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Robin has a background in plant science, and for over 35 years has been involved in modelling biological systems, ranging from the gene level to the global level. He has had a long experience in crop modelling, particularly of tropical crops, having developed models of Eucalyptus, cassava, and tea production, and has modelled the impact of climate change on rice production systems in Asia. Subsequently, he extended this work to soil processes, which has included work on methane emissions from rice agriculture, carbon sequestration under biomass plantations in the UK, the sustainability of carbon and nitrogen in cropping systems in Nepal, and symbiotic nitrogen fixation while a Visiting Professor at Kyoto University in Japan in 2003.
Robin currently acts as Leader of the Nurturing Vibrant and Low Carbon Communities Research Theme at The James Hutton Institute, and is responsible for coordinating climate change activities across the Institute. He is also Coordinator of the work package on net greenhouse gas emissions from Scottish soils and vegetation (WP3.1) funded by the Scottish Government Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) and is a member of the Scottish Government Agriculture and Climate Change Stakeholder Group (ACCSG). He is also a member of the Global Steering Group of the CGIAR's ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins.
Current research interests
Robin's overall research interests are in the processes of change and adaptation in coupled socio-ecological systems in response to external drivers, and in using complex adaptive systems ideas and integrated modelling approaches, including agent-based models, to understand these processes. He is particularly interested in exploring these ideas in relation to mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and to the provision of ecosystem services.
He currently coordinates the EU-FP7 REDD-ALERT project on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), a collaboration of 12 partners in Europe, Indonesia, Cameroon, Peru and Vietnam. The aim of the project includes evaluating mechanisms for translating REDD benefits received at the national level into incentives for reducing deforestation at the local level. A related project, funded by Defra, reviewed approaches to estimating baselines for calculating REDD credits. As part of this work, he represented MLURI as a non-governmental organisation at the UNFCCC CoP14 (Poznan, 2008) and CoP15 (Copenhagen, 2009), and was an invited speaker by the EU on tropical deforestation at both events.
Over his career, Robin has been successful in winning more than £9.8 million in research funding.
Robin's highlighted publications
- Evaluating the impacts of REDD+ at sub-national scales: are our frameworks and models good enough?, Matthews, R.; Dyer, G., (2011) Carbon Management, 2, 517-527.
- DFID Interdisciplinary expert workshops on the potential of small-scare biogas digesters in sub-saharan Africa., Smith, J.; Abegaz, A.; Avery, L.M.; Balana, B.B.; Davidson, G.; Edwards, S.; Eshete, G.; Hailemichael, K.; Leckie, S.; Lemna, B.; Mahteme, Y.; Melamu, R.; Mwirigi, J.; Naik, L.; Orskov, E.R.; Pertiwiningrum, A. Subedi, M.; Tumwesige, V.; Yilma, D.; Yongabi, K.; Zenebe, G.; Mugisha, J.; Glenk, K.; Walekhwa, P.; Casson, E.; Austin, G.; Bechtel, K.; Matthews, R.; Goude, P.; Semple, S.; Strachan, N., (2011) Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, 16-18 May 2011. Report.
Robin's most recent publications
- Estimating greenhouse gas abatement potential of biomass crops in Scotland under various management options., Shibu, M.E.; Matthews, R.B.; Bakam, I.; Moffat, A.J.; Baggaley, N.J., (In press) Biomass and Bioenergy, 47, 211-227.
- Potential abatement from peatland restoration., Artz, R.R.E.; Chapman, S.J.; Donnelly, D.; Matthews, R., (2012) Briefing Note to Scottish Government.
- JHI Climate change research relevant to organic soils and peatlands., Artz, R.R.E.; Chapman, S.J.; Towers, W.; Lilly, A.; Matthews, R., (2012) Briefing Note to IPCC Working Group, 25 January 2012.
- Cost-effectiveness analysis of policy instruments for greenhouse gas emission mitigation in the agricultural sector., Bakam, I.; Balana, B.B.; Matthews, R.B., (2012) Journal of Environmental Management, 112, 33-44.
- Mapping of water supply-demand deficits with climate change in Scotland: Land use implications., Brown, I.; Dunn, S.M.; Matthews, K.B.; Poggio, L.; Sample, J.; Miller, D., (2012) Technical Report, Centre of Expertise for Water (CREW).
- The water supply/demand balance and climate change., Brown, I.; Dunn, S.M.; Matthews, K.B.; Poggio, L.; Sample, J.; Miller, D., (2012) Summary Report, Centre of Expertise for Water (CREW).
- Is there an ideal REDD+ program? An analysis of policy trade-offs at the local level., Dyer, G.A.; Matthews, R.B.; Meyfroidt, P., (2012) PLoS ONE, 7(12), e52478.
- Peatlands and climate change., Marsden, K.; Ebmeier, S.; Matthews, R., (2012) SPICe Briefing, 28/12, 20 April 2012.
- Should REDD+ fund `sustainable intensification? as a means of reducing tropical deforestation?, Matthews, R.; de Pinto, A., (2012) Carbon Management, 3, 117-120.
- Estimating carbon price from a closed emission trading scheme in the agricultural sector., Bakam, I.; Pajot, G.; Matthews, R.B., (2011) Journal of Land Use Science, 6, 1-18.
- Assessing existing peatland models for their applicability for modelling greenhouse gas emissions from tropical peat soils., Farmer, J.; Matthews, R.; Smith, J.U.; Smith, P.; Singh, B.K., (2011) Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 3, 339-349.
- Developing carbon budgets for UK agriculture, land-use, land-use change and forestry out to 2022., Moran, D.; MacLeod, M.; Wall, V.; Eory, V.; McVittie, A.; Barnes, A.; Rees, R.; Pajot, G.; Matthews, R.; Smith, P.; Moxey, A., (2011) Climatic Change, 105, 529-553.
- The potential of small-scale biogas digesters in Sub-Saharan Africa., Smith, J.; Abegaz, A. Avery, L.; Balana, B.; Davidson, G.; Edwards, S.; Eshete, G.; Hailemichael, K.; Leckie, S.; Lemna, B; Mahteme, Y.; Melamu, R.; Mwirigi, J.; Naik, L.; Orskov, B.; Pertiwiningrum, A.; Subedi, M.; Tumwesige, V.; Yilma, D.; Yongabi, K.; Zenebe, G.;Mugisha, J.; Glenk, K.; Walekhwa, P.; Casson, E.; Austin, G.;Bechtel, K.; Matthews, R.; Goude, P.; Semple, S.; Strachan, N., (2011) DFID Interdisciplinary Expert Workshop on the Potential of Small-Scale Biogas Digesters in Sub-Saharan Africa, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, 16-18 May 2011.
- Diversity deficits in modelled landscape mosaics., Villamor, G.B.; van Noordwijk, M.; Le, Q.B.; Lusiana, B.; Matthews, R.B., (2011) Ecological Informatics, 6, 73-82.
- Assessing climate change causes, risks and opportunities in forestry., Burgess, P.J.; Moffat, A.J.; Matthews, R.B., (2010) Outlook on Agriculture, 39, 263-268.
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