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Professor Yadvinder Malhi CBE FRS
Professor of Ecosystem Science and
Academic Director, MSc in Environmental Change and Management


As Professor of Ecosystems Science at the School of Geography and the Environment, and Programme Leader of the Ecosystems Group at the Environmental Change Institute, Yadvinder’s research interests focus on understanding the functioning of ecosystems and how it is altered by processes of local and global change.  He has a particular interest in tropical forests.

The broad scope of Yadvinder’s research interests is the impact of global change processes such as atmospheric change and direct human modification on the ecology, structure and composition of terrestrial ecosystems, and in particular temperate and tropical forests. This research addresses fundamental questions about ecosystem function, diversity and dynamics, whilst at the same time providing outputs of direct relevance for conservation and adaptation to climate change. His group applies a range of techniques including field physiological studies, intensive and long-term ecological monitoring, quantitative and qualitative social science methodologies, satellite remote-sensing and GIS, ecosystem modelling, and micrometeorological techniques. He coordinates an extensive and expanding research programme in Asia, Africa and particularly across the Amazon and Andes region. He also runs an active research programme at Oxford University’s Wytham Woods research site. He was co-founder of the Amazon Forest Inventory Network (RAINFOR) which has resulted in over 50 publications. In recent years he has developed an international research network (GEM: gem.tropicalforests.ox.ac.uk) collecting data on ecosystem function in a number of research sites across the tropics.
 

​Contact email: ​ yadvinder.malhi@ouce.ox.ac.uk
​Personal website: ​ http://www.yadvindermalhi.org/

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Dr Imma Oliveras
Departmental Research Lecturer in Ecosystems Science/Deputy Programme Leader

Imma’s research interests are to decipher how and why tropical vegetation structure and dynamics change across abiotic gradients and the consequences of these changes are at the community and ecosystem scale. As such, her work focuses on exploring how changes in the abiotic conditions driven by global change – and particularly increases in extreme drought events and modified fire regimes – affect plant functional traits and how this aggregates to diversity and ecosystem functioning using remote sensing approaches. She has ongoing projects in several countries of the tropics, including Brazil, Colombia, and Ghana.


Contact:  imma.oliveras@ouce.ox.ac.uk

​Personal website: ​ http://www.immaoliveras.org/

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Dr Pam Berry

Senior Research Fellow and Defra Rural Land Use Systems Fellow
Leader Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Climate Adaptation

 

Pam has a wide range of research interests covering:  the integrated assessment of climate change impacts and adaptation, including synergies and trade-offs in sectoral mitigation and adaptation measures and their impact on biodiversity;  conceptual aspects of ecosystem services; the links between biodiversity and ecosystem services; the assessment of ecosystem services, especially as delivered by green infrastructure; nature-based solutions as a way of addressing societal challenges; and the translation of science into practice and policy through stakeholder engagement. Her research focuses primarily on Europe and the UK.


Contact:  pam.berry@eci.ox.ac.uk

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Dr Constance McDermott
Jackson Senior Research Fellow in Land Use and Environmental Change
Ecosystem Governance Group Leader

 

Connie’s research addresses the governance of forests and land use change at multiple scales. It examines both "new" and “old" governance institutions, from market-based initiatives such as forest and carbon certification to sovereign state-based and traditional community-based approaches, to better understand how dynamics of trust and power shape environmental and social policies and facilitate or inhibit desired outcomes. Connie’s work at ECI and the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests has focused on the multi-scale enactment of a range of international initiatives, including Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) initiatives, the EU Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEGT) Action Plan, and government and private sector ‘zero deforestation’ pledges addressing the role of global commodities in driving land use change.

