Lecturer in Ecosystem Services, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University

Luke is interested in identifying pathways towards sustainable urbanization in tropical forest regions, particularly the Amazon. He has been a Lecturer in Ecosystem Services in the Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC) since 2011 and is also currently an ESRC Future Research Leader Fellow (2014-16). Luke has a PhD in inter-disciplinary environmental science from the University of East Anglia and has worked extensively with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). His passion for Amazonia spans its people and places, slow boat journeys and governmental census data.

Current Research:
Luke is working on new tools to predict the impacts of Amazonian droughts on urban food insecurity, funded through an ESRC Fellowship. He is delighted to be working with a stellar bunch of inter-disciplinary scientists in the UK and Brazil and is mentored by Peter Diggle. In Brazil, Luke is hosted by the Nucleus of Advanced Amazonian Studies (NAEA) at the Federal University of Pará (UFPA) in Belém.

Luke and his collaborators are working on new tools to improve the adaptive capacity of road-less Amazonian cities to cope with severe drought and flood events, when food security appears to be threatened by the disruption of river transport and high food prices. They will develop an online early warning system that predicts real-time urban vulnerability to food insecurity. The team hope this tool will enable improved risk-analysis and facilitate both long-term strategic investment of resources and disaster intervention. Prior to starting his ESRC fellowship Luke was a World Social Science Fellow on Sustainable Urbanization, under the International Social Science Council (ISSC).

Luke’s inter-disciplinary research in Amazonia spans:
Wildlife harvest and sustainability, including hunting in landscape mosaics, secondary forests, urban dimensions, and PhD projects on fishing-hunting interactions (Danny Tregidgo), fish-farming (Mariana Piva), and caiman trade (Natalie Swan).
Rural-urban migration and abandoned Amazonian headwaters (from drivers to conservation impacts)
Deforestation, and agricultural transitions (especially from slash-and-burn to mechanized farming;


  • –present
    Lecturer in Ecosystem Services, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University