Oxford Long-Term Ecology Lab

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

December 1, 2022

Vector Atlas Engagement and Partnership Meeting, December 2022

The Vector Atlas team is looking forward to welcoming representatives from over 15 African countries to the first Engagement and Partnership Meeting to be held at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) Campus on Lake Victoria, Kenya, 5-9 December 2022. The aim of the meeting is to better understand the extent and breadth of malaria vector control challenges facing national and regional stakeholders across the continent so that the Vector Atlas outputs can be tailored to provide evidence-based analyses specific to current situations. By building on-going relationships with stakeholders, long-term data-based vector control support provide by the ... Continue reading

November 22, 2022

Seeing roots from space

A new study led by Dr Nicola Kühn during her DPhil associated with the lab titled “Seeing roots from space: aboveground fingerprints of root depth in vegetation sensitivity to climate in dry biomes” has been published in Environmental Research Letters. This paper finds a negative relationship between field-collected root depth data and remotely-sensed vegetation sensitivity to climate variability (developed in prior lab research, Seddon and Macias-Fauria et al 2016 Nature 531 229–32) and a positive relationship between root depth and remotely-sensed ground water depth. This research therefore suggests that the ability to access deeper water resources during times ... Continue reading

November 1, 2022

Vector Atlas Spatial Modelling Workshop, November-December 2022

We are excited to be holding the Vector Atlas Species Distribution Modelling Training Course at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Nairobi, Kenya, 30 November to 2 December 2022. The course trainers will be Vector Atlas team members, Prof. Nick Golding and Dr Gerry Ryan from the Telethon Kids Institute, and the aim is to develop research students’ ability to model spatial distributions of species from biased species occurrence data, i.e., where only occurrence data (rather than data from planned surveys) is available and where the species is more likely to be reported in, for ... Continue reading

September 30, 2022

Vector Atlas at the 8th Annual PAMCA conference

The Vector Atlas team had a great time at the 8th Annual Pan-African Mosquito Control Association (PAMCA) conference held in Kigali, Rwanda, from 26 to 28 September 2022. Excellent sessions, informative field trips and lively social events, plus the opportunity to meet with many colleagues again after COVID restrictions, meant the team had a busy time reconnecting with existing contacts and engaging with new collaborators. The Vector Atlas was showcased in a dedicated presentation by Dr Marianne Sinka on 27 September: “The Vector Atlas: An open access platform for African malaria vector data, maps and evidence-based spatial models specifically ... Continue reading

July 10, 2022

Vector Atlas Kick-off Meeting

The international Vector Atlas team gathered at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) Duduville campus in Nairobi from 4 to 8 July 2022 to celebrate the launch of the project. The event brought together data and geospatial experts, spatial modellers and platform developers all of whom are involved in developing the new Vector Atlas. The launch event was a great success, allowing many participants to meet face to face for the first time. Over three upbeat and productive days, we confirmed the solid foundations of the project and mapped out the future timetable for the next three ... Continue reading

May 17, 2022

Professor Kathy Willis appointed as peer in House of Lords

The House of Lords announced that Professor Katherine J. Willis CBE has been appointed as a new non-party-political life peer, after being recommended by the independent House of Lords Commission. Professor Willis’ nomination came from her position as an internationally recognised expert on nature and the relationship between biodiversity, climate change and human wellbeing. The appointment also recognised Professor Willis’ contribution to science and to policy formulation after serving as a member of the government’s Natural Capital Committee and after providing detailed analysis and scrutiny of the scientific evidence base underpinning the Government’s 25-Year Environment Plan, Biodiversity Net Gain policies, and ... Continue reading

April 1, 2022

The Vector Atlas launched

A new initiative, The Vector Atlas, was launched today. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and led by Dr Marianne Sinka (Senior Postdoctoral Researcher), this 3-year project will provide analyses-ready data and spatial models specifically tailored to inform malaria vector control in Africa. The Vector Atlas brings together a new collaboration of partners (icipe, University of Oxford, MAP, PAMCA, GBIF, VectorBase, and IRMapper) in an initiative to build an online, open access repository to hold and share malaria vector occurrence, bionomics, abundance, and insecticide resistance data. The data will be fully ... Continue reading

