Oxford Long-Term Ecology Lab

Long-Term Ecology, Biodiversity Conservation, and Environmental Stewardship Technologies

Long-term Ecology

The history of biodiversity and ecosystems

We collect and analyse data spanning a wide range of temporal and spatial scales to understand the processes that underpin diversity, distribution and abundance of plants and animals across global landscapes in space and time.

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Long-Term Ecological Proxies

Biodiversity & Conservation

Species and ecosystems

This evidence-base is then used to understand biodiversity baselines, the resilience of biological communities to various drivers of change, ecological risk associated with different landscapes, the effects of different aspects of biodiversity on human health (good and bad) and the impacts of different land-management practices over time on natural capital assets and ecosystem system flows.

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Resource Stewardship Technologies

Tools to inform environmental descision making

Outputs from our work are disseminated through web-based tools and technologies, academic publications,policy briefings, workshops, conferences, and social media and we engage with a variety of stakeholders in industry, academia, the general public and governance to ensure our research achieves maximum societal as well as research impact.

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Lab News

June 30, 2021

Government policy and targets insufficient to stem the tide of UK biodiversity loss

Professor Kathy Willis gave oral evidence as an expert witness to the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) inquiry into the the protection and enhancement of biodiversity and ecosystems in the UK November 2020. The findings of this committee were published yesterday. The full report can be found at the following site but the EAC's key findings of this report are as follows: Existing Government policy and targets are inadequate to address plummeting biodiversity loss. This is made worse by ... Continue reading

June 11, 2021

Natural capital in the nation’s forests

OxLEL was delighted to host Dr Eleanor Tew as guest speaker at our weekly lab meeting on the 11th of June. Dr Tew is the national Natural Capital and Resilience Programme Manager for Forestry England and is a visiting scholar at the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge. Dr Tew discussed some of the actions Forestry England is taking to maintain and enhance the ecosystem services provided by public forests, such as recreation opportunities and carbon sequestration. One programme she described ... Continue reading

April 19, 2021

New randomised control trial of the smartphone Humbug acoustic monitoring system starting this week in Tanzania

This Friday (23rd April 2021) a randomised controlled trial (RCT) aiming to understand use and uptake of the smartphone HumBug acoustic monitoring system will begin with 148 participants recruited from four villages in Tanzania: Kivukoni, Minepa, Mavimba and Milola. Each participant will receive a budget smartphone pre-loaded with our Mozzwear application mosquito sensor, and a modified  mosquito HumBug bed net containing a pocket where the mosquito sensor will be placed. The study requires each participant to switch on the mozzwear sensor before ... Continue reading

January 30, 2021

Mapping recreational amenity in Europe

Peter Long, Sandra Nogue, David Benz and Kathy Willis recently published a paper in Frontiers in Biogeography demonstating how to map the ecosystem service of outdoor recreation across Europe.  The model used data on numbers of visitors to certain sites to predict visitor density across the whole continent on the basis of human population density, social media records and environmental variables.   We show that the most spectacular landscapes are not actually the locations where the amount of recreational visitors is ... Continue reading

December 16, 2020

Research briefing on woodland creation in the UK

Matt Jordon (BBSRC DPhil student) has just completed a three-month fellowship with the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). During his time in this position Matt worked on a review of woodland creation which aimed to collate current evidence on the climate change mitigation potential of new woodland in the UK, along with existing constraints to increasing UK tree cover. He consulted with stakeholders across the UK working in academia, policy, environmental NGOs and the forestry sector and produced ... Continue reading

Research Blog

Ancient Plants, New Approaches

By Anna Jones on September 29, 2021

Encased within the unique Ryhnie Chert fossil system are some of the best-preserved early land plants in the world. Using pioneering digital technologies, we were able to reveal the developmental secrets of a transitional rooting organ which has laid hidden ... Continue reading

The Spanish Conquest & the Forests of Guatemala.  

By Dr. William J. Harvey on July 12, 2021

Following the Spanish conquest of the territory that is now modern Guatemala (1524–1541 CE), the anthropogenic use of land use was radically transformed to support livestock husbandry, agriculture, large-scale timber extraction, mining, and new settlements. These changes are frequently documented in historical accounts ... Continue reading

Net biodiversity gain: gain for whom?

By Professor Katherine J. Willis on July 8, 2021

Over the past decade there has been a radical shift in the way governments, corporations, NGOs and landowners are starting to think and talk about the natural environment in the UK. This has been evident in an increased understanding not ... Continue reading