Emeritus Prof Michael Meadows

 Professor Mike Meadows

    Room: 5.02
    Email: michael.meadows@uct.ac.za

    BSc (Hons) (Sussex), PhD (Cambridge)


Academic Profile

Michael Meadows is a Physical Geographer who joined the University of Cape Town since 1986. Originally hailing from Liverpool, UK, he obtained his BSc Honours at the University of Sussex and his PhD the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge.

Promoted to Professor in 2003, he was Head of Department from 2001 to 2018.  At the end of 2019, Meadows stepped down from his academic teaching position and was appointed as Senior Research Scholar in the department and still supervises graduate students.  He is currently Professor in the School of Geography and Ocean Sciences at Nanjing University, China.

Meadows has authored or co-authored more than 250 peer-reviewed research articles and edited several special editions of international journals.  Major works include the co-edited Geomorphology and Society (Springer, 2016),  Research Directions: Challenges and Achievements of Modern Geography (Springer, 2023) and Geography and the Anthropocene (Istanbul University Press, 2024).  His research interests are in the area of physical geography, more specifically concerning Quaternary environmental change and the geomorphological and biogeographical impacts of natural and human-induced climate change.  Meadows was Secretary-General and Treasurer of the International Geographical Union (IGU) from 2010-18 and was elected as IGU President for the period 2020 to 2024. He is a Fellow of the Society of South African Geographers (2000), of the Royal Geographical Society (2016), of the Royal Society of South Africa (2016), of the African Academy of Sciences (2019), The University of Cape Town (2019), Academia Europaea (2020), International Science Council (2022), Geographical Society of China (2022), Royal Scottish Geographical Society (2024) and is recipient of the 2024 Royal Society of South Africa’s Marloth Medal.  Meadows has also held positions as Distinguished Professor at East China Normal University, Shanghai, Jian Feng Professor at Zhejiang Normal University, and visiting Professor at the Institute of Geographical Research and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Meadows has a wide range of research activities under the umbrella Physical Geography. He is currently working with a variety of international collaborators, particularly in the UK, France, Germany, and China.  Key research interests focus on the reconstruction of Quaternary palaeoenvironments using a range of proxies and sediment types, especially wetlands and lakes. He has explored issues around environmental change and human activity in places as far afield as Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, South Africa and China.  Through collaboration, Meadows has expanded his research interests to encompass remote sensing records of land use change and also in the field of sustainability education.  Meadows has an active group of and PhD students working under his supervision.

All Meadows publications are listed on his ORCID profile: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8322-3055 or at Research Gate: