Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Thomas Ovenden

Department / group: Biological & Environmental Sciences
Institution URL:

Research interests:

– Terrestrial ecosystem dynamics
– Ecophysiology
– Forest ecology
– Individual based modelling
– Natural resource management
– Biological conservation
– Extreme events in science and society

Career history:

Prior to entering academia I was employed as an intelligence analysist for a counter fraud team in the UK’s private sector. I also have a strong professional background working in conservation both in the New Zealand as a biosecurity ranger for their Department of Conservation and in Scotland working remotely as an island Ranger and as a Reserves Project Officer for the Scottish Wildlife Trust. I’ve also spent some time working as an Assistant Woodland Manager in the Scottish forestry sector.

Having never studied at Undergraduate level I was accepted directly onto a Masters course in Environmental Forestry at Bangor University based on the strength of my application and professional experience. I achieved a distinction in all modules including my dissertation, which I went on to publish in Biological Conservation. This research subsequently received national and international coverage in more than 13 media outlets. I also discussed this research on the STV news at 6pm, BBC Radio’s Out of Door’s programme and in BBC Wildlife Magazine and write for The Conversation about ecological research.

During my MSc I spent time in Ghana investigating the impact of logging on forest recovery in tropical forest reserve, however most of my MSc research focused on developing a rapid, inexpensive and effective individual based modelling approach to improve the success of conservation translocations and species reintroductions with a focus on the Eurasian lynx.

I’m currently studying for my PhD at the University of Stirling, investigating the impacts of extreme climatic events on forest ecosystems. This work incorporates ecophysiological, dendroecological and modelling approaches to quantify the impact of historic climate events and predict the impact of alternative climate change scenarios on key forest tree species and ecosystem dynamics.

Active research projects:

Subject area: My PhD is focused on assessing the resilience of UK forests to extreme climate events, predicting the future impact of such events under alternative climate change scenarios and understanding how forests ecosystem dynamics change in response to different extreme events.

Title description : Assessing the resilience of UK forests to extreme climate events

Recent publications:

Publications from my MSc:

Ovenden, T.S., Palmer, S.C.F., Travis, J.M.J., Healey, J.R., 2019. Improving reintroduction success in large carnivores through individual-based modelling: How to reintroduce Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) to Scotland. Biol. Conserv. 234, 140–153. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2019.03.035

Ovenden, T.S, 2019. The potential for lynx reintroduction to Scotland Innovative modelling provides robust scientific evidence to inform decision making. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.35390.84806

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