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Sustainable Places appoints new Director

10 August 2020

TC Hales

DR TC Hales from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Cardiff University has been appointed the new Director of the Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACE).

Dr. Hales is an interdisciplinary, environmental scientist, and Reader in Earth Science, interested understanding the relationship between ecological and social systems and environmental hazards.

Born in Christchurch, NZ, Dr Hales has long-standing Welsh connections, with his ancestors emigrating from the Elan Valley to New Zealand several generations ago. After completing an undergraduate degree at the University of Canterbury, in Christchurch, and a PhD at the University of Oregon, Dr Hales moved to the University of North Carolina working with ecologists at the Coweeta Long Term Ecological Research station and developing his interest in interdisciplinary working.

Since joining the Sustainable Places Research Institute in 2015, and becoming Director in August 2020. T.C. has worked on major projects that focus on the interplay between land use decisions and erosion by rivers and landslides. His work on the lower Kinabatangan River in Malaysian Borneo seeks to understand the drivers and effects of tropical deforestation on erosion and sequestration of carbon within soils. And as Chair of the Regrow Borneo project, he is applying this research to develop a community reforestation programme to restore forests and sequester carbon.

Dr Hales said “The importance of research into sustainability and the role of place is particularly important during our current global pandemic. The pandemic has highlighted the challenges posed by deforestation, driving greater contact between humans and animal borne pathogens, the wellbeing benefits of natural spaces, and the importance of including more locally and ethically sourced foods in our diet. It has also emphasised the need to embed a sustainability agenda into our lives, our business models, and the way we govern.” He added “Discussions of a green recovery suggest the governments and businesses will need to draw upon a strong research base to make decisions about a sustainable and socially just future. Many of the challenges of a green recovery will be place-based, and our research is increasingly important to solve these problems.”

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