Iain Brown
Former member of staff

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Senior Research Fellow in Sustainable Development
Iain has over 20 years’ experience in working on issues relating to climate change, environmental change, and the implications for sustainable development. This includes applications for multifunctional land use (particularly agriculture and forestry); biodiversity and ecosystem services; water resources and flooding; and the coastal zone.  He has particular interests in developing integrated and inclusive approaches to decision making at multiple scales from international and national policy through to local level. This includes the use of systems and resilience approaches, risk assessment, scenario planning, GIS, policy analysis, and adaptation pathways.  

He has been a lead contributor twice for the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (Natural Environment & Natural Assets chapter) in 2010-2012 and 2014-2016 and also for the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (Robust Response Options). 

Key Skills

Climate change adaptation, ecosystem services, catchment & coastal management, land use & landscapes, bioclimatology, habitat mapping, scenario planning, policy analysis, options appraisal & decision making strategies, GIS.



  • BSc (Geography, University of Aberdeen)
  • PhD (Abrupt climate change & environmental reconstruction for the Lateglacial period) University of Aberdeen
  • 1995 to 1999: Research Fellow, University of South Wales
  • 1999 to 2003: Data/Project Manager, UK Climate Impacts Programme, University of Oxford (sponsored by UK Government Dept. of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs)
  • 2003 to 2006: Senior Research Fellow, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia
  • 2007 to 2016: Senior Research Scientist, Macaulay/James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen.


Selected publications

Nijnik N, Nijnik A, Brown I (2016) Exploring the linkages between multi-functional forestry goals and the legacy of spruce plantations in Scotland. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. DOI: 10.1139/cjfr-2015-0399

Brown I, Martin-Ortega J, Waylen K, Blackstock K. (2015) The role of participatory scenario planning for developing innovation in community adaptation responses: three contrasting examples from Latin America. Regional Environmental Change DOI: 10.1007/s10113-015-0898-7

Brown I (2015) Comparative risk assessment to inform adaptation priorities for the natural environment: observations from the first UK climate change risk assessment. Climate  3, 937-963 doi:10.3390/cli3040937

Wang, C, Miller D, Brown, I, Donaldson-Selby, G, Jiang, Y, Morrice J, Castellazzi M  (2015) Visualisation techniques to support public interpretation of future climate change and land use choices: A case study from NE Scotland. International Journal of Digital Earth DOI: 10.1080/17538947.2015.1111949

Waylen K, Martin-Ortega J, Blackstock K, Brown I et al. (2015) Can scenario-planning support community based natural resource management?  Experiences from three countries in Latin America. Ecology & Society 20 (4):28.

Brown, I, Everard M (2015) A working typology of response options to manage environmental change and their scope for complementarity using an Ecosystem Approach. Environmental Science & Policy, 52, 61-73

Brown, I, Berry, P, Everard, M, Firbank, L, Harrison, P, Lundy, L, Quine, C, Rowan, J, Wade, R, Watts, K (2015)Identifying robust response options to manage environmental change using an Ecosystem Approach: a stress-testing case study for the UK. Environmental Science & Policy, 52, 74-88

Brown, I, Castellazzi, M (2015) Changes in climate variability with reference to land quality and agriculture in Scotland. International Journal of Biometeorology, 59, 717-732.

Everard, M, Brown, I (2014) Response options: incorporating the Ecosystem Approach into robust and adaptable decision-making. Environmental Scientist, 23(4), 50-55.

Brown, I, Castellazzi, M, Feliciano D (2014) Comparing path dependence and spatial targeting of land use in the implementation of climate change responses. Land3(3), 850-873.

Slee,B, Brown, I, Donnelly, D, Gordon, I, Matthews, K, Towers, W (2014). The Squeezed Middle: identifying and addressing conflicting demands on intermediate quality farmland. Land Use Policy, 41, 206-216.

Brown, I, Castellazzi, M (2014) Scenario analysis for regional decision making on sustainable multifunctional landscapes. Regional Environmental Change 14, 1357-1371

Iacob, O, Rowan, JS, Brown, I, Ellis, C (2014) Evaluating wider benefits of natural flood management strategies: an ecosystem-based adaptation perspective. Hydrology Research,45(6), 774–787

Hanson, S, French, J, Spencer, T, Brown, I, Nicholls, R, Sutherland, W, Balson P (2014) Evaluating broad-scale morphological change in the coastal zone using a behavioural systems approach. In: Nicholls, R, Dawson, R, Day, S (eds.) Broad-scale Coastal Simulation. Springer.

Brown, I (2013). Influence of seasonal weather and climate variability on crop yields in Scotland. International Journal of Biometeorology 57, 605-614.

Gimona, A.; Poggio, L.; Brown, I.; Castellazzi, M.S. (2012) Woodland networks in a changing climate: threats from land use change. Biological Conservation, 149, 93-102.

Dunn, S.M.; Brown, I.; Sample, J.; Post, H. (2012) Relationships between climate, water resources, land use and diffuse pollution and the significance of uncertainty in climate change. Journal of Hydrology, 434, 19-35.

Iain Brown

Email: iain.brown@york.ac.uk

Contact details

Iain Brown
Senior Research Fellow

Tel: 07552285952