Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Professor Yadvinder Malhi


Research Groups


Professor Yadvinder Malhi

Professor of Ecosystem Science
Leader, ECI Ecosystems Programme
Jackson Senior Research Fellow at Oriel College, Oxford

As Professor of Ecosystem Science at the School of Geography and the Environment and Programme Leader of the Ecosystems Dynamics Laboratory at the Environmental Change Institute, and co-ordinatotor of the Biodiversity and Conservation Research Cluster in the School of Geography and the Environment, Yadvinder’s research interests focus on understanding the functioning of ecosystems and how it is altered by processes of local and global change. He has in particular interest in tropical forests.

Research Interests

The broad scope of his research interests is on the impact of global change processes such as atmospheric change and direct human modification on the ecology, structure and composition of terrestrial ecosystems, and in particular temperate and tropical forests. This research addresses fundamental questions about ecosystem function, diversity and dynamics, whilst at the same time providing outputs of direct relevance for conservation and adaptation to climate change. His group applies a range of techniques including field physiological studies, intensive and long-term ecological monitoring, quantitative and qualitative social science methodologies, satellite remote-sensing and GIS, ecosystem modelling, and micrometeorological techniques. He coordinates an extensive and expanding research programme in Asia, Africa and particularly across the Amazon and Andes region. He also runs an active research programme at Oxford University’s Wytham Woods research site. He was co-founder of the Amazon Forest Inventory Network (RAINFOR) which has resulted in over 50 publications. In recent years he has developed an international research network (GEM) collecting data on ecosystem function in a number of research sites across the tropics.

Yadvinder leads an active expanding Ecosystems Laboratory, which currently hosts 16 postdoctoral researchers and research fellows, three support staff and and 14 DPhil and MPhil researchers. His group welcomes researchers and students from a range of disciplines to examine the many-faceted challenges facing the biosphere today

