conservationist | geographer | innovator | educator | birder



I believe that conservation needs vision – imaginings of futures that we can collectively aspire to create. I work up visions that blend emerging trends in science, technology and society with a sense of confidence, innovation and hope.


I design solutions that are situated – solutions that emerge from an understanding of the cultural assets and political realties of a place interacting with cutting-edge insight from interdisciplinary conservation science.


I engage with current debates within in conservation – through my writing, teaching and convening, I aim to stimulate and support an open, constructive and forward-looking dialogue between the values, ideologies and interest groups that make up our dynamic conservation movement.

Areas of Focus


In 2005 I travelled to Holland with my students to visit rewilding sites and meet with the radical Dutch conservationist involved. I was blown away and have been teaching, debating and writing about rewilding ever since. i am now active in efforts to create the policy space for rewilding to act.

New Technologies Forces

I generate creative ideas and tools to explore the transformative potential of new technological forces for conservation science and practice. These range from radial thought pieces such as opti-hunting to e-decision support designed to strengthen the environmental governance of capital markets. Together which Richard Ladle I defined the new research field of Conservation Culturomics.

Protected Area Policy

Earlier in my a career I specialised in the early phases of a reserve establishment working in the UK, Indonesia and Indochina. I did my doctorate on protected area policy and maintain an active research and teaching interest. I am developing a new PA asset framework to restate the policy case for PA and contrasting my Asian experience with work in Brazil.

Science-Policy Communication

I enjoy science communication and between 2009-2014 led this component of an EU freshwater biodiversity project. We launched the successful freshwater blog, developed a cutting-edge knowledge hub and experimented with art-science videos. Recently I have been researching the public acceptability of tree-breeding solution to ash dieback Through such activities I engage with theory on the design of effective interfaces between science, policy and publics.

Education and Dialogue

I am committed to educating and empowering a new generation of conservation professionals. In my role as MSc course director I have developed and delivered syllabuses, workshops and fieldtrips that promote critical and innovative thinking at the interface of the natural and social science and theory and practice. I also convene one-off events and symposia on emerging or topical themes.

Governing Wildlife Trade

When I led the BirdLife Indonesia programme in the 1990s I came to understand the bird trade from the perspectives of western conservationists, government management agencies, local people and traders. I have worked with local stakeholders to develop culturally-attuned approaches to governing wildlife trade and I regularly contribute to debates in this highly politicized arena of conservation policy.

Speaking Engagements


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Wild meat: rewilding and hunting

This article was published in Geographical Magazine on 15 June 2017 The idea of rewilding boar into the UK’s landscapes is gaining plenty of traction, but if we truly want them back we’ll need to consider hunting them as well.   Cycling through the Forest of Dean, my daughter and I encountered a sign instructing

Shooting for the Earth: Malta opti-hunt 2025

In 2012 I was invited by Cerry Levy to visit Malta with a group of artists seeking to offer new thinking on the campaign to stop springtime hunting on Matla.  Below is my contribution – an imaginary article in published in online newspaper in 2025. It offers a vision of a future Europe where opti-hunting is

Living landscapes as new natural assets

Good morning all, and thanks for the invitation to present today. Gary asked me to present some thoughts on new paradigms for conservation. My aim is to do just this. I will argue that we need to seize the opportunity of Brexit to reframe how we think and talk about rural lands. Brexit is a


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Mobile computing, citizen science and conservation recording

In January 2011 I convened a symposium at Merton College to bring together UK researchers and conservation practitioners who were beginning to work with new technologies to enhance the impact and reach of their work. A summary of the symposium along with video of the presentations can be found here.

Paul in Action

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