My research asks how we can map, measure, model, and manage social-ecological systems to achieve the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
My current research focus at LUCSUS is on agriculture in Europe and how it can contribute to achieving the SDGs. I use big data to evaluate trade-offs among environmental, social, and economic outcomes of agriculture throughout the EU, as well as spatial statistical models to determine how external drivers and management choices influence these outcomes. It is hoped that by quantifying the causal relationships between drivers, management choices, and outcomes, links to the EU's Common Agricultural Policy can be made and used to guide agriculture's contribution to the SDGs.
I am also currently involved in ongoing river systems research with colleagues from the USA and Australia. This research employs big data along with the concepts of social-ecological resilience and adaptive governance to gain insights into sustainable governance and management of rivers and fresh water resources as social-ecological systems.
I currently teach the foundational natural science course in the LUMES program, Earth Systems Science, along with Kim Nicholas, as well as the Quantitative Methods Module in the LUMES thesis seminars. My teaching focuses on quantitative analyses and visualisation of social and ecological data to study Earth Systems. We encourage our students to utilise the vast amounts of publicly available data from around the world to answer their own research questions relating to Earth Systems and the SDGs.
I am a physical geographer with a strong background in the interdisciplinary study of social-ecological systems across a range of scales and through a complex systems lens. My research makes use of the power of Geographic Information Systems, ever evolving approaches to spatial analyses and mapping, and perspectives from the theories of hierarchy, complexity, and systems thinking.
I joined the team at LUCSUS as a post-doc in November, 2016, following an 18-month ORISE research position with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. At the EPA I conducted hydrogeomorphic characterisation and spatial statistical modelling of nutrients in stream networks of the Ohio River Basin. I also developed an interest in viewing rivers as social-ecological systems, and began exploring the physical integrity of rivers and the well-being of local communities as interacting components of the same system.
I gained my PhD in Geography from the University of New England, Armidale, Australia, in 2015. I investigated the spatial complexity of floodplain landscapes in Australia, South Africa, and the USA using light detection and ranging (lidar) digital elevation models, and determined external controls on floodplain surface complexity across a range of spatial scales. I also hold an Honours degree in Geography from the University of New England and a Bachelor of Environmental Science from the University of Canberra, Australia.
I grew up in Canberra, Australia, and have lived in Norway, USA, and now Sweden. I have a very international perspective on life and research, and enjoy collaborating with colleagues from a range of disciplines and from around the world. Please contact me if you are interested in collaborating!
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Murray Scown is a geographer with a passion for spatial analyses of complex social-ecological systems. His research utilises big data and GIS to map, measure, and model land use and river systems across a range of scales from local to continental. His research currently focuses on the role that agriculture will play in achieving the SDGs and, in particular, how to quantify trade-offs among potentially competing environmental, social, and economic goals in agriculture. He is also involved in ongoing research with collaborators in the US and Australia exploring social-ecological resilience in rivers and other geomorphic systems that are potentially threatened by climate change.