Gordon is an internationally recognised scientist in sustainability of water, food, and the biosphere. She conducts innovative research that combines work with small scale farmers in Africa, global models of land-use and rainfall interactions, and culinary innovators.
She has previously served as deputy director, deputy science director and research theme leader at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.
As a researcher, Gordon is particularly interested in how intentional and unintentional actions in one place can influence systemic change elsewhere. In research she integrates insights from resilience thinking, land use change, food systems, hydrology, and social-ecological systems.
Her work also includes extensive experience in leading international research projects. One example is her research on Moisture recycling, analysing how land use change influence rainfall patterns and hydrology elsewhere.
She has also led, and still contributes to several research projects in the Sahel region including research on ecosystem services, livelihoods and social-ecological resilience assessments. This research has been funded by grants from SIDA, the Swedish Research Council, CGIAR and the French National Research Agency (ANR).
She currently co-leads the food theme in the Wallenberg Foundation funded Stanford collaboration programmes on ‘Natural capital, resilience and biosphere stewardship’ and ‘Fundamental research in biosphere-based sustainability science’. She is one of the authors of the forthcoming EAT-Lancet Commission, and on its Executive Editorial Team.
She is on the board of directors of the EAT Foundation, a science-based global platform for food system transformation. One of her key interests in terms of food system change is related to aspirational change, especially in the Nordic region.
Gordon has published more than 50 research articles, including articles in PNAS and Trends in Ecology and the Environment. She also co-authored the book Water Resilience for Human Prosperity (2014) and has contributed to several other book chapters.
Gordon has a PhD in Natural Resources Management from Department of Systems Ecology at Stockholm University, and a Post Doc at the International Water Management Institute in Sri Lanka.
She is a popular speaker at Swedish and International events, especially around food system change, water resources management and more general aspects of sustainable development.
Research news | 2019-04-03
Nordics in unique position to lead global food transformation, but not without overcoming major challenges
Research news | 2019-01-17
New Lancet report demonstrates why diet and food production must radically change to improve health and avoid potentially catastrophic damage to the planet
Research news | 2018-11-17
Study reveals deeply contrasting realities for farmers in South Africa
Research news | 2018-10-10
But it requires a global shift towards healthy and more plant-based diets, halving food loss and waste, say researchers
2019 - Journal / article
Food systems have the potential to nurture human health and support environmental sustainability; however, they are currently threatening both. Providing a growing global population with healthy diets from sustainable food systems is an immediate challenge. Although global food production of calories has kept pace with population growth, more than 820 million people have insufficient food and many more consume low-quality diet...
2018 - Journal / article
The food system is a major driver of climate change, changes in land use, depletion of freshwater resources, and pollution of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems through excessive nitrogen and phosphorus inputs. Here we show that between 2010 and 2050, as a result of expected changes in population and income levels, the environmental effects of the food system could increase by 50–90% in the absence of technological changes and...
2018 - Journal / article
The effects of land-use change on river flows have usually been explained by changes within a river basin. However, land-atmosphere feedback such as moisture recycling can link local land-use change to modifications of remote precipitation, with further knock-on effects on distant river flows. Here, we look at river flow changes caused by both land-use change and water use within the basin, as well as modifications of imported...
2018 - Journal / article
Urbanization is a global process that has taken billions of people from the rural countryside to concentrated urban centers, adding pressure to existing water resources. Many cities are specifically reliant on renewable freshwater regularly refilled by precipitation, rather than fossil groundwater or desalination. A precipitationshed can be considered the “watershed of the sky” and identifies the origin of precipitation fallin...