February 11, 2022

Nicola Kühn passed her DPhil viva

Lab member Nicola Kühn passed her DPhil viva with minor corrections on 10th February 2022 with her thesis titled “Vegetation response to climate change: a traits-based approach”. Nicola’s viva examiners were Prof Guy Midgley (University of Stellenbosch) and Dr Nikki Stevens (School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford). Nicola was supervised by Prof Kathy Willis (Department of Biology), Dr Marc Macias-Fauria (School of Geography and the Environment) and Dr Carolina Tovar (RBG, Kew). A key finding from her thesis was that in dry biomes often-neglected root traits contribute significantly to overall plant trait variation and are thus key in reducing ... Continue reading

January 31, 2022

Spectroscopy Equipment Award

  DPhil candidate Anna Lee-Jones was awarded a loan of spectroscopy equipment from the NERC Field Spectroscopy Facility in their allocation for spring/summer 2022: My application to loan high resolution reflectance spectroscopy and fluorometry field equipment was approved by the FSF steering group earlier this month and prioritised for funding. The equipment will be used this summer in my ozone experiment in the Bangor growth domes to monitor how ozone damage can be detected at the leaf level using spectroscopy. Next growth season we plan to take our findings out into the field in mature trees, perhaps making use of the FSF’s ... Continue reading

October 26, 2021

Cymru Collaborations

Last weekend Anna Lee-Jones, NERC DPhil student in the OXLEL group, traveled to the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) site in Bangor, Wales to discuss an experimentation collaboration with plant ecophysiologist Dr Felicity Hayes: My trip to CEH Bangor was a great success last week, and well worth the hours stuck in traffic spent on the M6. I was able to take a tour of the Air Pollution Facility just outside Bangor where CEH run eight glasshouses (or "solardomes") ranging from pre-industrial to future elevated ozone concentration, and nine free air ozone exposure rings. The main aim of this visit ... Continue reading

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 nature policy not being joined up across Government, nor is nature protection consistently factored into policy making. The Government is ... 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 is an ongoing tabulation of natural capital accounts. An annual report details the status and year-on-year change in assets, flows, ... 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 getting into bed, before they go to sleep, and to turn it off the next morning and upload the recorded ... 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 greatest.  Instead most recreation takes place in green spaces relatively close to people's homes, thus the most important areas for ... 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 the following policy brief which is used by Parliamentarians and policy makers in Westminster and beyond to advise on current ... Continue reading

October 6, 2020

New study mapping the potential extent of suitable habitats for the invading Asian malaria vector An. stephensi in Africa was published today in PNAS

This new study  led by Dr Marianne Sinka (Senior Postdoctoral Researcher) mapped the potential extent of suitable habitats for the invading Asian malaria vector An. stephensi, recently identified in the Horn of Africa. Contrary to most African malaria vectors, An. stephensi is able to thrive in urban habitats and the study concludes that without swift action to halt its invasion, over 20 million additional people could be exposed to this deadly parasite.

July 30, 2019

Best poster prize won by Nicola Kühn at “Species on the Move” conference in S. Africa

Nicola Kühn (DPhil student) was awarded the Frontiers of Biogeography Poster Prize at the Species on the Move Conference (SOTM) held at Skukuza, Kruger National Park in South Africa. Her poster entitled, “Deeper roots to survive drier climates: Root and aboveground trait variation across an aridity gradient in woody Fynbos shrubs”, was based on her DPhil fieldwork.    