Recent Publications

  • Aguirre-Gutiérrez, J., Rifai, S., Shenkin, A., Oliveras, I., Bentley, L.P., Svátek, M., Girardin, C.A.J., Both, S., Riutta, T., Berenguer, E., Kissling, W.D., Bauman, D., Raab, N., Moore, S., Farfan-Rios, W., Figueiredo, A.E.S., Reis, S.M., Ndong, J.E., Ondo, F.E., N'Ssi Bengone, N., Mihindou, V., Moraes de Seixas, M.M., Adu-Bredu, S., Abernethy, K., Asner, G.P., Barlow, J., Burslem, D.F.R.P., Coomes, D.A., Cernusak, L.A., Dargie, G.C., Enquist, B.J., Ewers, R.M., Ferreira, J., Jeffery, K.J., Joly, C.A., Lewis, S.L., Marimon-Junior, B.H., Martin, R.E., Morandi, P.S., Phillips, O.L., Quesada, C.A., Salinas, N., Schwantes Marimon, B., Silman, M., Teh, Y.A., White, L.J.T. and Malhi, Y. (2021) Pantropical modelling of canopy functional traits using Sentinel-2 remote sensing data. Remote Sensing of Environment, 252. 112122.
  • Thomson, E.R., Spiegel, M.P., Althuizen, I.H.J., Bass, P., Chen, S., Chmurzynski, A., Halbritter, A.H., Henn, J.J., Jónsdóttir, I.S., Klanderud, K., Li, Y., Maitner, B.S., Michaletz, S.T., Niittynen, P., Roos, R.E., Telford, R.J., Enquist, B.J., Vandvik, V., Macias-Fauria, M. and Malhi, Y. (2021) Multiscale mapping of plant functional groups and plant traits in the High Arctic using field spectroscopy, UAV imagery and Sentinel-2A data. Environmental Research Letters, 16(5). 055006.
  • Anderson, L.O., Malhi, Y., Ladle, R.J., Aragao, L., Shimabukuro, Y., Phillips, O.L., Baker, T., Costa, A.C.L., Espejo, J.S., Higuchi, N., Laurance, W.F., Lopez-Gonzalez, G., Monteagudo, A., Nunez-Vargas, P., Peacock, J., Quesada, C.A. and Almeida, S. (2009) Influence of landscape heterogeneity on spatial patterns of wood productivity, wood specific density and above ground biomass in Amazonia. Biogeosciences, 6: 1883-1902.
  • Aragao, L., Malhi, Y., Metcalfe, D.B., Silva-Espejo, J.E., Jimenez, E., Navarrete, D., Almeida, S., Costa, A.C.L., Salinas, N. and Phillips, O.L. (2009) Above-and below-ground net primary productivity across ten Amazonian forests on contrasting soils. Biogeosciences, 6: 2759-2778.
  • Baker, T.R., Phillips, O.L., Laurance, W.F., Pitman, N.C.A., Almeida, S., Arroyo, L., DiFiore, A., Erwin, T., Higuchi, N., Killeen, T.J., Laurance, S.G., Nascimento, H., Monteagudo, A., Neill, D.A., Silva, J.N.M., Malhi, Y., Gonzalez, G.L., Peacock, J., Quesada, C.A., Lewis, S.L. and Lloyd, J. (2009) Do species traits determine patterns of wood production in Amazonian forests? Biogeosciences, 6: 297-307.
  • Butt, N., Campbell, G., Malhi, Y., Morecroft, M., Fenn, K. and Thomas, M. (2009) Initial Results from Establishment of a Long-term Broadleaf Monitoring Plot at Wytham Woods, Oxford, UK. University of Oxford
  • Butt, N., New, M., Lizcano, G. and Malhi, Y. (2009) Spatial patterns and recent trends in cloud fraction and cloud-related diffuse radiation in Amazonia. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 114(D21104).
  • Fisher, J.B., Malhi, Y., Bonal, D., Da Rocha, H.R., De Araujo, A.C., Gamo, M., Goulden, M.L., Hirano, T., Huete, A.R., Kondo, H., Kumagai, T., Loescher, H.W., Miller, S., Nobre, A.D., Nouvellon, Y., Oberbauer, S.F., Panuthai, S., Roupsard, O., Saleska, S., Tanaka, K., Tanaka, N., Tu, K.P. and Von Randow, C. (2009) The land-atmosphere water flux in the tropics. Global Change Biology, 15(11): 2694-2714.
  • Fyllas, N.M., Patino, S., Baker, T.R., Nardoto, G.B., Martinelli, L.A., Quesada, C.A., Paiva, R., Schwarz, M., Horna, V., Mercado, L.M., Santos, A., Arroyo, L., Jimenez, E.M., Luizao, F.J., Neill, D.A., Silva, N., Prieto, A., Rudas, A., Silviera, M., Vieira, I.C.G., Lopez-Gonzalez, G., Malhi, Y., Phillips, O.L. and Lloyd, J. (2009) Basin-wide variations in foliar properties of Amazonian forest: phylogeny, soils and climate. Biogeosciences, 6: 3707-3769.
