Accessibility statement

Christopher Lyon
Research Fellow



Christopher is an interdisciplinary environmental social scientist passionate about integrating natural and social science, and the humanities in ways that help society to understand and navigate Anthropocene challenges, especially in the long-term. He has previously worked on the social dimensions of climate, food security, natural resource, disaster, and ecosystem challenges.

He has held postdoctoral positions at McGill University and the University of Leeds, with a PhD in Geography from the University of Dundee.


Postdoctoral Researcher, ResNet Synthesis Team, Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University 

Visiting Research Fellow, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds

PhD, Geography, University of Dundee, UK, 2017.
Thesis: Exploring power in the theory and practice of resilience 
Supervisors: Professor Ioan Fazey, Dr Susan Mains 

MSc, Rural Sociology, University of Alberta, Canada, 2011.
Thesis: Exploring dimensions of place-power and culture in the social resilience of forest-dependent communities
Supervisors: Professor John R Parkins, Professor Naomi Krogman

BA, International Development Studies, University of Winnipeg, Canada, 2008.



Based in the Levehulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity and the Department of Environment and Geography, Christopher’s research explores multi-century human-environmental futures on Earth and ways to plan for those futures now. It builds on the outputs of a White Rose University Consortium funded project he led at Leeds, called Refugia of Futures Past. Here, his team modelled different climate change scenarios to the year 2500, together with vegetation, heat stress, and crop changes to begin to broadly picture the kinds of futures we might have to adapt to. The aim was to provide some initial and indicative research to understand the kinds of climate futures our grandchildren may face. This work appeared in Global Change Biology and The Conversation, receiving international news and science media interest.


Selected publications

Zurek M, Ingram J, Sanderson Bellamy A, Goold C, Lyon C, Alexander P, Barnes A, Bebber D, Breeze T, Bruce A, Collins L, Davies J, Doherty B, Ensor J, Franco S, Gatto A, Lamprinopoulou C, Liu L, Merkle M, Norton L, Ollerton J, Oliver T, Potts S, Reed M, Sutcliffe C, Withers P. Food system resilience: A multidimensional concept, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, In Press.

Martin-Ortega J, Rothwell SA, Anderson A, Okumah M, Lyon C, Sherry E, Johnston C, Withers PJA, Doody DG. 2022. Are stakeholders ready to transform phosphorus use in food systems? A transdisciplinary study in a livestock intensive system, Environmental Science and Policy, 131:177-187.
Lyon C, Saupe EE, Smith CJ, Hill DJ, Beckerman AP, Stringer LC, Marchant R, McKay J, Burke A, O’Higgins P, Dunhill AM, Allen BJ, Riel-Salvatore J, Aze T. 2022. Climate change research and action must look beyond 2100, Global Change Biology, 28(2):349-361.

Fazey I, Schäpke N, Caniglia G, Hodgson A, Kendrick I, Lyon C, Page G, Patterson J, Riedy C, Strasser T, Verveen S, Adams D, Goldstein B, Klaes M, Leicester G, Linyard A, McCurdy A,…Young H. 2020. Transforming knowledge systems for life on Earth: Visions of future systems and how to get there. Energy Research & Social Science 70:101724.

Lyon C, Cordell D, Jacobs B, Martin-Ortega J, Marshall R, Camargo-Valero MA, Sherry E. 2020. Five pillars for stakeholder analyses in sustainability transformations: The global case of phosphorus. Environmental Science and Policy, 107:80-89.

Stringer LC, Fraser EDG, Harris D, Lyon C, Pereira LM, Ward C, Simelton E. 2020. Adaptation and  development pathways for different types of farmers. Environmental Science and Policy 104:174-189.

Fazey I, Wise RM, Lyon C, Câmpeanu C, Moug P, Davies TE. 2016. Past and future Adaptation pathways. Climate and Development 8(1):26-44. doi:10.1080/17565529.2014.989192

Lyon C & Parkins JR. 2013. Toward a social theory of resilience: Social systems, cultural systems, and collective action in transitioning forest-based communities. Rural Sociology 78(4):528–49. doi:10.1111/ruso.12018

Contact details

Christopher Lyon
Research Fellow
Department of Environment & Geography
University of York
YO10 5NG