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Professor of Soil Science, Lancaster University

John is passionate about soil, the brown gold that underpins our very survival on the planet, but which most people take for granted.
He has spent the last 25 years working on understanding the soil erosion processes that degrade soil functions, how we can protect soils better and how soils can cause the pollution of surface waters.

Published research
His published work includes over 75 refereed journal papers (see link above), including one of the most cited papers on soil erosion describing the European Soil Erosion model (EUROSEM). More recent papers examine the global linkages between soil erosion and the cycling of nutrients and carbon.
Liking to maintain an applied element to his research, John has been working on solutions to soil and water protection. These include an investigation into the impact of soil management on soil and nutrient losses and the use of wetlands to trap sediment before it reaches surface waters. He has recently completed the Mitigation options for Phosphorus and Sediment project (MOPS2).

John has received funding for his work from:
the National Environmental Research Council (NERC),
the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
the European Community

Current research
John’s current research projects include
the NERC funded Long-term Large-scale (LTLS) project involving simulation and anaylsis of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics in the UK
the Defra funded Soil Erosion Monitoring pilot project.
He is Associate Director for Research at the Lancaster Environment Centre and, until recently, was the Director of its Envision Doctoral Training Partnership. The PhD students he supervises work on a range of topics related to soil functioning, diffuse pollution, soil tracing and soil degradation: his current research team includes students from the UK, Brazil, Malaysia and Iran.

John has acted as an evaluator for Defra and the European Commission and is currently:
executive editor of the European Geosciences Union’s Copernicus journal SOIL
science secretary of the European Geosciences Union's Soil System Sciences Division.
a review panel member for NERC


  • –present
    Professor, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University