Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Alison Smith


Research Groups

Alison Smith



Alison Smith is a Senior Research Associate at the Environmental Change Institute. She is interested in using interdisciplinary research to find and promote solutions that tackle multiple environmental, economic and social problems. Her current work focuses mainly on natural capital, ecosystem services, green infrastructure, nature-based solutions and the multiple benefits of climate adaptation and mitigation actions.

Alison tested a variety of tools for mapping and assessing the value of urban green infrastructure as part of a NERC Green Infrastructure Innovation project, Tools for planning and assessing green infrastructure: Bicester and beyond. She also worked with the Ecosystems Knowledge Network to develop their Tool Assessor service, which synthesises knowledge on analytical tools for assessing ecosystem services.

As part of the European Commission's OPENNESS project, Alison carried out a major review of the links between natural capital attributes and ecosystem services, and worked with stakeholders in Essex and Warwickshire to explore methods for mapping ecosystem services, including hard-to-measure cultural services such as aesthetic value, recreation and a 'sense of place'. On the European Commission's IMPRESSIONS project, she explored the potential for integrated climate mitigation and adaptation pathways to tackle high levels of climate change. She is currently working with stakeholders in Oxfordshire and the wider Oxford-Cambridge growth arc to produce natural capital maps to inform strategic planning. She is also leading development of the eco-metric decision-support tool, for Natural England, which aims to help improve the design and outcomes of development by indicating relative changes in provision of 18 ecosystem services.

Prior to joining the ECI, Alison worked for 15 years as a senior environmental consultant, specializing in climate change, transport, energy and waste management policy. She then became a freelance consultant and writer, and is author of The Climate Bonus: co-benefits of climate policy. This book explores the additional benefits that society can gain through tackling climate change, including cleaner air, forest protection, a more resource-efficient economy and healthier lifestyles.


  • Dunford, R., Harrison, P., Smith, A., Dick, J., Barton, D.N., Martin-Lopez, B., Keleman, E., Jacobs, S., Saarikoski, H., Tukelboom, F., Verheyden, W., Hack, J., Antunes, P., Aszalos, R., Badea, O., Baro, F., Berry, P., Carvalho, L., Conte, G., Czucz, B., Blanco, G.G., Howard, D., Giuca, R., Gomez-Baggetun, E., Grizetti, B., Izakovicova, Z., Kopperoinen, L., Langemeyer, J., Luque, S., Lapola, D.M., Martinez-Pastur, G., Mukhopadhyay, R., Roy, S.B., Niemela, J., Norton, L., Ochieng, J., Odee, D., Palomo, I., Pinho, P., Priess, J., Rusch, G., Saarela, S., Santos, R., van der Wal, J.T., Vadineanu, A., Vari, A., Woods, H., Yli-Pelkonen, V. (2017) Integrating methods for ecosystem service assessment: Experiences from real world situations. Ecosystem Services.
  • Smith, A.C., Harrison, P.A., Pérez Soba, M., Archaux, F., Blicharska, M., Egoh, B.N., Eros, T., Fabrega Domenech, N., György, A.I., Haines-Young, R., Li, S., Lommelen, E., Meiresonne, L., Miguel Ayala, L., Mononen, L., Simpson, G., Stange, E., Turkelboom, F., Uiterwijk, M., Veerkamp, C.J. and Wyllie de Echeverria, V. (2017) How natural capital delivers ecosystem services: A typology derived from a systematic review. Ecosystem Services, 26: 111-126.