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Research Student Spotlight for July: Xinyue He

Our monthly spotlight on the work and lives of the next generation of water@leeds researchers. 
July 2021: Xinyue He
PhD title: Global mountain forest cover change and its hydrological impacts
School of Earth and Environment
Supervisors: Professor Dominick Spracklen, Professor Joseph Holden

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I was born and grew up in central China. Prior to my study in Leeds, I had just graduated with my master’s degree in Environment Science and Engineering from Hunan University. Coming to Leeds for a PhD is the first time for me to study away from my country, which is very new to me. Alongside my study, I love experiencing different places and customs to broaden my horizons and see the wider world.

Why did you choose University of Leeds?

Mostly based on my research interests, a couple of research teams and professors in the University (like water@leeds) are very attractive to me. After further communication, I really liked people from Leeds, who were kind and friendly. Apart from that, Leeds is a very cosy city and suitable for living (close to nature and stylish).

What is your research about?

My research focuses on the change of global mountain forests and how it impacts on hydrology. Mountain forests are hotspots of biodiversity and provide important environmental services by conserving water and soil, regulating river flow and storing carbon. The first aspect of my study is to make new assessments of mountain forest loss and implications for biodiversity. The second is to uncover the present-day mountain treeline positions and how they are affected by climate variables. The third part will be involved in how these mountain forest changes affect hydrology, perhaps a representative region with significant mountain forest change, such as Southeast Asia.

What did you wish you knew before starting a PhD?

I wish I had fluent spoken English and the ability of critical thinking. In terms of research skills, it would be better to have a good command of programming.

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