March 8, 2019

NaturEtrade – creating a marketplace for ecosystem services

Over the last five years the Oxford Long-term Ecology lab has been working with Sylva Foundation and other departments at the University of Oxford to create a marketplace for ecosystem services. The NaturEtrade project was funded by the EU’s Life programme and the University of Oxford (mainly through the Oxford Martin School's Biodiversity Institute). The project has now come to a close and the project consortium is keen to hear from current and potential users about the demonstration tool developed. We are inviting land managers and others with an interest in protecting Europe's managed land from degradation to ... Continue reading

August 20, 2018

New systematic review on ecological impacts of forest burning

In view of the media focus on forest fires and their impacts, even in 'the wrong countries', a new systematic review of prescribed burning is timely. Prescribed burning, also known as controlled burning or planned burning, is used as an active management tool to enhance and maintain habitats for biodiversity outcomes. Prescribed burning is also commonly used for the purpose of mitigating wildfire risk by managing the accumulation of fuel in forests when and where necessary. The review was financed by the Mistra Council for Evidence-Based Environmental Management (EviEM). Following best practice for systematic review, searches generated a ... Continue reading

August 2, 2018

OxLEL Associate is new lecturer in Teesside

From August 2018, OxLEL Associate Dr Ambroise Baker will take up a role as Lecturer in Biology at Teesside University, School of Engineering, Science and Design, Middlesbrough, Yorkshire, UK. He will be contributing to Biological and Environmental Science teaching as well as developing research. His teaching and research are focussed on understanding how biodiversity and ecosystems respond to environmental change. This understanding is critically important to developing evidence-based policies to conserve biodiversity, protect the environment and maintain ecosystem services in the current context of global change. His DPhil completed in the ... Continue reading

July 31, 2018

Exploring land manager views of payments for ecosystem services, networks and learning

A new report has been published exploring land manager views of the concept of payments for ecosystem services, land manager networks and social learning amongst woodland owners and managers in England. The work, led by Forest Research was an extension of British Woodlands Survey 2017, led by Sylva Foundation in collaboration with OxLEL, the Woodland Trust and Forest Research. The main findings were that many land managers were not familiar with the term ecosystem services or the concept of payments for ecosystem services. However, they did often recognise that their woodlands could provide a range of ... Continue reading

July 27, 2018

Using an Ecosystem Services perspective to assess biofuel sustainability

A special Issue has just been published by Biomass and Bioenergy (Volume 114, July 2018), edited by past and present members of OxLEL Alex Gasparatos, Carla Romeu-Dalmau and Kathy Willis, together with colleagues G.von Maltitz, F.X.Johnson, C.B.Jumbe and P.Stromberg. The Special Issue explores how the ecosystem services perspective can provide this conceptual framework to identify and systematize biofuel trade-offs, as well as develop tools to assess them. The Special Issue highlights how the ecosystem services perspective can provide this valuable lens to study biofuel sustainability given its systems-oriented approach, ability to identify trade-offs ... Continue reading

July 27, 2018

NaturEtrade NFM: an exciting flood alleviation auction trial

Farmers in the River Tone and River Parrett catchments within Somerset, UK can bid online for public money for works to help stop flooding in a new trial coordinated by the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group SouthWest (FWAG), the Environment Agency, and Natural England.  The trial, which will run from July 23rd until Sunday, August 12th,  is of an innovative new online auction tool for land management measures, called NaturEtrade NFM. Funding is available for six natural flood management measures. maize management grassland sub-soiling leaky structures hedge planting soil bunds ... Continue reading

July 11, 2018

Changes in carbon stocks in central and southern Africa’s miombo woodlands

A new systematic map of the evidence of changes in carbon stocks in miombo woodlands over the past 50 years has just been published in Environmental Evidence in a collaborative project between OxLEL, CIFOR, the Institute of Environmental Studies, University of Zimbabwe, the Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, Mozambique, and Copperbelt University, Kitwe, Zambia, funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfiD). Following a rigorous systematic evaluation process guided by the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence, 11,565 records were retrieved from bibliographic databases and grey literature sources and screened for relevance against a published Protocol (Syampungani et al 2014). ... Continue reading

