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Our dedicated team combines scientific excellence, outstanding technical ability and a passion for nature

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Lera Miles

Principal Technical Specialist - Planning for Places | Climate Change and Biodiversity

Lera leads the ‘planning for places’ theme at UNEP-WCMC, working across the Centre to further develop our substantial work on maps, spatial data and their effective use in decision-making. This includes technical advice and oversight, internal capacity building and pursuing our strategic priorities in the area. We aim to improve the use of spatial information on biodiversity and ecosystem services, within biodiversity conservation and broader public and private planning processes. Lera also helps to manage the Climate Change and Biodiversity team, overseeing a wide range work on global mapping, peatlands, faiths for forest and REDD+.

Lera’s publications are available here.

Previous experience & expertise

Lera’s PhD topic was “The impact of global climate change on tropical forest biodiversity in Amazonia”, at Leeds University (completed 2002).  Until 2007, Lera worked on global spatial analysis, scenarios and modelling, for ecosystems including forest, mountains and the Arctic. She co-edited the World Atlas of Great Apes and their Conservation, and managed many projects. From 2008-18, Lera coordinated UNEP-WCMC’s work on the UN-REDD Programme, in which the team collaborated with colleagues from over 20 developing countries.  Lera still enjoys contributing to this ongoing support to countries on safeguards and land-use planning for REDD+ that delivers co-benefits.

Recent work by Lera Miles

Naturemap | Technical oversight

Nature Map Earth is developing an integrated global map of biodiversity, carbon storage, and other dimensions. Lera oversees UNEP-WCMC’s contribution. She is particularly excited by the opportunity to include plants in global biodiversity maps, encourage citizen science through Naturemap-plants, and get a better handle on soil carbon vulnerability.

Global Peatlands Initiative | Focal point

The Initiative is working to improve the conservation, restoration and sustainable management of peatlands. Lera oversees UNEP-WCMC’s contributions on Congolese peat swamp forests, the Smoke on Water rapid report and a forthcoming global peatlands assessment. She is also the focal point for the CongoPeat research project.

UN-REDD Programme | Oversight

Lera managed the UNEP-WCMC contribution to the UN-REDD Programme over its first ten years. This involved conceptualisation and application of thinking on the potential benefits and risks of REDD+ activities and their integration into country plans and policies. We have undertaken substantial development and capacity building on safeguards and mapping.