Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

ECI is advancing our scientific understanding of ecosystems and their role in the Earth's system. Researchers are examining how ecosystems function and respond to contemporary environmental change, including climate change, biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and exploring the social, cultural and political impact of such interactions. Using this knowledge we can advise how best to manage and respond to the changes and help towards a sustainable future for our planet's biological heritage.


Ecosystems Lab

The Ecosystem Lab seeks to understand what makes contemporary ecosystems; and how they may be affected by direct human pressures and global atmospheric change. Led by Yadvinder Malhi.

Projects +

Ecosystems Governance Group

The Ecosystems Governance Group seeks to strengthen our understanding of how state and non-state institutions and actors shape decisions about the conservation and use of natural resources around the world. Led by Constance McDermott

Projects +

Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Climate Adaptation

The Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Climate Adaptation research group is at the forefront of mapping, assessing and valuing the effects of environmental change on species, ecosystems and the services they provide. Led by Pam Berry.

Projects +

Ecosystem news

11/05/21 11 May 2021 -
Image: ABC network
read more +
Biodiversity and art: Artist-in-residence Loveday Pride working with the Land use and governance team As part of the ABC Network science-artist collaboration, Loveday Pride has joined forces with the Land use governance team. Loveday is a Fine Art student at the Ruskin School in Oxford, and while she is primarily a painter, her work embraces many media. Her main muse is The Pug, whose round body and squidgy face takes on multitudinous forms, from fairy tale peas to Rococo icons.
17/03/21 17 March 2021 -
Image: Adobe Stock
read more +
Finding inspiration in your back garden - and from the past Yadvinder Malhi, Professor of Ecosystems Science, authors a new blog explaining how he found solace and refuge in local nature over this year of pandemic and lockdown. Read in full on the University's Science Blog.
01/02/21 1 February 2021 -
Image: Zhao jiankang / Adobe Stock
read more +
Getting the message right on nature-based solutions to climate change Nature-based solutions can play a key role in helping to tackle the climate and nature crises, while delivering other benefits for people, according to a new paper today from the Nature-based Solutions Initiative (NbSI) at the University of Oxford - but it is vital to get the message right about how to deliver successful NbS and avoid potential pitfalls.
31/12/20 22 January 2021 -
Adobe Stock - Woman carrying water in Uganda - Dennis
read more +
Why projects to adapt to climate change backfire Many internationally-funded projects aimed at combating the impacts of climate change can make things worse - by reinforcing, redistributing or creating new sources of vulnerability in developing countries, according to a review led by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and the University of Oxford. Dr Lisa Schipper, Environmental Social Scientist at the ECI, is one of the lead authors of the review.

Research outputs

Do animal extinctions make the planet less fertile?

Dr Chris Doughty explains his research and how important nutrients are recycled by large megafauna.

  • Jun 2015

Megafauna and Ecosystem Function: from the Pleistocene to the Anthropocene

Professor Yadvinder Malhi introduces our recent conference which examines the role that large animals (megafauna) play in ecosystem function in the context of past, present and future ecosystems.

  • March 2014

Latest publications

More publications


Doughty et al (2015) Drought impact on forest carbon dynamics and fluxes in Amazonia. Nature.

Ecosystem Programme staff

Dr Jesus Aguirre GutierrezDr Jesus Aguirre GutierrezNERC Research Fellow
 Jane Applegarth Jane ApplegarthAdministrative Assistant to the Ecosystems Programme and Director of ECI / Co-ordinator for Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests
Dr Aoife BennettDr Aoife BennettDepartmental Research Lecturer in Environmental Social Science
Dr Pam BerryDr Pam BerryEmeritus Research Fellow
 Claudia Cassidy Claudia CassidyProject Assistant to the Ecosystems Programme
Dr Martha CrockattDr Martha CrockattProgramme Manager in Community and Landowner Nature Recovery
Dr Robert DunfordDr Robert DunfordCollege Lecturer
Dr Cécile GirardinDr Cécile GirardinPost Doctoral Researcher and James Martin Fellow
 Trisha Gopalakrishna Trisha GopalakrishnaResearch Fellow
 Caitlin Hafferty Caitlin HaffertyPostdoctoral Researcher in Environmental Social Science
Dr Mark HironsDr Mark HironsSenior Researcher
Dr Curt LamberthDr Curt LamberthResearch Technician
Professor Yadvinder MalhiProfessor Yadvinder MalhiLeader, Ecosystems Research Programme
Professor of Ecosystem Science
Dr Constance McDermottDr Constance McDermottLeader, Land Use Governance Programme
Associate Professor and Jackson Senior Research Fellow in Land Use and Environmental Change
Dr Imma OliverasDr Imma OliverasSenior Researcher in Disturbance Ecology and Global Change
 Alison Smith Alison SmithResearcher
 Jed Soleiman Jed SoleimanResearch Assistant
 Stephen Thomas Stephen ThomasCentre Manager, Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery
Dr Bettina WittnebenDr Bettina WittnebenMSc Teaching Associate

Doctoral research

Changsoon Choi

Climate-smart green infrastructure

Supervisors: Dr Pam Berry; Alison Smith

Trisha Gopalakrishna

Forest Restoration in India: Opportunities and Realities

Supervisor: Prof. Yadvinder Malhi

Carolina Gueiros

Forest Governance in the Brazilian Amazon: Policy Change and Innovation to Curb Deforestation

Supervisors: Dr Tom Thornton; Dr Constance McDermott

Victoria Maguire-Rajpaul

Understanding West African cocoa smallholders' adaption to drought: assessing interactions between institutions, poverty and resilience

Supervisors: Prof. Yadvinder Malhi; Dr Constance McDermott; Dr Mark Hirons

Laura Picot

Food crops and the role of farmers' gender and intersectional identities in shaping climate resilience in Ghana

Supervisors: Prof. Yadvinder Malhi; Dr Constance McDermott

Pisca Tias

Empirical assessment of the interlinkages between forest ecosystem provisioning services and rural community resilience and adaptation to climate change

Supervisor: Dr Constance McDermott

Huanyuan Zhang

Calculate tropical NPP by upscaling empirical findings from plot-level forest inventory to a larger scale

Supervisors: Prof. Yadvinder Malhi; Dr Imma Oliveras; Professor Iain Colin Prentice (Imperial College London)