June 26, 2018

Evenlode Catchment Partnership NFM Hydrohack

Francesco Pelizza and Beccy Wilebore and attended the NFM HydroHack in the Evenlode Catchment (Oxfordshire) on the 16th of June. The event was organised by the Evenlode Catchment Partnership (ECP) to support data collection at the ECPs Natural Flood Management (NFM) scheme. Members of Oxford University, Atkins Consultancy, SouthEast Rivers Trust and ECP installed a series of water level logging locations to monitor the functioning of the Phase 1 components of the scheme. The NFM measures - including woody dams, corner bunds, retention ponds and riparian woodland plantation - have been developed on one of the Evenlode tributaries, the Littlestock Brook, which flows ... Continue reading

June 20, 2018

5th European Congress of Conservation Biology, Jyväskylä, Finland

Gill Petrokofsky presented two OxLEL papers the 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology held in Jyväskylä, Finland from 12th to 15th June.  The theme of ECCB2018 was 'planetary wellbeing' and papers and posters discussed the science and potential solutions for some of the most pressing 21st century challenges. The conference was attended by natural and social scientists, practitioners, industry members and government decision-makers. The conference was very well organized by the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and comprised a varied programme in ten parallel sessions, as well as plenary ... Continue reading

September 8, 2017

Shrub growth and expansion in the Arctic tundra: an assessment of controlling factors using an evidence-based approach

September 2017. A new open-access research paper examines possible controls on Arctic shrubification using an evidence-based approach. Over at least the last three decades, changes in Arctic vegetation composition have occurred that have significant consequences for the regulatory capability of tundra environments. Specifically, woody shrubs have been increasing in height and spread, and expanding to fill in patchy landscapes. Rapidly increasing air temperatures or increased growing season lengths appear responsible for increases in woody shrub biomass, but high spatial heterogeneity in shrub responses to increasing temperatures suggest other controls are also significant. The study, led by Andrew Martin of the Oxford Long-Term Ecology Laboratory, mapped the recent evidence ... Continue reading

May 19, 2017

Plant Conservation Day: Global Pollen Project featured on Methods in Ecology Blog

To celebrate Plant Conservation Day, the Global Pollen Project has today been featured on the Methods in Ecology and Evolution Blog, in a guest post by Andrew Martin. The Global Pollen Project (GPP) is an initiative started by Andrew Martin and William Harvey of the Oxford Long-Term Ecology Laboratory. [caption id="attachment_3854" align="aligncenter" width="300"] A digitised slide of Rheum rhabarbarum, collected from Mongolia in 2004.[/caption] The post highlights the contribution of palaeoecological data to biodiversity conservation, discussing how the GPP aims to bridge the gap between these areas of research. View ... Continue reading

May 12, 2017

Long-term Ecology and Future Planet Earth – A symposium in honour of Professor Kathy Willis

News item contributed by Professor John Birks, University of Bergen The Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group in the Department of Biology, University of Bergen organised a one-day symposium on Long-term Ecology and Future Planet Earth on 4 May 2017 to celebrate Professor Kathy Willis receiving an Honorary Doctorate (Æresdoktor) from the University of Bergen. Sixteen colleagues, former students, and friends from Oxford, Bergen, St Andrews, Southampton, and Tucson contributed lectures on the general theme of how a long-term perspective provided by palaeoecology or phylogenetics can aid problem-solving and decision-making in conservation, management, and resource stewardship today and in the future. ... Continue reading

May 11, 2017

Congratulations to Heri Andrianandrasana

We are delighted and proud to announce that this week Heri Andrianandrasana passed his DPhil viva with flying colours. His thesis examines the effectiveness of community-based conservation schemes in Madagascar for preserving biodiversity, protecting ecosystem services and improving human well-being. As part of his award winning DPhil work, he ran the largest programme of village-based monitoring in Madagascar involving 461 local monitors from 81 villages across five conservation areas. His conclusions have important implications for conservation approaches across Madagascar, and around the world. Heri is also the first student from Madagascar to ... Continue reading

