmental organisations and policy makers from all over the world.
    • Sustainable Land Management in the Mining Sector (Funded by the UNCCD’s Global Mechanism). This project looked at the engagement of the mining sector in sustainable land management (SLM) practices and their corporate reporting of SLM.
    • Managing land for carbon in southern Africa: Relationships between carbon, livelihoods and ecosystem services (Funded through the DFID/NERC/ESRC Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation programme, part of the Living with Environmental Change Programme). This project considered carbon stores and fluxes relating to soil and vegetation along a transect through Namibia-Botswana-Zambia-Malawi, examining trade-offs between land use shifts, the continued provision of ecosystem services and the ways they link to livelihoods of the poor.
    • Involved: What makes stakeholder participation work? (Funded by the British Academy). This project investigated what makes stakeholder participation in environmental management work. By understanding why different approaches work in different contexts, more appropriate participatory processes can be designed.
    • Sustainable delivery of pollination services for African food production. (Funded through the DFID/NERC/ESRC Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation programme). This project aimed to identify the knowledge gaps and scientific challenges currently hampering the sustainable delivery of crop pollination and honey production services to rural Sub-Saharan Africa.

PhD student supervision

Lindsay is currently supervising/co-supervising the following PhD students:

  • Mr Augustine Oyiyole Entonu Creating markets, enabling environments and frameworks for the deployment and diffusion of low-carbon technologies in Africa (Co-supervised with Prof Jouni Paavola)
  • Ms Edna Chinseu Climate-smart agriculture in Malawi; funded by a Commonwealth Scholarship (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Dougill)
  • Ms Caroline Ward Protected area governance and livelihood security; funded by a NERC studentship (Co-supervised with Dr George Holmes)
  • Mr Gabriel Lopez-Porras Resilience in dryland grassland systems in Mexico: the role of water governance (Co-supervised wth Dr Claire Quinn)
  • Ms Dietlinde Nakwaya Environmental impact assessment systems in Namibia: Regulatory frameworks, effectiveness and public participation; Commonwealth split-site (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Dougill)

Completed PhD students:

  • Dr Rebecca Howard - Pathways to 'Fair Carbon': Assessing fairness in standard-setting and carbon projects. (Co-supervised by Dr Anne Tallontire and Dr Rob Marchant (University of York); funded by an ESRC-NERC studentship)
  • Dr Ke Huang - Land Resource Management in China (Visiting postgraduate student, 12 months; Co-supervised with Dr Martin Dallimer; funded by a CSC studentship )
  • Dr Uche Okpara - Characterising the relationship between climate shocks, lake drying and conflict in the Lake Chad Basin. (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Dougill; funded by the Nigeria Education Trust Fund Scholarship/University of Nigeria Staff Development Scheme)
  • Dr Ben Wood – Climate compatible development in Malawi; funded by a University of Leeds Research Scholarship (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Dougill and Dr Claire Quinn)
  • Dr Elizabeth Harrison – The Governance of Natural Resource Management in Zimbabwe: Unravelling the Relationships between Conservation and Development (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Dougill and Dr Deborah Sporton (University of Sheffield); funded by an ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Centre scholarship)
  • Dr Cecilia de Ita - Theory and measurement of socio-environmental factors affecting environmental sustainability in planned tourism developments: the case of Cancun, Mexico. (Co-supervised with Dr Claire Quinn; funded by Conacyt)
  • Dr Steven Orchard - Exploring adaptive capacity in mangrove social-ecological systems of rural Vietnam (Co-supervised with Dr Claire Quinn; funded by ESRC/CCCEP)
  • Dr Jami Dixon - Smallholder farming systems, adaptive capacity, and climate change in Uganda: insights for adaptation planning. (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Challinor; funded by an ESRC-NERC studentship)
  • Dr Gerald Yiran- Hazards and vulnerability to climate change in northern Ghana; funded by a Commonwealth Scholarship (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Challinor)
  • Dr Nicola Favretto - Powering Mali with sustainable biofuels? Livelihood opportunities and policy challenges of Jatropha curcas (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Dougill; funded by a University of Leeds Overseas Research Scholarship)
  • Dr Jose Octavio Velazquez Gomar - Institutional interactions among biodiversity-related conventions: How interplay management can improve global environmental governance (Co-supervised with Prof Jouni Paavola; funded by Conacyt)
  • Dr Philip Antwi-Agyei - Vulnerability to climate change in food systems (Co-supervised with Dr Evan Fraser, University of Guelph, Canada and Prof Andy Dougill; funded by a Commonwealth Scholarship)
  • Dr Jen Dyer - Assessing the impacts of biodiesel crop Jatropha curcas on livelihoods in rural Malawi (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Dougill; funded by an ESRC-CASE Studentship)
  • Dr David Glew - Validating the sustainability of biorenewable replacements for petrochemical products (Co-supervised with Prof Simon McQueen-Mason, University of York; funded by a White Rose studentship). David was based at the University of York, UK.
  • Dr Ian Duvenage – Sustainability frameworks for biofuel production in Africa. Ian was based at Bond University, Australia.
  • Dr Julia Leventon- "We don’t eat fish…" Science, policy and governance: the implementation of arsenic limits for drinking water in a Hungarian case study. (Funded by an EU Marie Curie Network Award). Julia was based at the Central European Univesity, Budapest, Hungary. She passed with Summa cum Laude honours.

Lindsay is interested in supervising PhD students with an interest in any of the following themes:

  • Adaptation to environmental (including climate) change;
  • Participatory processes (including a focus on knowledge flows and social learning) in managing and governing natural resources and social-ecological systems;
  • Sustainability and livelihood implications of biofuel cultivation and land use changes;
  • Governance and multi-lateral agreements to address environmental change