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Robin Matthews

Staff picture: Robin Matthews
Information and Computational Sciences
Information and Computational Sciences
Honorary Fellow
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


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 Natural Assets Theme of the Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Programme at the James Hutton Institute, and is also responsible for coordinating climate change activities across the Institute, particularly in relation to the ClimateXChange initiative providing policy advice to the Scottish Government. He is a member of the Scottish Government Agriculture and Climate Change Strategy Group (ACCSG), and 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.


  • Gupta, J.; Shin, H.Y.; Matthews, R.B.; Meyfroidt, P.; Kuik, O. (2012) The forest transition, the drivers of deforestation and governance approaches., In: Gupta, J., van der Grijp, N. & Kuik, O. (eds.). Climate Change, Forests and REDD: Lessons for Institutional Design. Routledge, London and New York, pp25-51.
  • Gupta, J.; Matthews, R.B.; Minang, P.; van Noordwijk, M.; Kuik, O.; van der Grijp, N. (2012) Climate change and forests: From the Noordwijk Declaration to REDD., In: Gupta, J., van der Grijp, N. & Kuik, O. (eds.). Climate Change, Forests and REDD: Lessons for Institutional Design. Routledge, London and New York, pp1-24.
  • Gupta, J.: Matthews, R.B.; Meyfroidt, P.; Haug, C.; Kuik, O.; van der Grijp, N. (2012) The future of forests., In: Gupta, J., van der Grijp, N. & Kuik, O. (eds.). Climate Change, Forests and REDD: Lessons for Institutional Design. Routledge, London and New York, pp229-258.
  • Singh, S.J.; Haberl, H.; Gauble, V.; Grunbuhel, C.M.; Lisivieveci, P.; Lutz, J.; Matthews, R.B.; Mirtl, M.; Vadineanu, A.; Wildenberg, M. (2010) Conceptualising long-term socio-ecological research (LTSER): Integrating the social dimension., In: Muller, F., Schubert, H. & Klotz, S. (eds.). Long-Term Ecological Research: Between Theory and Application. Springer, Berlin, pp377-398.
  • Eitzinger, J.; Thaler, S.; Orlandini, S.; Nejedlik, P.; Kazandjiev, V.; Vucetic, V.; Sivertsen, T.H.; Mihailovic, D.T.; Lalic, B.; Tsiros, E.; Dalezios, N.R.; Susnik, A.; Kersebaum, C.K.C.; Holden, N.M.; Matthews, R.B. (2009) Agroclimatic indices and simulation models., In: Survey of Agrometeorological Practices and Applications in Europe regarding Climate Change Impacts (eds. P. Nejedlijk and S. Orlandini). Cost Action 734: Impact of Climate Change and Variability on European Agriculture. European Science Foundation, Florence, Italy, pp15-114.
  • Matthews, R.B.; van Noordwijk, M.; Gijsman, A.J.; Cadisch, G. (2004) Models of below-ground interactions: their valididty, applicability, and beneficiaries., In: Belowground Interactions in Tropical Agroecosystems: Concepts and Models with Multiple Plant Components (eds. M. Van Noordwijk, G. Cadisch and C.K. Ong). Chapter 3, Wallingford, CAB International, pp41-60.
  • Matthews, R.B. (2002) Who are models targeted at., In: Crop-soil Simulation Models: Applications in Developing Countries (eds. R.B. Matthews and W. Stephens). Chapter 13, CAB International, Wallingford, pp185-193.
  • Matthews, R.B., Kropff, M.J., Bachelet, D., Horie, T. Moon Hee Lee, Centeno, H.G.S., Shin, J.C., Mohandass, S. Singh, S. and Defeng, Zhu. (1995) Modeling the impact of climate change on rice production in Asia., In: Climate Change and Rice (ed. S. Peng, K.T. Ingram, U. Neue and L. Ziska). Springer Verlag. pp314-325.

Printed from /staff/robin-matthews on 28/05/23 05:15:29 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.