April 28, 2017

Natural Capital of Street Trees

In a new Perspectives paper published in Science on 28 Apr 2017, Kathy Willis and Gill Petrokfosky highlight the considerable advantages of street trees as a natural capital asset. Urban trees can take up large amounts of carbon dioxide while also providing local cooling, which is enormously valued in increasingly hot cities, and natural filters for air pollution, which benefits human health. The paper draws attention to the importance of understanding the characteristics of tree species because planting the wrong species in the wrong places can cause unintended problems. Selecting species which have characteristics that maximise benefits and ... Continue reading

March 3, 2017

Plant Sciences welcomes OxLEL

Members of OxLEL in Plant Sciences

The Oxford Long-Term Ecology Lab. has successfully relocated to the Department of Plant Sciences after the closure of the Tinbergen building on Friday 10th February. We would like to thank Professor Liam Dolan, Dr. Roni McGowan along with all of the staff in Plant Sciences (particularly Rob, Tom, Sandy and Sam) for their warm embrace and welcome into the department. All of our work is now continuing as before. We are now located in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3RB, UK in rooms S204-6. Our contact details otherwise remain unchanged: Phone: 00441865 281 319 Fax: ... Continue reading

November 10, 2016

New tool for assessing ecological risk launched at the Oxford Martin School

A new tool for assessing ecological risk, developed by a team of Oxford researchers, was launched at the Oxford Martin School on October 7th 2016. LEFT, which stands for Local Ecological Footprinting Tool, was created by a team of University of Oxford researchers – in fields from biology to computer sciences - under the direction of Professor Kathy Willis, the first Director of the Oxford Martin School’s Biodiversity Institute. It was developed as an accessible online tool for parties undertaking biodiversity risk assessments. LEFT works remotely, anywhere in the world, by accessing globally available databases and algorithms. The user enters a ... Continue reading

September 28, 2016

Ecosystem Services conference Antwerp

Dr Peter Long attended the LIFE and Ecosystem Services Conference 2016 'Helping Nature to Help Us' in Antwerp, Belgium, 19th-23rd September. Peter gave a presentation on NaturEtrade as part of the session S10 'LIFE programme supporting societal benefits by restoring and improving ecosystem services - best practice'. His was one of fifteen talks in this session designed to share experiences of improving the mapping, monitoring, assessment and valuation of ecosystem services. The meeting generated a lot of discussion and will serve as a preparatory session for the LIFE platform meeting on Ecosystem Services scheduled for Spring 2017.

September 21, 2016

Launch of the latest phase of the Local Ecological Footprinting Tool (LEFT) – 7th October 2016 – 5.00 – 6.30pm – Oxford Martin School

  We are delighted to announce the launch of the Local Ecological Footprinting Tool (LEFT) - the latest development phase of our web-based decision support tool for assessing risk in environmental management - https://www.left.ox.ac.uk/ (see brief details below) – previous iterations of which have already delivered critical benefits in business applications and academic research over the last four years. Many of you have already used the Tool during its pre-launch free access period. You are warmly invited to the launch and reception. There will be an opportunity of seeing how the tool works, discussing the science behind it, and hearing how some of our ... Continue reading

July 19, 2016

Global Pollen Project reaches 1,000 species

The Global Pollen Project - a tool for pollen identification created and developed by members of the Oxford Long-Term Ecology Lab (Andrew Martin and William Harvey) - now has over 1,000 plant species, in 534 genera and 142 families. The project aims to provide a global reference library for pollen grain identification and study, by enabling the easy digitisation of existing collections in institutions anywhere in the world. It also provides a platform for crowdsourcing identifications for unknown pollen grains. These are then incorporated into the master reference collection. The master reference collection is rapidly expanding, featuring: ... Continue reading

April 25, 2016

NaturEtrade Spring workshop

Another successful workshop for the EU/University of Oxford-funded LIFE+ project NaturEtrade was held on April 22nd at the Sylva Foundation in Little Wittenham, Oxfordshire. Around 30 people attended from a range of organizations with an interest in natural capital, assessing ecosystem services and monitoring environmental change. The workshop covered the motivation for developing resource stewardship tools that combine ease of use with robust behind-the-scenes science to provide land managers with affordable, reliable ways of assessing the natural capital of their land. People at the workshop had the opportunity of trying out the NaturEtrade platform after walking ... Continue reading

