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People Professor David Thomas

Co-Director, Oxford Martin Programme on Dryland Bioenergy


Professor of Geography, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford

David Thomas is Professor of Geography, Director of Research and a former Head in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxofrd.

He specialises in environmental change, past, present and future, in the world’s dryland regions, focusing on records and indicators of long term climate and hydrological change, aeolian system, including atmospheric dust, dynamics and land degradation. Much of his empirical research is undertaken in southern Africa, but current projects also operate in India, Arabia and in the past he has also worked in Mongolia.

His work on land degradation has included working with UNEP in the 1990s, producing the World Atlas of Desertification, and working with social scientists on policy-focussed interdisciplinary analyses of human-environment interactions at the nexus of land degradation-climate change relationships, including the capacity to adapt to climate variability in natural resource-dependant societies.

In 2011 David was awarded the Geological Society of America Farouk El-Baz Award, for a body of work that has significantly enhanced desert science.