Tropical Futures

Informing sustainable pathways for people and nature throughout the tropics

The tropics are of undisputed social and environmental importance, holding the vast majority of the world’s people, languages, species and ecosystems. Yet they also concentrate some of the world’s greatest challenges, as they include some of the poorest people and nations and have the highest rates of species loss and ecosystem change. Lancaster Environment Centre’s multi-disciplinary tropical futures research challenge is aimed at understanding some of these issues and trying to foster better outcomes for both people and the environment.

 We aim to achieve this through strong collaborative links, co-designing and co-producing research with people and partner institutions across the tropics, in communities, academia, civil society, government and business. We draw on diverse disciplinary strengths including ecology, political ecology, biogeochemistry, governance, and earth science, to tackle a range of issues from both disciplinary and cross disciplinary perspectives. The breadth of disciplines in one department fosters and enables innovative transdisciplinarity approaches among staff and students

Our tropical research spans South America, Africa, and Asia and includes environments such as tropical forests, agricultural systems, coral reefs, mountains and volcanoes, and urban settings. The key challenge areas that we are working on include:

  • Understand and address biodiversity change in hyper-diverse tropical ecosystems
  • Examine social and environmental vulnerability, understand responses to environmental change, and support efforts to build greater resilience
  • Tackle pervasive injustices to enable a more equitable future for people in the tropics
  • Identify strategies to deliver fair and nutritious food security for all
  • Determine levels of environmental pollution and appropriate mitigation measures in tropical settings