skip to primary navigation skip to content

Department of Geography


Complexity in social-ecological and environmental systems

Ecosystems and the landforms and human societies with which they are associated reflect the interaction of a range of complex natural and anthropogenic forcing factors, operating over a range of space and time scales. The complexity that results from the interaction of such forcing factors, and the feedback that is generated within the complex human and natural systems that respond to them often necessitates the need for landscape-scale analyses and/or global-scale datasets. Sophisticated statistical and computational modelling approaches allow us to move towards the ultimate goal of understanding the likely impacts of future environmental or societal change.

Research projects

Research projects currently being undertaken on this theme include:

The water-land-energy nexus: Foreseer

The water-land-energy nexus: Foreseer

The Foreseer tool at the University of Cambridge investigates the ‘nexus’ of water, energy and land resources. It is a scenario generation tool which includes natural resource supply, transformation, and use, as well as the ways in which they affect each other. The Foreseer tool also calculates greenhouse gas emissions and other measures of stress, such as groundwater depletion, in response to user-defined scenarios. The basis of the tool is a set of linked physical models for these resources plus the technologies that transform these resources into final services.

Earlier projects