  • Gloor, M., Phillips, O.L., Lloyd, J.J., Lewis, S.L., Malhi, Y., Baker, T.R., López-Gonzalez, G., Peacock, J., Almeida, S., Alves de Oliveira, A.C., Alvarez, E., Amaral, I., Arroyo, L., Aymard, G., Bank, O., Blanc, L., Bonal, D., Brando, P., Chao, K-J., Chave, J., Dávila, N., Erwin, T., Silva, J., di Fiore, A., Feldpausch, T.R., Freitas, A., Herrera, R., Higuchi, N., Honorio, E., Jiménez, E., Killeen, T., Laurance, W., Mendoza, C., Monteagudo, A., Andrade, A., Neil, D., Nepstad, D., Núñez Vargas, P., Peñuela, M.C., Peña Cruz, A., Prieto, A., Pitman, N., Quesada, C., Salomão, R., Silveira, M., Schwarz, M., Stropp, J., Ramírez, F., Ramírez, H., Rudas, A., Ter Steege, H., Silva, N., Torres, A., Terborgh, J., Vásquez, R. and Van der Heijden, G. (2009) Does the disturbance hypothesis explain the biomass increase in basin-wide Amazon forest plot data? Global Change Biology, 15(10): 2418-2430.
  • Lewis, S.L., Lopez-Gonzalez, G., Sonke, B., Affum-Baffoe, K., Baker, T.R., Ojo, L.O., Phillips, O.L., Reitsma, J.M., White, L., Comiskey, J.A., Djuikouo, M.N., Ewango, C.E.N., Feldpausch, T.R., Hamilton, A.C., Gloor, M., Hart, T., Hladik, A., Lloyd, J., Lovett, J.C., Makana, J.R., Malhi, Y., Mbago, F.M., Ndangalasi, H.J., Peacock, J., Peh, K.S.H., Sheil, D., Sunderland, T., Swaine, M.D., Taplin, J., Taylor, D., Thomas, S.C., Votere, R. and Woll, H. (2009) Increasing carbon storage in intact African forests. Nature, 457: 1003-1006.
  • Malhado, A.C.M., Malhi, Y., Whittaker, R.J., Ladle, R.J., ter Steege, H., Phillips, O.L., Butt, N., Aragao, L., Quesada, C.A., Araújo-Murakami, A., Arroyo, L., Peacock, J., López-González, G.T., Baker, R., Anderson, L.O., Almeida, S., Higuchi, N., Killeen, T.J., Monteagudo, A., Neill, D., Pitman, N., Prieto, A., Salomão, R.P., Vásquez-Martínez, R. and Laurance, W.F. (2009) Spatial trends in leaf size of Amazonian rainforest trees. Biogeosciences, 6: 1563-1576.
  • Malhado, A.C.M., Whittaker, R.J., Malhi, Y., Ladle, R.J., ter Steege, H., Butt, N., Aragao, L., Quesada, C.A., Murakami-Araújo, A., Phillips, O.L., Peacock, J., López-González, G., Baker, T.R., Anderson, L.O., Arroyo, L., Almeida, S., Higuchi, N., Killeen, T.J., Monteagudo, A., Neill, D.A., Pitman, N.C.A., Prieto, A., Salamão, R.P., Vásquez-Martínez, R., Laurance, W.F. and Ramírez, A.H. (2009) Spatial distribution and functional significance of leaf lamina shape in Amazonian forest trees. Biogeosciences, 6: 1577-1590.
  • Malhi, Y., Aragao, L., Galbraith, D., Huntingford, C., Fisher, R., Zelazowski, P., Sitch, S., McSweeney, C. and Meir, P. (2009) Exploring the likelihood and mechanism of a climate-change-induced dieback of the Amazon rainforest. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(49): 20610-20615.
  • Malhi, Y., Aragao, L., Metcalfe, D.B., Paiva, R., Quesada, C.A., Almeida, S., Anderson, L., Brando, P., Chambers, J.Q., da Costa, A.C.L., Hutyra, L.R., Oliveira, P., Patino, S., Pyle, E.H., Robertson, A.L. and Teixeira, L.M. (2009) Comprehensive assessment of carbon productivity, allocation and storage in three Amazonian forests. Global Change Biology, 15(5): 1255-1274.
  • Malhi, Y., Saatchi, S., Girardin, C.A.J. and Aragao, L. (2009) The production, storage and flow of carbon in Amazonian forests. In, Keller, M., Bustamante, M., Gash, J. and P. Silva Dias (eds.) Amazonia and Global Change. American Geophysical Union. 576 pp. ISBN: 978-0-87590-476-4. Geophysical Monograph Series, Vol. 186.
