Michaelmas 2019

Hilary 2019

Mirjam Hazenbosch

DPhil Series: Sustainable Land Use for Papua New Guinea’s Smallholder Farmers

Monday 21st January (2nd week) – 19:15-20:30 – SPC Dorfman

Combining agricultural production with biodiversity conservation is one of the main challenges of the 21st century. As demand for the former increases, so do negative impacts on the latter. Agricultural intensification has yet to reach much of the developing world, yet once it does biodiversity must be protected. Hence, Papua New Guinea represents a perfect model system: 85% of its population currently depends on shifting agriculture and many of the farms are located in or close to the rainforest. Papua New Guinea’s tropical forest is the third largest area of rainforest remaining worldwide and hosts 5-10% of the world’s biodiversity. Already, subsistence agriculture is already a major driver of deforestation and, with increasing population, such pressure looks only to increase. Mirjam’s research looks to understand how land in Papua New Guinea can best be managed to produce the food required by its growing population, while at the same time conserving biodiversity.


Derek Gow

Rewilding the UK Amidst a Biodiversity Crisis

Thursday 7th February (4th week) – 19:15-20:30 – Department of Plant Sciences

Much of Britain’s wildlife which remains is dislocated and dispersed. Keystone species are missing and in the wider landscape the destruction of habitats and the species they contain generally continues undiminished. This talk will consider how the restoration of lost and the recovery of existing species can be achieved.

Derek is a prominent figure in the UK’s rewilding movement. He pioneered the captive breeding and reintroduction of water voles almost 20 years ago and has been a key player in the return of beavers to Britain. Derek co-authored The Eurasian Beaver (2015), and is recognised for his outspoken encouragement of young people’s involvement in conservation. Currently, Derek is working on projects to reinstate white storks to our countryside. Please note the change of venue to the Department of Plant Sciences.


Bob Cowley

Tracking and Signs Event

Saturday 16th February – 13:00-16:00 – Jesus College

Bob Cowley of the Oxon Mammal Society will give a Track and Sign workshop for the Oxford Nature Conservation Society. The first half of the event will involve a lesson on how to recognise tracks and other signs of animals in the field. Bob will be bringing objects to show us, including skulls of animals that can be found in the Oxford area. After the talk we will be going to the University Park to try our hand at tracking in the field with Bob demonstrating. The whole event will last three hours. More details to follow.


Dr Hilary Allison

2020 vision: can science and policy deliver a new global deal for nature?

Tuesday 26th February (7th week) – 19:15 – 20:30 – SPC Dorfman

Biodiversity conservation must bridge the science-policy frontier. Current global declines in biodiversity are well recognised. Research here must inform conservation policy.

To this end, 2019 and 2020 promise to be exciting. Next year, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) publish their sixth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6). In 2020, biodiversity conservation goals established under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 will be reviewed. The outcomes of these global ecosystem assessments are critical to the future of our natural world.

Dr Hilary Allison is head of the Ecosystem Assessment and Policy Support Programme at the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). Having graduated from Hertford, Hilary then obtained a PhD from Cambridge in coastal salt marsh evolution. Hilary has worked as Director of Policy at the Woodland Trust for 17 years and has participated in several government-led processes on forest and tree health policy, as well as leading advocacy work to enhance policy on woodland conservation. She is a former chair of Wildlife and Countryside Link, and also worked briefly for the National Trust and the Nature Conservancy Council. Now, Hilary is heavily involved with the GEO-6, and is uniquely placed to discuss global strategy in conservation politics.