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Dr Frances Harris

Senior lecturer, School of Earth Sciences and Geography, Kingston University.

Dr Frances Harris Areas of expertise

Find out more about Dr Frances Harris


Dr Harris is a geographer carrying out research related to food and farming, whether it concerns using the countryside for environmental education, rural livelihoods, or the sustainability of semi-arid farming systems.

Her current interest in environmental education has seen her carry out work focussing on outdoor learning and the relationships between children and nature. In 2008 she held a British Science Association medias fellowship, which granted her the opportunity to work alongside journalists from the BBC Radio 4 programme "Farming Today", on which she has also been an interviewee. She has also acted as a consultant to BBC Radio 4's "Costing the Earth" programme.

She has previously researched natural resource management in developing countries, and has seen her research methods employed in both the UK and some developing countries, particularly Nigeria, but also other areas of semi-arid west Africa and India, Brazil and Zimbabwe.   

She is currently a member of the editorial board of the Geographical Journal.


Year gained Subject
1995 PhD, University of Cambridge, Nutrient dynamics of the farming system of the Kano close-settled zone, Nigeria.
1989 M.Sc. Conservation of soil fertility, Wye College, University of London.
1988 B.Sc. Biochemistry and botany, University of Toronto, Canada.

Career Highlights

Year Position held
2000 - Senior lecturer, School of Earth Sciences and Geography, Kingston University.
1998 - 2000 Research Fellow, Centre for Overseas Research and Development, University of Durham.
1992 - 1998 Research Associate, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.
1990 - 1992 Henry Doubleday Research Association. Based at the Instituto Nacional de Investigacao Agraria in Cape Verde.



Harris, F. In Prep "Why we do what we do": Farmers' motivations to offer educational visits to primary school children.

Harris, F. 2011 Getting geography into the media: understanding the dynamics of academic-media collaboration. Geographical Journal 177 (2) 155-159.

Harris, F. 2010 Children and nature: Measuring success? Invited submission. Children, Youth and Environments 20(2), 2010.

Harris, F., Lyon, F. and Clarke, S. 2009 Doing interdisciplinarity: motivation and collaboration in research for sustainable agriculture in the UK Area 41 (4) 374-384.

Mortimore, M., and Harris, F. 2005 Do small farmers' achievements contradict the nutrient depletion scenarios for Africa? Land Use Policy. 22,  43-56

Pasquini, M.W. and Harris, F. 2005 Efficient use of resources: urban waste ash and soil fertility on the Jos Plateau, Nigeria. Area. 37 (1) 17-29

Pasquini, M., Harris, F., Dung, J. and Adepetu, A. 2004 The evolution of dry-season irrigated vegetable production between 1982 and 2000 on the Jos Plateau, Nigeria. Outlook on Agriculture 33 (3) 201-208.

Porter, R.E., Harris, F., Lyon, F., Dung, J. and Adepetu, A.A. 2003. Markets, ethnicity and environment in a vulnerable landscape: the case of small-scale vegetable production on the Jos Plateau, Nigeria, 1991-2001. Geographical Journal, 169 (4) 370-381.

Harris, F. and Mohammed, S. 2003. Relying on nature: wild foods in northern Nigeria. Ambio, 32, (1) 24-29.

Harris, F. and Twyman, C. 2003. Landscapes of change: socio-environmental interactions in developing areas. Geographical Journal, 169 (4) 326-327.

Thomas, D., Twyman, C. and Harris, F. 2003. Sustainable development in drylands: geographical contributions to a better understanding of people-environment relationships. Geographical Journal 168 (3) 193-194.

Harris, F.  2002. Management of Manure in Farming Systems in Semi-arid West Africa. Experimental Agriculture 38, 131-148.

Harris, F. and Yusuf, M. 2001 Manure management by smallholder farmers in the Kano close-settled zone, Nigeria. Experimental Agriculture 37, 319-332.

Mortimore, M. Harris, F.M.A. and Turner, B. 1999 Implications of land use change for the production of plant biomass in densely populated Sahelo-Sudanian shrub-grasslands in north-east Nigeria. Global Ecology and Biogeography 8, 243-256.

Harris, F.M.A. 1999 Nutrient management strategies of small-holder farmers in a short-fallow farming system in north-east Nigeria. Geographical Journal 165 (3), 275-285.

Harris, F. 1998. Farm-level assessment of the nutrient balance in northern Nigeria. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 71, 201-214.


Harris, F. (Ed. and principle author). In press. Global Environmental Issues. 2nd edition Chichester: Wiley. Authored chapters: Human-Environment Interactions; From Science to Policy, Conserving Biodiversity and Natural Resources; Food Production and Supply (with Prof. G. Robinson); Sustainable Development: Negotiating the Future.

Harris, F. (Ed. and principle author). 2004. Global Environmental Issues. Chichester: Wiley. Authored chapters: Human-Environment Interactions; Conserving Biodiversity; Food Production and Supply (with Prof. G. Robinson); Sustainable Development.


Book chapters:

Harris, F., Robinson, G.M., Griffiths, I. 2008 A study of the motivations and influences on farmers' decisions to leave the organic farming sector in the United Kingdom. In Robinson, G.M. (Ed.) Sustainable rural sytems. Sustainable agriculture and rural communities. Ashgate.

Lyon, F. and Harris, F. 2008. Combining scientific and lay knowledges - participatory approaches to research in organic farming. In Fish, R, Seymour, S, Steven, M and Watkins, C (eds) Sustainable Farmland Management: New Transdisciplinary Approaches., CAB International

 Harris, F. Pasquini, M., Dung, J. and Adepetu, A. 2005. The environmental and social impacts of peri-urban irrigated vegetable production around Jos, Nigeria. In MacGregor, D., Simon, D. and Thompson, D. (Eds).The peri-urban interface: Approaches to sustainable natural and human resource use. , London: Earthscan


Media Highlights

Dr Harris has appeared on BBC Radio 4's "Farming Today" programme and advised the Radio 4 programme "Costing the Earth".

Conference Highlights

Dr Harris has presented at a number of conferences in Europe.

Professional Body Membership

Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Contact us

General enquiries:

Journalists only:

  • Communications team
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3034
    Email us

Contact us

General enquiries:

Journalists only:

  • Communications team
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3034
    Email us