Accessibility statement

Alison Dyke
Research Fellow



I came to work with SEI in 2011 following over ten years as an independent research and policy consultant working in the fields of community woodlands and wild harvests. Alison is a political ecologist working on nature-society relations. I work across a broad range of environmental subject areas: bringing non humans into research and decision making processes in governance of trees and water; and investigating the impact that these relationships have on human and non-human health and well-being. In several projects, I have explored how these relationships are mediated by human values. I particularly focus on the social and cultural values associated with trees, building understanding of how these values are dynamic in relation to risk (funded by DEFRA), what metrics might be used to measure different types of value (again funded by DEFRA) and how these values influence land managers’ decision making (funded by NERC).

Key Skills

Mixed qualitative and participatory methods and processes, citizen science (particularly the study of citizen science and participants’ motivations), public engagement, social network analysis, environmental policy analysis, environmental sustainability behaviours, social and cultural values of trees, biosecurity and plant health, wild harvests, ethnobotany.


  • BSc (Geography, University of Glasgow)
  • MSc (Forest Science, University of Edinburgh)
  • PhD (Political Ecology, University of Glasgow)
  • 1998 to 2009 Independent Research and Policy Consultant
  • 2011 to present Research Associate and Community Scientist, SEI York

Departmental roles

  • SEI Research subcommittee member
  • Member of the Nature for Climate Fund Tree Planting Programme Evaluation Steering Group - DEFRA and as an external member Centre for Ecology and Hydrology's Ethics review board.



Since joining SEI, Alison has developed research on environmental behaviours including citizen science, public engagement and governance aspects of plant health and environmental behaviour change in relation to housing.  


Current projects

Branching Out (NERC – Future of UK Treescapes, £2.4 million) Including social and cultural values of trees in urban tree governance. (2021-2024, Co-lead, WP lead)

SMARTIES: Surveillance and Management of multiple Risks to Treescapes: Integrating Epidemiology and Stakeholder behaviour (NERC, £650,000) Combining sociological and epidemiological modelling of ash dieback and emerald ash borer

DECIDE - Delivering Enhanced Biodiversity Information with Adaptive Citizen Science and Intelligent Digital Engagements (NERC, £660,000) Using modelled data to co-develop systems to improve the usefulness of biological recording.

Recently completed projects

PuRpOsE (Funded by BBSRC, £1.2 Million)

PuRpOsE was an interdisciplinary project to PRotect Oak Ecosystems that aims to provide improved knowledge and understanding of health threats to native oaks now and in the foreseeable future.

OPAL (BIG Lottery, phase 1 £15 million, phase 2 £3 million)

Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network encouraged people to get back in touch with nature by enabling them to explore and study their local environments.

Housing and Life Experience (Funded by Joseph Rowntree Foundation, £294,970)

This project investigated the relationships between these things through in depth qualitative longitudinal interviews with people living on low incomes alongside and feeding to a participatory policy development process generating new ideas to mitigate, prevent and lift people out of poverty.

Living at Derwenthorpe (Funded by Joseph Rowntree Foundation, £117,931)

This project evaluated whether a new Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust development (Derwenthorpe, York, UK) succeeds in its aim of being a sustainable, low-carbon community.

Data submissions in Citizen Science (DEFRA, £18,842)

This project explored motivations data submission in citizen science projects.

Motivations in Citizen Science (funded by UKEOF, £36,823)

This project aimed to improve our understanding of motivation and participation in citizen science, so that new initiatives can be designed to take these factors into account, leading to greater success and easier evaluation.

Research group(s)

Nature-Society Relations

Citizen science and other participatory approaches


Selected publications



O’Brien, L., Morris, J., Hall, C., Ambrose-Oji, B., Marzano, M.,. Edwards, D., Petr, M., Quine, C., Geoghegan., H, Dyke, A., and Urquhart,  J. Land managers and publics: knowledge, attitudes and actions associated with threats to oak trees. In Quine, C.P., Atkinson, N., Denman, S., Desprez-Loustau, M-L., Jackson, R., Kirby, K. (eds). Action Oak Knowledge review: an assessment of the current evidence on oak health in the UK, identification of evidence gaps and prioritisation of research needs. Action Oak, Haslemere, UK. (2019)

Geoghegan, H., Dyke, A., Pateman, R., West, S., and Everett, G. Understanding Motivations for Citizen Science. UKEOF. (2016)

