I am the Conservation Biologist for the EDGE of existence programme at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Our work prioritises the conservation of Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species. I mentor and advise the current terrestrial EDGE Fellows, teach on the EDGE Tools/Leadership courses and help to develop and manage our larger-scale EDGE projects. I also assist with the scientific research underpinning how EDGE identifies conservation priorities.
I was previously a Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Ecology and Conservation at the University of Sussex, working with Jörn Scharlemann. As part of the PREDICTS project, I used the newly available, taxonomically comprehensive global database to quantify the difference in biodiversity inside and outside protected areas across the world. I also continued to carry out research on the sustainable management of oil palm plantations.
I completed my PhD at the Department of Zoology, Oxford University (UK) in 2014. My PhD research focused on oil palm plantations in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. In these plantations, forest next to rivers is protected because it has a beneficial impact on water quality: the run-off of agricultural chemicals and soil into rivers is reduced where forest is present on the river bank. These thin corridors of forest are often heavily degraded, but my research has shown that these forested river banks (called riparian reserves) are a valuable habitat for native species that cannot otherwise survive in oil palm areas.
I also assessed whether increasing the reserve width and habitat complexity of riparian reserves can increase the biodiversity they support, to make recommendations for national policy and global sustainability guidelines (e.g. Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil, RSPO). The third main component of my PhD was to assess whether the riparian reserves enhance natural pest control in the surrounding plantation.
My PhD research was supervised by Prof. Owen Lewis and was based within the Stability of Altered Forest Landscapes (S.A.F.E) project area. My work was also part of the Biodiversity Beyond Protected Areas research theme within the Oxford Biodiversity Institute; further details of this can be found here.
I started working on oil palm landscapes during my MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management (School of Geography, Oxford University) (2009 – 2010). For my MSc research, I assessed the role that large forest reserves play in providing natural pest control services to oil palm plantations.
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