Research interests:

My research interests include biological and social sciences; Agent-based models, forestry, silviculture, climate change, food security, behavioural economics, strategy, leadership and information and communication processes.

Career history:

I started my career as a forestry contractor and rose to Senior Consultant with a large land use consultancy. During this time I took various sabbaticals to further both my qualifications and skills, gaining several vocational and post graduate degrees.

In addition to my vocational and professional forestry qualifications, which include: Member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters (1997) and Graduateship Award in Leadership and Management (2008). I also hold the following academic qualifications: MSc Strategic Studies and Management (2014) and MSc Land Economy, Rural Surveying and Rural Property Management (2009)

Active research projects:

An agent-based model to study past and future agricultural land use in England and Wales.

An agent-based model was developed to simulate land use using behavioural theories for two types of agent; satisficing behaviour for landowners (farmers, foresters, estates owners etc.) and a classical realist behaviour based on Thucydides’ tri-fecta of self-interest, prestige and fear for a protectionist government. The model simulates agricultural land use change in England and Wales for the period 1900 to 2000. The simulations featured biophysical restrictions and social processes; the latter including government food-security seeking behaviours, since it is recognized that politics plays a role in land use. The model is known as the Biophysical, Land Use, Economic and Security model (The BLUES model). The model was developed to explore scenarios which offer potential solutions to food insecurity and climate change under two differing political economies, free market and protectionism; the initial focus of this study is on calibration, validation and proof of concept. Spatial resolution, the representing size of grid squares and scale as well as the level at which an agent is aggregated, all impact on model outcomes. The model was run at four spatial resolutions, with representative grid squares of 1, 2, 5 and 10-kilometre side length. Three measures, two temporal and one spatial were used to select the parameter combinations that closely matched the reference data. Observed land use change was simulated more accurately at the highest resolution. Improved agreement with the reference data indicated that the algorithms used in the model had superior ontological meaning at the highest resolution.

The validated BLUES model was then used to project the rate and proportion of land use change in England and Wales from the year 2000 to the year 2050. These projections were used to assess the impact of proposals to improve arable yields, change diet and reduce consumer waste, on the proportions and rate of change of agricultural land under two contrasting political economies; protectionist or free trade. The model does not calculate what is possible to achieve but what is probable, given the simulated processes, which are based on landowner satisficing behaviour and government political ideologies. The main finding was that protectionist policies produced the least change. It was also found that arable crop yield improvements, dietary change and waste reduction promoted pasture over arable use because these drivers reduced arable income on marginal arable land. The proportion of land in private and farm-forestry, a land use proposed as a greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation measure, reduced, when private and farm-forestry was not a protected use and when there were no incentives to plant or maintain trees.

Recent publications:

An agent-based model for studying the effects of sustainable intensification on food security in the nation State. International Environmental Modelling and Software Society (iEMSs) 8th International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software Toulouse, France, Sabine Sauvage, José-Miguel Sánchez-Pérez, Andrea Rizzoli (Eds.) http://www.iemss.org/society/index.php/iemss-2016-proceedings

The afforestation of upland slopes in the United Kingdom a food security threat or environmental opportunity. 2020, Granite: Aberdeen University Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Journal, issue 4, https://www.abdn.ac.uk/pgrs/documents/Granite_Vol4_Reilly,_pp._19-26.pdf