  • Metcalfe, D.B., Meir, P., Aragao, L.E.O.C., da Costa, A.C.L., Braga, A.P., Goncalves, P.H.L., Silva, J.D., de Almeida, S.S., Dawson, L.A., Malhi, Y. and Williams, M. (2009) The effects of water availability on root growth and morphology in an Amazon rainforest. Plant and Soil, 311(1-2): 189-199.
  • Patiño, S., Lloyd, J., Paiva, R., Baker, T.R., Quesada, C.A., Mercado, L.M., Schmerler, J., Schwarz, M., Santos, A.J.B., Aguilar, A., Czimczik, C.I., Gallo, J., Horna, V., Hoyos, E.J., Jimenez, E.M., Palomino, W., Peacock, J., Pena-Cruz, A., Sarmiento, C., Sota, A., Turriago, J.D., Villanueva, B., Vitzthum, P., Alvarez, E., Arroyo, L., Baraloto, C., Bonal, D., Chave, J., Costa, A.C.L., Herrera, R., Higuchi, N., Killeen, T., Leal, E., Luizao, F., Meir, P., Monteagudo, A., Neil, D., Nunez-Vargas, P., Penuela, M.C., Pitman, N., Priante, N., Prieto, A., Panfil, S.N., Rudas, A., Salomao, R., Silva, N., Silveira, M., de Almeida, S.S., Torres-Lezama, A., Vasquez-Martinez, R., Vieira, I., Malhi, Y. and Phillips, O.L. (2009) Branch xylem density variations across the Amazon Basin. Biogeosciences, 6: 545-568.
  • Phillips, O.L., Aragao, L., Lewis, S.L., Fisher, J.B., Lloyd, J., López-González, G., Malhi, Y., Monteagudo, A., Peacock, J., Quesada, C.A., van der Heijden, G., Almeida, S., Amaral, I., Arroyo, L., Aymard, G., Baker, T.R., Bánki, O., Blanc, L., Bonal, D., Brando, P., Chave, J., Alves de Oliveira, A.C., Dávila Cardozo, N., Czimczik, C.I., Feldpausch, T.R., Freitas, M.A., Gloor, E., Higuchi, N., Jiménez, E., Lloyd, G., Meir, P., Mendoza, C., Morel, A., Neill, D.A., Nepstad, D., Patiño, S., Peñuela, M.C., Prieto, A., Ramírez, F., Schwarz, M., Silva, J., Silveira, M., Thomas, A.S., ter Steege, H., Stropp, J., Vásquez, R., Zelazowski, P., Dávila, E.A., Andelman, S., Andrade, A., Chao, K-J., Erwin, T., Di Fiore, A., Honorio, C.E., Keeling, H., Killeen, T.J., Laurance, W.F., Cruz, A.P., Pitman, N.C.A., Núñez Vargas, P., Ramírez-Angulo, H., Rudas, A., Salamão, R., Silva, N., Terborgh, J. and Torres-Lezama, A. (2009) Drought sensitivity of the Amazon rainforest. Science, 323(5919 ): 1344-1347.
  • Vinya, R., Malhi, Y. and Brown, N. (2009) Xylem vulnerability to cavitation for ten miombo canopy tree species with varying habitat preference. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, 153(2, Supplem): 213.
  • Zimmermann, M., Meir, P., Bird, M.I., Malhi, Y. and Ccahuana, A.J.Q. (2009) Climate dependence of heterotrophic soil respiration from a soil-translocation experiment along a 3000m tropical forest altitudinal gradient. European Journal of Soil Science, 60(6): 895-906.
  • Zimmermann, M., Meir, P., Bird, M.I., Malhi, Y. and Ccahuana, A.J.Q. (2009) Litter contribution to diurnal and annual soil respiration in a tropical montane cloud forest. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 41(6): 1338-1340.
  • Aragao, L.E.O.C., Malhi, Y., Barbier, N., Lima, A., Shimabukuro, Y., Anderson, L. and Saatchi, S. (2008) Interactions between rainfall, deforestation and fires during recent years in the Brazilian Amazonia. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 363(1498): 1779-1786.
  • Betts, R.A., Malhi, Y. and Roberts, J.T. (2008) The future of the Amazon: new perspectives from climate, ecosystem and social sciences. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 363(1498): 1729-1735.
  • Butt, N., Malhi, Y., Phillips, O.L. and New, M. (2008) Floristic and functional affiliations of woody plants with climate in western Amazonia. Journal of Biogeography, 35(5): 939-950.
