Sophus is an ecological economist working on topics broadly related to biodiversity finance, UK environmental policy, biodiversity compensation (e.g. biodiversity offsetting, Biodiversity Net Gain), infrastructure sustainability, nature-positive organisations, and postgrowth economics. A key focus of his current work is on learning lessons from shortcomings in past nature markets to understand how to design nature markets in a way that satisfies both ecological and financial objectives. Examples of his recent research projects include evaluating the outcomes of biodiversity compensation systems in the UK and abroad, exploring the sustainability dimensions of the UK housing affordability crisis and charting policy pathways to achieving “a home for all within planetary boundaries”, and evaluating the species threatened globally by society’s growing demand for sand and construction minerals.
I am an entomologist, community ecologist and conservation biologist studying the processes that maintain, structure and threaten biodiversity in a range of terrestrial ecosystems. Areas of current research areas include approaches to reconcile human land-use with biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in the UK and in the tropics; the structure and dynamics of insect food webs and their responses to perturbations; the role of plant pathogens and insect herbivores in structuring and maintaining the high diversity of rainforest plants; and the impact of climate change on interspecific interactions and associated ecosystem functions and services. For further information, please visit the Community Ecology research group web pages.
My research is focused on the use of fossils and modern datasets, models and innovative technologies to determine the diversity, distribution and abundance of plants and animals across global landscapes in space and time. This evidence-base is then used to understand biodiversity baselines, the resilience of biological communities to external shocks, the relationship between biodiversity and human health, and the distribution of natural capital assets across global landscapes that are important for human well-being.
I am a plant ecologist and I’m mainly interested in how and why plant species are so different to each other. Why did these differences evolve and what are the consequences for ecosystems? For example, plants produce seeds of many different sizes: the coco de Mer (a palm tree native to the Seychelles) can kill you if a seed happens to fall off while you’re standing underneath the tree! In contrast, orchids seeds are so small and poorly provisioned that they can’t even germinate without the help of mycorrhizal fungi. Why this diversity exists and how it persists are the key questions that drive my research.
I am a community ecologist interested in biodiversity loss and its consequences for the stability and functioning of ecosystems and the provision of ecological services. I currently work mainly in grassland and forest ecosystems. I am scientific leader of the Sabah Biodiversity Experiment in Borneo where we examine the impact of enrichment planting on forest regeneration after logging. I am part of the new NERC thematic programme: Human-modified tropical forests, which includes the SAFE project that investigates the effects of forest fragmentation on biodiversity. On the grassland side I am part of the Nutrient Network, a global co-operative program to understand how nitrogen enrichment impacts biodiversity in grasslands. I also have a sideline in ecological statistical analysis.
My research focusses on understanding biodiversity outcomes of nature-based solutions. I am particularly interested in exploring the impact of nature-based solutions interventions experimentally and in developing monitoring approaches to capture biodiversity responses within nature-based solutions projects. I am developing a framework for monitoring biodiversity in nature-based solutions projects as part of an Agile Initiative sprint on scaling up nature-based solutions in the UK.
I am also exploring biodiversity and ecosystem function outcomes of woodland creation using an established experiment at The Carbon Community in Wales and by co-designing woodland creation experiments with the Wychwood Forest Trust in Oxfordshire and Highlands Rewilding in Scotland. This research focuses on understanding linked above- and below-ground biodiversity responses to tree establishment, and consequences for ecosystem function, with different woodland creation methods. Please visit my Google Scholar for my publications.
The overall objective of my research is to identify optimal management of environmental resources to maximise conservation and human welfare outcomes. In particular, my science is focused on improving our understanding of the dynamics of social-ecological systems, particularly marine systems. My research combines demographic and bio-economic modelling, non-market valuation and optimisation approaches. My topical interests include human-wildlife conflict, assessing marine use and non-use values, and spatial marine management.
My current research focuses on addressing the social disconnect in the Treasury Green Book’s guidance for best practice under Biodiversity Net Gain. I am engaging with local stakeholders to understand the importance of natural spaces to their place-based wellbeing and the impact of housing developments and offsetting projects on the fair distribution of the cultural services that natural capital and biodiversity provide. Development and offsetting projects can affect local access to these benefits by relocating biodiversity away from the local people and disturbing the cultural, social and emotional experiences therein. It is, therefore, imperative that developers understand full scope of these consequences when implementing offsets under Biodiversity Net Gain.
I am interested in the scientific underpinning of practical and policy solutions to problems in wildlife conservation. Although my background is in the behavioural ecology of mammals, my research currently spans taxa ranging from mammals to moths, and is inter-disciplinary (including teams involving environmental economics and the social sciences). Much of my research is stimulated by conflict between people and wildlife, whether it be through predation, infectious disease or invasive species.