Contact:  constance.mcdermott@ouce.ox.ac.uk

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Course Director of the MSc/MPhil in Environmental Change and Management
 

Mark is interested in addressing inter-linked social and environmental challenges through interdisciplinary research and teaching. He is broadly engaged with research that investigates issues of well-being, inequality and justice with respect to climate change and natural resource governance. He is interested in how different values and knowledges interact with institutional and cultural contexts in driving the governance decisions which underpin environmental and social change across a range of scales. Previously Mark worked as a post-doctoral researcher working on the Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) ECOLIMITS project. This interdisciplinary project investigated the linkages between ecosystem service provision and the multiple dimensions of poverty in coffee- and cocoa-dominated agricultural settings, focusing on Ethiopia and Ghana respectively.


Contact:  mark.hirons@ouce.ox.ac.uk

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Dr Jesús Aguirre Gutiérrez

NERC Independent Research Fellow

Senior Researcher

Junior Research Fellow, Somerville College

The goal of my research is to disentangle how a changing climate has impacted, is currently driving and will modify in the near future our natural forest ecosystems.

Much is still unknown about how tropical forests around the world are responding to an increasingly fast changing climate, and there may be regions that are or will experience stronger biodiversity shifts and may be in more need of protection or regulation.

Having grown-up in Guadalajara, one of the biggest cities in Mexico where not much nature is around, I decided to spend a year living with the indigenous "Raramuri" community in Northern Mexico to learn from their vision of nature.

My research interests come from understanding the importance nature has on our livelihoods - something I learnt through my experiences with indigenous communities in Mexico and abroad.

I am and NERC Independent Research Fellow at the School of Geography and the Environment and the Environmental Change Institute. In my work I try to understand the role that plant functional characteristics play in the resilience of tropical forests and make use of field assessment and also lots of remote sensing data from drones and satellites. Currently I am working across several countries including Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Ghana, Gabon, Malaysia and Australia. See more about my work on my personal website.

 

I am always open to discuss research opportunities at bachelor, MSc and PhD level, feel free to contact me if interested.

Contact:  jesus.aguirregutierrez@ouce.ox.ac.uk

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Dr Nicola Stevens
Trapnell fellow in African Environments

Nikki’s research interests are centred around understanding vegetation dynamics in African savannas and how they are likely to change given increasing global change pressures like altered fire and herbivory regimes against a backdrop of changing CO2 concentrations. Along this vein I have become particularly interested in the phenomenon of woody encroachment where open ecosystems across the tropics are being invaded by native woody species. It has also driven me to improve our ability to predict future species ranges under global change by improving our mechanistic understanding of range edges in disturbance limited systems. She has ongoing projects in Southern Africa with the hopes to expand this research to other tropical savannas.
 

Contact: nicolastvns@gmail.com/nicola.stevens.ouce.ox.ac.uk

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Dr David Bauman      
Post Doctoral Researcher

David is a postdoc researcher working on the way climate and soil variability influence tropical tree growth and mortality rates at multiple spatial scales.  During his PhD (Université libre de Bruxelles), he focused on the spatial analyses of ecological data, and contributed to the optimization of the statistical performances of

multiscale spatial eigenvector-based analyses and variation partitioning. The overall aim of this research was to address the processes of tree community assembly and species coexistence in spatially-explicit ways. David also studied the impact of fine-scale soil heterogeneity on tree community assembly in African dry woodlands (Miombo).

His interest in forests’ response to changes in their environment brought him to the Ecosystems Lab, to investigate how tree demographic performances, or vital rates (i.e. growth, survival, and recruitment) are influenced by the interplay of species functional traits, climate, topography, and soil, in the tropical rainforests of Australia. This work is part of the ‘Tropical Forests in the Changing Earth System’ project.  
 

Contact: david.bauman@ouce.ox.ac.uk

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Dr Erika Berenguer
Senior Research Associate

 

Erika Berenguer is a Senior Research Associate at both the University of Oxford and the Lancaster University. She works in the DIEBACK project, looking at the impacts of logging and understorey fires in ecosystem functions performed by Amazonian forests. Her interests lie in developing a better understanding of different ecosystem functions performed by human-modified tropical forests and in assessing the resilience of these forests in the face of climate change. In addition, she is passionate about finding ways of effectively communicating scientific results to relevant stakeholders and policy-makers.
 