  • Huntingford, C., Fisher, R.A., Mercado, L., Booth, B.B.B., Sitch, S., Harris, P.P., Cox, P.M., Jones, C.D., Betts, R.A. and Malhi, Y. (2008) Towards quantifying uncertainty in predictions of Amazon dieback. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 363(1498): 1857-1864.
  • Malhi, Y. and Roman Cuesta, R.M. (2008) Analysis of lacunarity and scales of spatial homogeneity in IKONOS images of Amazonian tropical forest canopies. Remote Sensing of Environment, 112(5): 2074-2087.
  • Malhi, Y., Roberts, J.T. and Betts, R.A. (2008) Climate change and the fate of the Amazon. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B: Biological Sciences, 363(1498): 1727-1932. Thematic Issue.
  • Malhi, Y., Roberts, J.T., Betts, R.A., Killeen, T.J., Li, W. and Nobre, C.A. (2008) Climate change, deforestation and the fate of the Amazon. Science, 319(5860): 169-172.
  • Malhi, Y., Saatchi, S., Girardin, C.A.J. and Aragao, L.E.O.C. (2008) Carbon Storage and Flow in Amazonian Forests. Proceedings of the Large-Scale Atmosphere Biosphere.
  • Metcalfe, D., Meir, P., Aragao, L.E.O.C., Da Costa, A., Almeida, S., Braga, A., Goncalves, P., Athaydes, J., Malhi, Y. and Williams, M. (2008) Sample sizes for estimating key ecosystem characteristics in a tropical terra firme rainforest. Forest Ecology and Management, 255(3-4): 558-566.
  • Aragao, L., Malhi, Y., Roman Cuesta, R.M., Saatchi, S., Anderson, L.O. and Shimabukuro, Y.E. (2007) Spatial patterns and fire response of recent Amazonian droughts. Geophysical Research Letters, 34(5).
  • Fisher, R.A., Williams, M., da Costa, A., Malhi, Y., Da Costa, R.F., Almeida, S. and Meir, P. (2007) The response of an Eastern Amazonian rain forest to drought stress: results and modelling analyses from a throughfall exclusion experiment. Global Change Biology, 13(11): 2361-2378.
  • Luyssaert, S., Inglima, I., Jung, M., Richardson, A.D., Reichstein, M., Papale, D., Piao, S.L., Shulze, E.D., Wingate, L., Matteucci, G. and Malhi, Y. (2007) CO2 balance of boreal, temperate and tropical forests derived from a global database. Global Change Biology, 13(12): 2509-2537.
  • Malhi, Y. (2007) Carbon in the Atmosphere and Terrestrial Biosphere in the Early Anthropocene. Advances in earth science: from earthquakes to global warming, 2.
  • Metcalfe, D.B., Meir, P., Aragao, L.E.O.C., Malhi, Y., da Costa, A.C.L., Braga, A., Goncalves, P.H.L., de Athaydes, J., de Almeida, S.S. and Williams, M. (2007) Factors controlling spatio-temporal variation in carbon dioxide efflux from surface litter, roots and soil organic matter at four rain forest sites in the eastern Amazon. . pp. 9.
  • Metcalfe, D.B., Williams, M., Aragao, L., Da Costa, A.C.L., De Almeida, S.S., Braga, A.P., Goncalves, P.H.L., De Athaydes, J., Junior, S. and Malhi, Y. (2007) A method for extracting plant roots from soil which facilitates rapid sample processing without compromising measurement accuracy. New Phytologist, 174(3): 697-703.
  • Parmentier, I., Malhi, Y., Senterre, B., Whittaker, R.J., Alonso, A., Balinga, M.P.B., Bakayoko, A., Bongers, F., Chatelain, C. and Comiskey, J.A. (2007) The odd man out? Might climate explain the lower tree $alpha$-diversity of African rain forests relative to Amazonian rain forests? Journal of Ecology, 95(5): 1058-1071.
  • Iwata, H., Malhi, Y. and von Randow, C. (2005) Gap-filling measurements of carbon dioxide storage in tropical rainforest canopy airspace. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 132(3): 305-314.
  • Pegoraro, E., Rey, A., Barron-Gafford, G., Monson, R., Malhi, Y. and Murthy, R. (2005) The interacting effects of elevated atmospheric CO 2 concentration, drought and leaf-to-air vapour pressure deficit on ecosystem isoprene fluxes. Oecologia, 146(1): 120-129.