Hi I'm
Dr John Holland

  • Position: Upland Ecologist
  • Location: Highlands and Islands
  • Expertise:
    • Climate, Environment and Wildlife
    • Natural Economy
    • Agriculture, Crops and Soils
    • Technology

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I am an upland ecologist based at the SRUC's Hill & Mountain Research Centre near Crianlarich in Perthshire. I have always had an interest and passion for ecology and natural history, particularly in mountain environments.

I went to Durham University where I gained a BSc (Honours) degree in Botany and Geography. Then I worked for a number of conservation and environmental organisations including English Nature and ADAS, before joining SAC Consulting in 1994. I later gained an ecological PhD from Glasgow University.

My main research interests include the impact of grazing on the composition and structure of upland vegetation and the grazing behaviour of sheep and cattle on hill vegetation using GPS collars. I am also looking at the production, utilisation and management of grasslands, upland ecosystem services, hill farm greenhouse gas emissions and carbon storage. Other topics I am researching are agri-environmental management, the use of sensors for monitoring the environment and animals, as well as agroforestry and farm woodlands.

I am principally a researcher, but I'm also a guest lecturer for several undergraduate and postgraduate courses, giving lectures at the Riverside and Edinburgh campuses and to students visiting the research farm and online.

I am an active bird surveyor and plant recorder. I am Chair of a local environment group and was involved in the establishment of two local community woodlands.I have organised the annual alpine field meeting for the Botanical Society of Scotland since 2004. I am also a trustee of the Farm Woodland Forum, a charity whose objective is to advance public education in all aspects of the science and practice of farming with trees in the UK and elsewhere.

Areas of expertise and interests

  • Climate, Environment and Wildlife
  • Natural Economy
  • Agriculture, Crops and Soils
  • Technology

I'm currently working on

  • assessing the supply and flow of ecosystem services and biodiversity from semi-natural habitats in upland areas under different management
  • the role of livestock in food system resilience in remote, upland regions
  • assessing the overall sustainability of alternative upland sheep systems
  • assessing the impact of grassland management on soil greenhouse gas emissions
  • the use of sensors and other precision farming technology on hill farms

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