Oxford Long-Term Ecology Lab

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

Academic profile

Alex was a James Martin research fellow working with Prof. Kathy Willis at the Biodiversity Institute in the Department of Zoology.

His PhD thesis was in the broad area of ecological economics. Before joining the Biodiversity Institute, Alex spent three years at the Institute of Advanced Studies of the United Nations University (UNU-IAS) in Yokohama initially as a Canon Foundation Fellow and subsequently as a JSPS-UNU Fellow.

Research interests

Alex is an ecological economist whose research interests lie in the development and refinement of sustainability assessment and ecosystem services valuation methods. He is also conducting research on biofuels, energy policy, food security, natural disasters, urban metabolism and urban biodiversity in countries such as Brazil, Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Current research

Biofuels and ecosystem services

The aim of this project was to explore how the ecosystem services approach can be used to frame, understand, assess and convey the direct and indirect impact of biofuel production and use. A key component of this project is the development of a methodology that can allow the rapid, robust and user-friendly evaluation of the biofuel potential and the impact of biofuel expansion on ecosystem services in different landscapes around the world such as Jatropha in southern Africa, oil palm in Southeast Asia and sugarcane in Brazil.

Drivers and impacts of diet shifts in Asia

In the past decades radical diet shifts have been observed in parts of Asia. In several cases such diet shifts involve increasing meat consumption a phenomenon often called diet Westernization. This project aims to identify the socioeconomic drivers of these shifts for 16 Asian countries and explain its impacts at interface of energy security, food security and environmental sustainability.

The impact of climate change induced increases in typhoon intensity in the Asia-Pacific

Northwestern Pacific tropical storms (typhoons) are expected to become stronger due to climate change. There are fears that stronger typhoons will have significant impact on the socioeconomic activity of island nations such as Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines. The aim of this project is to develop a predictive model that can quantify the impact of climate change induced increases in typhoon intensity on agricultural systems, rice production in particular, in a spatially explicit manner.

Urban activity and its environmental impact

Currently urban populations are the largest consumers of natural resources, which are most of the times sourced far away from cities. This research project aims to explore how urban activity/consumption in two megacities can affect the environment locally and regionally. The first study explores the changes in natural capital consumption and land appropriation within Japan due to diet changes in Tokyo (higher meat consumption) since the early 1970s. The second study aims to identify and quantify potential air pollution and greenhouse gas emission co-benefits resulting from the increasing use of bioethanol in Sao Paulo’s transport system since the mid-1970s.

Selected Publications

Book chapters

Policy reports