Skip to main content

Postgraduate research project

Understanding recent land-use change in Snowdonia to plan a sustainable future for uplands: integrating palaeoecology and conservation practice

Fully funded (UK and international)
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Closing date

About the project

The UK’s sustainable future rests on a holistic appraisal of rural landscape function/land use and the state of critical ecosystem services. In upland Britain, important concerns include moving towards net-zero carbon targets for land-use, increasing the forest estate, and maintaining or enhancing biodiversity while supporting upland farming. Planning is better informed by knowledge of recent change in the upland system related to the large-scale social and economic transformations of the 20th Century.

This project focuses on Snowdonia, a mountainous region of North Wales that includes the extensive Snowdonia National Park. Here, a range of human impacts (for example, deforestation, moor burning, afforestation, fluctuating levels of grazing pressure, and pasture improvement - including the addition of nitrogen) have affected the landscape-scale mosaic of vegetation cover and inputs and outputs of carbon, nutrients and pollutants to upland waters and downstream locations.

The link between land use/farming/forestry practices of the past 150 years and carbon storage potential in peat/quality of inland waters can be demonstrated using modern palaeoecological techniques applied to peat and lake sedimentary records. The work would contribute to the development of upland land-management strategies in partnership with Natural Resources Wales (Bangor).

For full project details visit the Inspire project page.


  • Professor Paul Hughes (University of Southampton)
  • Professor Mary Edwards (University of Southampton)