• JF Niven Building, SAC Consulting

    KA6 5HW Ayr

    United Kingdom

  • Auchincruive Estate, SAC Consulting, JF Niven Building

    KA6 5HW Ayr

    United Kingdom


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Lorna Cole is an agricultural ecologist at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and lectures on their Wildlife and Conservation Management Degree and MSc, Lorna completed her PhD at the University of Glasgow in 1997 and has worked in the field of agroecology ever since. Lorna believes that feeding our growing world population whilst protecting our environment is the greatest challenge we face. Her research has a strong focus on exploring how biodiversity goals can be positively incorporated into agricultural systems and how this can be achieved in an economically viable way. Lorna is particularly interested in beneficial insects, including pollinators and predatory beetles. The focus of her research is increasing our understanding of how agricultural practices influence these insects and the ecosystem services they deliver. Her research aims to identify agro-ecological practices that will enhance the sustainability of agricultural systems to future challenges. Lorna primarily conducts research on working farms giving her a strong practical knowledge of farming systems. This knowledge enables her to ensure that management recommendations resulting from her research are practical and realistic to achieve on the ground. Her current research focuses on the ecology, spatial distribution and functional diversity of pollinators within intensive agricultural landscapes.



Current projects

  • Principal Investigator: Alternative approaches to sustainable land management. This research investigates the social, environmental and economic implications of adopting more sustainable agricultural practices (RESAS Funded).
  • Principal Investigator: Developing practical guidelines and supporting policies for effective and robust sustainable grassland systems. Here a multi-actor approach is taken to identify promising management practices aimed to improve the social, economic and environmental performance of grassland farms (SEFARI Funded).
  • Principal Investigator: The potential for an agroecological approach in Scotland. This project aims to explore and inform policy of the different agroecological farming models practised in Scotland and their perceived outcomes (CxC Funded).
  • Principal Investigator: From Chair to Climate Solutions: A virtual SEFARI of research stories. This outreach project aims to use virtual tours to highlight the breadth of work being conducted across the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI Funded).
  • Principal Investigator: SEFARI Farm Tour – A Virtual Showcase of the SEFARI Farms. This outreach project tours some of Scotland’s top research farms to highlight research activities being undertaken on these farms (SEFARI Funded).
  • Principal Investigator: Garnock’s Buzzing. This Garnock Connections landscape partnership project sees collaboration with RSPB, North Ayrshire Council, Buglife and The Scottish Wildlife Trust. The project aims to restore and enhance pollinator populations within the Garnock connections study areas (National Lottery Heritage Fund).
  • Co-investigator Ecosystem services provision. This research assesses the supply and flow of ecosystem services and biodiversity from semi-natural habitats in upland areas under different management regimes (RESAS Funded).
  • Co-investigator: Strategic Cereal Farms 2021.  This project aims to monitor the environmental and economic benefits as the Strategic Farm Scotland moves towards a more sustainable system.  (AHDB Funded)

Selected completed projects

  • Principal Investigator: Safeguarding pollinators and pollination services. This cross European collaborative project explored how we could promote and restore pollination services (Research Excellence Grant).
  • Ecological Expert: EU strategy on adaptation to climate change: knowledge assessments (Directorate-General for Climate Action).
  • Principal Investigator: Living on the Banks of the Garnock. This Garnock Connections landscape partnership project sees collaboration with SEPA, Ayrshire River’s Trust and RSPB. Here spatially modelling is used to map diffuse pollution risks and exploring riparian habitat networks (National Lottery Heritage Fund).
  • Principle Investigator: Profit through pollination. Through establishing a Pollinator Demonstration Farm management actions to promote pollinators were demonstrated to key stakeholders (Soil Association Scotland/The Mains of Loirston Charitable Trust). 




  • The establishment and management of Ecological Focus Areas to enhance ecosystem services in conjunction with University of Edinburgh and Teagasc (Walsh Fellowship)
  • Using unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor pollinator assemblages in conjunction with University of Edinburgh (NERC E4 DTP) in conjunction with University of Edinburgh and Teagasc (Walsh Fellowship)
  • The role of Integrated Pest Management in controlling leatherjacket populations in conjunction with University of Edinburgh and Teagasc (Walsh Fellowship)
  • Assessing Scotland's Pollinator Strategy: A 'real-world' approach in conjunction with University of Edinburgh and The James Hutton Institute (NERC E4 DTP). Starting September 2021.


  • Oilseed rape and pollinators: the impact of variety on resource availability and pollination resilience in conjunction with University of Edinburgh (NERC E4 DTP)


Education/Academic qualification

PhD, The effects of heavy metal-rich sewage sludge on Collembola communities in grassland, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 10 Oct 1997


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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  • Data from: A critical analysis of the potential for EU Common Agricultural Policy measures to support wild pollinators on farmland

    Cole, L. (Creator), Kleijn, D. (Creator), Dicks, L. V. (Creator), Stout, J. (Creator), Potts, S. (Creator), Albrecht, M. (Creator), Balzan, M. V. (Creator), Bartomeus, I. (Creator), Bebeli, P. (Creator), Bevk, D. (Creator), Biesmeijer, J. (Creator), Chlebo, R. (Creator), Dautartė, A. (Creator), Emmanouil , N. (Creator), Hartfield, C. (Creator), Holland, J. (Creator), Holzschuh, A. (Creator), Knoben, N. (Creator), Kovács-Hostyánszki, A. (Creator), Mandelik, Y. (Creator), Panou, H. (Creator), Paxton, R. (Creator), Petanidou, T. (Creator), Pinheiro de Carvalho, M. (Creator), Rundlöf, M. (Creator), Sarthou, J. (Creator), Stavrinides, M. (Creator), Suso, M. (Creator), Szentgyörgyi, H. (Creator), Vaissière, B. E. (Creator), Varnava, A. (Creator), Vilà, M. (Creator), Zemeckis, R. (Creator) & Scheper, J. (Creator), Dryad, 20 Jan 2020