February 18, 2016

Sensitivity of global terrestrial ecosystems to climate variability

In a new Nature letter published on17 February 2016 authors Alistair Seddon, Marc Macias-Fauria, Peter R. Long, David Benz & Kathy J. Willis, from the Universities of Bergen and Oxford, report a novel approach that provides empirical baseline measurements on a key component of ecosystem resilience, namely the relative response of vegetation in comparison to environmental perturbations over time, as well as the climatic drivers of change across landscapes globally.The study found ecologically sensitive regions with amplified responses to climate variability in the Arctic tundra, parts of the boreal ... Continue reading

February 10, 2016

Genes to beans: polyploidy on a plate. Michael Faraday 2015 Prize lecture

Kathy Wills will deliver the 2015 Michael Faraday prize lecture at the Royal Society, London on Feb 11th at 6.30. Kathy's overview of the talk (from the RGS website): "From the food on our plates to the greens in our garden, many plants share one extraordinary characteristic – they contain two, three or even ten copies of their entire genetic code in each of their cells. This so called ‘polyploidy’ crams cells full of DNA and not only gives us weird and wonderful looking plants, but almost all of the plants we eat, every day. Far from just providing us with ... Continue reading

December 22, 2015

A brave new world for woodland managers

The Oxford Long-term Ecology lab collaborated on the report published on December 18th, which demonstrates that private land owners hold the balance of power in meeting the challenges of environmental change to the UK’s forests and woodlands. Woodland managers will need courage to take informed risks and make bold decisions to ensure our woodlands can thrive in the future. Nine out of ten woodland managers have experienced environmental change in recent years, yet less than half believe the UK’s forests will be affected in future. Woodlands cover 13% of the UK’s land area and almost three quarters (2,283,000 ha)1 are in ... Continue reading

December 21, 2015

OxLEL in British Society of Soil Science Annual Meeting

Hsiao-Hang Tao presented her DPhil project on sustainable soil management of oil palm ecosystem, at the Annual meeting of British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) in London on November 26. Hsiao won the Best Student Presentation Award. The meeting is to mark the end of the 2015 International Year of Soils, and to discuss advancing scientific research, education and policies on soil sustainability. The 2015 International Year of Soils aims to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions. For example, Nature has launched a special collection on Soil and its sustainability to ... Continue reading

December 17, 2015

OXLEL gets festive at the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting

Three members of the Oxford Long-term Ecology Lab presented papers at the British Ecological Society's annual meeting which was held 13 – 16 December in Edinburgh.   Featured here are Peter Long, who presented on NaturEtrade and Solohery Rasamison, a PhD student from Madagascar currently visiting OXLEL, who spoke about his research on species distribution models.   Other presentations were given by Hery Andrianandrasana who spoke about his DPhil research evaluating the effectiveness of conservation action on conservation in Madagascar and Gill Petrokofsky who discussed Evidence Based Forestry and the value of collaboration in evidence evaluation.

December 4, 2015

OxLEL in the ESP conference in South Africa

Carla Romeu-Dalmau and Alex Gasparatos organized a special session on Bioenergy and Ecosystem Services in the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP) conference in South Africa last November. In the session, several ESPA (Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation) projects working on bioenergy in Africa presented their work on charcoal, sugarcane and Jatropha. Alex and Carla presented their work on 'operationalizing the ES approach for biofuel landscapes' and on 'Impacts of land use change due to biofuel crops on climate regulation services in Sub-Saharan Africa'. More information on their project can be found: https://oxlel.zoo.ox.ac.uk/research/projects/unravelling-biofuel-impacts-on-ecosystem-services-human-wellbeing-and-poverty-alleviation-in-sub-saharan-africa/.