Emery, M. Martin S. and Dyke, A.J. Wild Harvests from Scottish Woodlands. Social, Cultural and Economic values of contemporary non-timber forest products. pp40. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh. (2006)

Articles in journals (refereed contributions):

O’Flynn, T., Geoghegan, H., Dyke. A.J. and De Bruin, A. Attending to nature: Understanding care and caring relations in forest management in the UK. Journal of Rural Studies. 86 (2021)

West, S., Pateman, R. and Dyke, A.J. Variations in the Motivations of Environmental Citizen Scientists. Citizen Science, Theory and Practice. 6(1). (2021)

Pateman, R., Dyke A. J., West, S. The Diversity of Participants in Environmental Citizen Science. Citizen Science, Theory and Practice. 6(1). (2021)

Pocock MJO, Marzano M, Bullas-Appleton E, Dyke A, de Groot M, Shuttleworth CM, White R. Ethical dilemmas when using citizen science for early detection of invasive tree pests and diseases. Management of Biological Invasions (2020)

Coventry, P., Neale, C., Dyke A.J., Pateman, R, Cinderby, S. The Mental Health Benefits of Purposeful Activities in Public Green Spaces in Urban and Semi-Urban Neighbourhoods: A Mixed-Methods Pilot and Proof of Concept Study. Environmenal Research and Public Health 16:15.11(4): 720–732. (2019)

Staddon, S. and Dyke, A.J.  ‘Moss harvesting in Scottish forests: Its extent, value and sustainability.’ Scottish Forestry, 63:1, 61-21. (2007)

Martin, S., Emery, M. and Dyke A. J. ‘Wild Harvests from Scottish Woodlands: an exploration of the health and wellbeing benefits of non-timber forest product collection and use.’ Scottish Forestry 60:3 21-26. (2006)

Dyke, A.J. ‘Development of Non Timber Forest Products in Scotland: Learning from Finnish Experience.’ Scottish Forestry 56:3 165-68. (2002)

Dyke, A. J. and Newton, A. C. ‘Commercial Harvesting of Wild Mushrooms in Scottish Forests: is it Sustainable?’ Scottish Forestry 53:2 77-85. (1998)

Book Chapters/sections:

Dyke, A J., Geoghegan, H., and De Bruin, A. Towards a more-than-human approach to tree health. In (Eds) Urquhart, J. Marzano, M. and Potter, C. Human Dimensions of Forest and Tree Health: Global Perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan(2018

Dyke, A. J. Chapter One, Sustainable and Responsible Harvesting. In Martynoga, F., and Chapman, E. (Eds.) A Handbook of Scotland's Wild Harvests: The Essential Guide to Edible Species, with Recipes and Plants for Natural Remedies, and Materials to Gather for Fuel, Gardening and Craft. (pp14-16) Saraband, Edinburgh (2012)

Dyke, A.J. and Emery M. ‘NTFPs in Scotland: Changing Attitudes to Access Rights in a Reforesting Land’.  In Laird, Sarah A., McLain, Rebecca J.,  Wynberg, Rachel P., eds. Wild Product Governance: Finding Policies That Work for Non-Timber Forest Products. pp 135-154. Earthscan, London (2010)

Refereed Conference Proceedings

Genney, D. and Dyke A. J. ‘Sustainable use of mosses, lichens and fungi.’ In Baxter, J. M. and Galbraith, C. A. Species Management: Challenges and Solutions for the 21st Century. (pp 219-222.) The Stationary Office, Edinburgh (2010)

Dyke, A.J. ‘The Scottish Wild Mushroom Forum.’ In David Moore, Marijke M. Nauta & Maurice Rotheroe (Eds.) Fungal Conservation: Issues and Solutions. pp 219-222. CUP, Cambridge. (2000)



I contribute to the undergraduate ‘Biodiversity and Society’ module and postgraduate ‘Current Issues in Environmental Science’ module.



Katie Noble, PhD Business and Society 1/10/21 → … – Joint Supervisor

Ying Wang, PhD Environmental Science 1/07/21 → … – Joint Supervisor

Christine Gemmell, PhD Environmental Science 1/10/18 → 2022 – Joint Supervisor

Sitong Mu PhD, Environmental Science 24/09/18 →2023 – Joint Supervisor

Available PhD research projects

If you are interested in applying for a PhD that aligns with any of my research interests, please get in touch with a project idea. I am particularly interested in interdisciplinary and applied research on nature/society interactions.

Contact details

Alison Dyke

Tel: 07552 285898