Contact:  erikaberenguer@gmail.com, @Erika_Berenguer
 

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Dr Cecilia Dahlsjö
Post-Doctoral Researcher 

Cecilia is a NERC funded postdoc with 10 years’ experience of field based ecological research in both tropical and temperate forest ecosystems. Her main focus is on bottom-up approaches to ecosystem functioning with a particular interest in invertebrates as drivers of habitat stability. She is currently managing an interdisciplinary project examining the ecological impact of ash dieback in Wytham Woods. The majority of the European ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior) is disappearing across the continent due to the introduced fungal pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus. This mass mortality event is expected to have a major effect on woodland habitat structure, nutrient cycling, and animal connectivity and behaviour. With an increase in global trade and climate change, pathogen driven mortality events like this are likely to become more frequent. Through long-term monitoring and experimental set-ups, this project will enable better understanding of mass mortality events and enhance management practices to both prevent and improve future scenarios.    

Contact: Cecilia.dahlsjo@ouce.ox.ac.uk/ c.dahlsjo@gmail.com

 

Personal website: https://www.ceciliadahlsjo.org/

Twitter: @CDahlsjo

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Dr Cécile Girardin
Science Lead, Oxford Biodiversity NetworkTechnical Director, Nature Based Solutions Initiative
Freelance Artist

Cécile is Science Lead of the Oxford Biodiversity Network [link: https://www.bionet.ox.ac.uk/] and Technical Director of the Nature Based Solutions Initiative [link: https://www.naturebasedsolutionsinitiative.org/]
Cécile is passionate about translating science into art, and using art to facilitate scientific discussions. She combines years of experience in climate change policy analysis with a background in tropical ecology and thorough understanding of forest ecosystem functioning, providing a unique multidisciplinary approach to my work. As a consultant for the UN FAO REDD+ team, she worked on policy analysis and gained clear insights into the UNFCCC principles. As a researcher in the University of Oxford, She developed skills in data gathering and analysis through intensive fieldwork in Andean and Amazonian tropical forests, and managed the Global Ecosystems Monitoring network dataset.

 

Contact:  cecile.girardin@ouce.ox.ac.uk|website: cecilegirardin.com|Instagram: @cecilegirardin|Twitter: @cecilegirardin

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Dr Manoela Machado Mollinari

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Manu is a post doc researcher whose research interests revolve around investigating how anthropogenic pressures and their interactions with climate can alter fire regimes in tropical forests. She does so through studying both fine-scale flammability metrics and broad-scale drivers and patterns via spatial modelling. Currently, Manu is investigating the apparent atypical fire season of 2019 in the Amazon and unpicking the relative contribution of the main drivers. Her John Fell / GCRF project seeks to inform policies and prevent other severe fire seasons in the Amazon.
 
Contact: manoelamollinari@gmail.com, @manu_mollinari

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Dr Terhi Riutta
Post Doctoral Researcher in Ecosystems

 

Terhi is an ecosystem ecologist whose research focuses on forest and peatland carbon dynamics. She is currently working on the SAFE project (www.safeproject.net) in Malaysian Borneo, one of the largest ecological experiments in the world, which is studying the effect of land use change and fragmentation on ecosystem functioning and biodiversity. At SAFE Project, she is running GEM intensive carbon plots, wood decomposition experiments and a flux tower. She is also involved in the temperate forest carbon dynamics and herbivory research in Wytham Woods.  Terhi’s general research interests include anthropogenic effects (climate change, land use change, fragmentation) on primary productivity, trace gas fluxes, decomposition and vegetation dynamics, using intensive plots, eddy covariance technique and GIS. Terhi is also a research associate at Imperial College London.
 

