Oxford Long-Term Ecology Lab

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

Robust ecological, socio-economic information is important for planning, accounting, and reporting at local and national levels. Despite the widening debate on ecosystem service (ES) provision, land managers and researchers still lack quantitative techniques to collect empirical data that can be used directly to inform decision-making processes at appropriate scales. Robust ecological, socio-economic information is important for planning, accounting, and reporting at local and national levels. A number of projects within the group are developing techniques and tools that make a contribution to resource stewardship and ecosystem services assessments.

One study aims to review the current suite of methods to obtain quantitative Ecosystem Services assessments and test them in three agro-ecosystems . The design is resource- and scale-specific, applying methods that allow for on-site real-time sampling and analysis, are portable, require limited material, human resources or technical know-how and can withstand field conditions.

Another is developing an automated Ecosystem Service Evaluation Tool (EcoSET) to obtain data and develop algorithms for five ecosystem service values (pollination, cultural services, carbon storage and, soil erosion prevention).

Linked with EcoSET is a 5-year EU LIFE+ project (NaturEtrade)  that aims to link landowners and buyers in a virtual marketplace where promises of conservation can be paid for without land changing hands with the ultimate aim of reducing biodiversity loss in Europe.

There are significant conservation challenges associated with the production of palm oil inside the highly biodiverse coast of Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo. Peat swamp forest is rich in carbon and biodiversity, but this ecosystem is rapidly disappearing owing to human impact. Research in the group linking long-term pollen data with current resource management problems looks at how much these peat swamp forests have been disturbed in the past, what caused the disturbance, in particular focusing on anthropogenic drivers, and what evidence there is available in the thousands of years of accumulated peat to indicate how quickly the forest can recover from such impacts.


Evidence Based Forestry & Landuse

Other sectors have well-established procedures for using systematic, evidence-informed approaches to science-policy dialogue. These include Health Care (Cochrane Collaboration), ... Continue reading

Local Ecological Footprinting Tool (LEFT)

LEFT is an internet-based decision support tool for evaluating the pattern of relative ecological value across a landscape. Such knowledge can help minimise environmental impact when ... Continue reading

Potential impacts of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystem function in small-holder agro-ecosystems in Northern Ghana

Small-holder farmers play an influential role in prevailing environmental conditions across the globe - constituting 80% people in sub-Saharan Africa alone, and 2 billion globally. ... Continue reading

Rapid Ecosystem Service Assessment Technique (RESAT) : An indicator methodology for assessing ecosystem processes and function, goods and services, and human well-being in agricultural landscapes

Despite the widening debate on ecosystem service (ES) provision and growing spectrum of ecosystem assessment tools, land managers and researchers in the ES community still ... Continue reading

How effective are on-farm conservation land management strategies for preserving ecosystem services in developing countries?

While ecosystem service valuation is commonly justified as a tool that can enhance decision making at landscape level through monitoring, planning or prioritization, there is ... Continue reading

Systemic Integrated Adaptation planning framework

Systemic Integrated Adaptation (SIA) Framework is a three-year, multidisciplinary research initiative exploring the resilience and adaptive capacity of food systems to climate change. Employing systems-thinking, ... Continue reading


Biodiversity provides vital goods and services, such as pollination, food provision, carbon sequestration and water regulation that strengthen economic prosperity.  While conservation planning for biodiversity ... Continue reading


This demonstration project has been successfully completed. The overall aim of NaturEtrade was to develop an innovative solution to the loss of ecologically-rich land in ... Continue reading

Linking soil management to ecosystem functions and services in oil palm plantings

The rapid expansion of oil palm cultivation in Southeast Asia in the past decades has led to deforestation, loss of biological diversity, poor water quality ... Continue reading

Resilience of Tropical Peat Swamp Forests

Tropical peat swamp forests are undergoing some of the most rapid rates of deforestation and land use change on earth.  As well as being rich ... Continue reading

Impact of EU Agri-environment policies on ecosystem functioning

Catherine's DPhil focuses on assessing the effectiveness of EU agri-environment schemes in promoting ecosystem functioning and service delivery within agricultural landscapes. Agri-environment schemes have been ... Continue reading

Retrospectively evaluating the effectiveness of Community Based Conservation projects in Madagascar

Herizo Andrianandrasana DPhil project involved an evaluation of the effectiveness of Community based Conservation (CBC) in mitigating threats, saving biodiversity, protecting ecosystem services and enhancing ... Continue reading


Biodiversity monitoring is a key element of environmental and ecosystem protection planning and policy design. For a large number of animal species that produce ... Continue reading