November 10, 2015

Kathy Willis interview on BBC’s The Life Scientific

The wide-ranging interview with Presenter Jim Al-Khalili  on BBC Radio 4 The Life Scientific covers Kathy's academic career in biodiversity focussing on plants and their environments from the New Forest to the Galapagos Islands and all points between: "I'm determined to prove botany is not the 'Cinderella of science". She discusses the necessity of knowing the deep history of a landscape before taking policy decisions for its management, and the importance of developing land-use decision-making tools, such as the Local Ecological Footprint Tool (LEFT), to conserve land that is outside protected areas. The interview also covers ... Continue reading

August 12, 2015

Remote assessment of locally important ecological features across landscapes: how representative of reality?

A recently published paper in Ecological Applications describes the local ecological footprinting tool (LEFT), which uses globally available databases, modelling, and algorithms to remotely assess locally important ecological features across landscapes based on five criteria: biodiversity (beta-diversity), vulnerability (threatened species), fragmentation, connectivity, and resilience. This approach can be applied to terrestrial landscapes at a 300-m resolution within a given target area. Input is minimal (latitude and longitude) and output is a computer-generated report and series of maps that both individually and synthetically depict the relative value of each ecological criteria. A key question for any such tool, however, is how ... Continue reading

July 21, 2015

Kathy Willis wins 2015 Michael Faraday Prize

Professor Kathy Willis has been awarded the 2015 prize for her excellent work in science communication. The Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize and Lecture is awarded annually to the scientist or engineer whose expertise in communicating scientific ideas to a UK audience in lay terms is exemplary.The recipient is chosen by the Council of the Royal Society on the recommendation of the Public Engagement Committee. Past winners have included Brian Cox,  David Attenborough and Richard Dawkins. Kathy is only the 4th woman to win the prize, which was first awarded in 1986.

December 3, 2014

Studying the impact of Jatropha plantations in Mozambique

In November, LTEL researchers were in Mozambique to study the impact of Jatropha plantations in Sofala region. The study focuses on the socio-economic and environmental impacts of one of the last Jatropha projects that is still in place in southern Africa. For more information on this project please visit: https://oxlel.zoo.ox.ac.uk/research/projects/unravelling-biofuel-impacts-on-ecosystem-services-human-wellbeing-and-poverty-alleviation-in-sub-saharan-africa/    

November 27, 2014

Herizo Andrianandrasana has been awarded the 2014 Tusk Award for Emerging Leaders in Conservation

Herizo Andrianandrasana, DPhil student in the Oxford Long-Term Ecology & Resource Stewardship Group, led by Professor Kathy Willis, has won the 2014 Tusk Award for emerging leaders in conservation – an award sponsored by Land Rover. The award was presented to Herizo on 25th November by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, Patron of Tusk. Herizo's work involves integrating local people into conservation management and monitoring in Madagascar, his own country. Community-based conservation is seen as a sustainable solution to halting environmental degradation in Madagascar, which is one of the poorest countries in the ... Continue reading

November 26, 2014

Call for Grey Literature

The Long-term Ecology and Resource Stewardship lab in the University of Oxford and the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) Evidence Based Forestry initiative are collaborating on a systematic review map that aims to summarize the state of available methodologies for assessing ecosystem services on farms. Please get in touch with any publications or suggestions. The call can also be found as a pdf file: Call for grey literature - Ecosystem ... Continue reading

November 20, 2014

Video release of climate change adaptation planning process in Ghana

In April this year, Jessica Thorn of the LTEL co-facilitated a climate adaptation planning process in Ghana. The program of Multi-level Integrated Adaptation Governance (MIAG) Planning was jointly undertaken by Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Systemic Integrated Adaptation (SIA) Program in partnership with Ghana’s Council for Scientific Industrial Research. It was aimed at overcoming disconnects in the flow of knowledge, experience and resources across levels from household, district, region to national, in Ghana’s climate adaptation regime. This process involved an intensive sequence of bilateral meetings and multi-lateral focus groups within decision-making levels in the lead up to a ... Continue reading