Contact:  terhi.riutta@ouce.ox.ac.uk

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Dr Alexander Shenkin
Post Doctoral Researcher

Alexander’s research focuses on how tropical forests respond to drivers such as drought, logging, fire, and climate change.He employs statistical models to understand the roles of species, microenvironments, forest structure, and functional traits in these responses on ecological time scales.Alexander leverages his background in electrical engineering to apply new technology to address these ecological questions.He is currently using terrestrial and airborne LiDAR and airborne hyperspectral data to investigate the role of structure in forest productivity and responses of trees to stress.

 

Contact: alexander.shenkin@ouce.ox.ac.uk

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Dr. Jeppe A. Kristensen

Postdoctoral Researcher

Carlsberg Foundation Visiting Fellow

Jeppe is a physical geographer currently interested in how animals regulate ecosystem biogeochemistry and climate change feedbacks. In times of climate change, much research is on biological responses to abiotic drivers, however, Jeppe is particularly fascinated about how animals themselves modulate their physical and chemical (abiotic) environment as ecosystem engineers. Most of his research has been centered around soils in the interface with landscape ecology, geoarcheology, and geochronology. Jeppe’s scientific contributions include the use of burial mounds in Scandinavia as paleoarchives for prehistoric soil C content, quantification of termite biotubation in African savannahs and forests using sediment dating techniques, and the impact of insect herbivores on biogeochemical cycling in the Subarctic. During his fellowhip in Oxford, Jeppe will assess how large herbivore introduction (megafauna rewilding) affects soil C dynamics, with his primary field site being the Pleistocene Park in Siberia (project: HERBIVARC). He has previously worked at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), Wageningen University (Netherlands), and Lund University (Sweden).  

 

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Dr Göran Wallin

Honorary Research Associate

Göran is a plant ecophysiologist with interests in the functioning of boreal and tropical forest ecosystems.  His research is focused on field manipulative experiments to understand how global change and air pollutants affects forest ecosystems. Another topic is carbon and nutrients dynamics of boreal and tropical montane forest, specifically in northern Scandinavian and Central Africa (Rwanda). Since 2003, he is strongly engaged in capacity building in Rwanda along with establishment of different tropical forest research projects, together with different partners.

Göran’s permanent position is a senior lecturer at University of Gothenburg (UGOT). He is currently a PI in the Rwanda TREE project - a collaboration between UGOT, University of Rwanda and Rwanda Forest Authority to study the effects of changing climate on tropical montane forest trees (www. rwandatree.com) and a PI in the research platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate (BECC) – a strategic research area between UGOT and Lund University. He has also been founding and leading the undergraduate Environmental education programs at UGOT for many years.

Contact: goran.wallin@bioenv.gu.se

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Dr Simone Matias de Almeida Reis (Imma Oliveras/ Yadvinder Malhi/ Ben Hur Marimon Junior)

Post-Doctoral Researcher

 

Simone is a postdoctoral researcher, conducting extensive data collections and analysis, and coordinating a team of researchers working on the BIOmes of Brazil – Resilience, Recovery and Diversity (BIO-RED) project and other associated projects led by the University of Oxford and/or UNEMAT in Brazil. She has been working with the dynamic of vegetation (e.g. mortality, recruitment and turnover of trees), including forests and savannas in the transition zone between the Cerrado and Amazonia. Also, she is passioned for nature and loves understand how fire, fragmentation, soil, and climate change affects forest dynamics and/or structure.

Contact: simonematiasreis@gmail.com    

Jane is responsible for coordinating the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests.She organises a series of seminars each term, maintains the OCTF website, Facebook page and Twitter account and produces a weekly OCTF
e-newsletter.Please email Jane if you would like to be added to the OCTF mailing list.
Contact:  jane.applegarth@eci.ox.ac.uk


Jane Applegarth

Part-time Admin Assistant and Coordinator for Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests

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Support Staff

Claudia Cassidy

Project Assistant to the Ecosystems Lab

Claudia is Professor Yadvinder Malhi’s assistant and she looks after the admin and finance side of things in the lab as well as the website and other media channels. Claudia has a degree in biology and she is deeply fascinated by the work done in the lab.
Contact:  claudia.cassidy@ouce.ox.ac.uk

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