Merlin Sheldrake

Merlin Sheldrake is a biologist, writer, and speaker with a background in plant sciences, microbiology, ecology, and the history and philosophy of science. He received a Ph.D. in tropical ecology from Cambridge University for his work on underground fungal networks in tropical forests in Panama, where he was a predoctoral research fellow of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. He is a research associate of the Vrije University Amsterdam, works with the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN), and sits on the advisory board of the Fungi Foundation.

Nicola Ranger



Nicola works with financial institutions, governments and business to help integrate environmental risks into decision making and align finance and policy with the transition to a resilient, net-zero and nature-positive economy. She is Director, Greening Finance for Nature for the UKRI Integrating Finance and Biodiversity Programme and Director of the Resilience Planet Finance Lab. Nicola’s background combines complex systems modelling, public policy, international development, environmental economics and finance. Her academic work is centred on data, analytics and decision making and she works across the world, from the City of London to Ghana. For the Leverhulme Centre for nature Recovery, Nicola leads work on mobilising finance for nature in Kenya.

Aoife Bennett

Dr Aoife Bennett is Departmental Research Lecturer in the Environmental Social Sciences at ECI, SoGE. She is an interdisciplinary environmental research scientist  with expertise in the social sciences, a strong background in Political Ecology and a focus on the socio-political and environmental challenges and opportunities – particularly in Latin America and the Amazon. Her research involves a large amount of multi-methods field-based research, and always includes the most marginalized members of society as active members of her research. She is particularly interested in decolonizing research techniques and activities and working together on breaking down the North/South divide therein.

Aoife is an active member of the global social and environmental community within and outside of academia. She sits as Fellow to the Biodiversity Council at the World Economic Forum (where Aoife created the World Economic Strategic Intelligence Map for Biodiversity, Trustee for the charity Action for Conservation, as an author on the Science Panel for the Amazon (including in the Amazon Assessment Report), and as Advisor to a small indigenous charity that promotes cultural preservation in the Peruvian Amazon.

Aoife is a passionate researcher that likes to be involved in the lives of the people in the places where she works and as such is something of an activist academic she also engages in philanthropy and meaningful local capacity building and mutual aid.

Mattia Troiano

Mattia aims to broaden the analysis of mainstream conservation initiatives from a socio-ecological perspective by looking at the feasibility of a more ecologically-informed and socio-economic just climate governance. He has always been passionate about social justice and great care for the environment with a particular focus on the Political Economy of the Environment as key exploration area in his undergrad experience.

In his MPhil studies, he’s been looking at the potential of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in stimulating community-led conservation practices. His MPhil research area focuses on community-grounded aesthetic sensibilities of nature recovery in accessible urban green spaces aiming at creating spaces for local ownership of common green spaces by directly enquiring residents, and supporting a planning of accessible green spaces in Oxford which is more equitable and responsive to the needs and values of communities inhabiting those spaces.

Flurina Wartmann

Flurina Wartmann is a social environmental geographer who focuses on human-nature relationships, with a particular interest on cultural landscape values and people-place relations. She uses digital media, public surveys, and participatory research methods, such as participatory mapping and GIS, to explore society-nature relations.

At the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery, Flurina works on exploring the landscape aesthetics of nature recovery in the UK. This research will contribute to understand how perceptions about what the landscape ought to look like enable and constrain nature recovery.

Kay Jenkinson

Kay leads the knowledge exchange work of the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery.  She will be assisting researchers to develop strong links with stakeholders to enable greater impact for their research.

Cecilia Dahlsjo

Cecilia is a senior researcher with a passion for ecosystem functioning and a particular fondness for things that crawl and creep. She manages and coordinates the ecological work for the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery (LCNR) around Oxfordshire where she is developing a gradient of grazing intensity for studies on the effectiveness of regenerative farming. Cecilia is involved with research coordination across the Wytham Green Estate where she in the process of establishing a network of baseline data that can be utilised by a wide range of research projects. She also runs a NERC funded project on the ecological and multitrophic impact of ash dieback in Wytham Woods as well as a master’s elective on Nature Recovery that aims to introduce the students to the complexities of nature recovery and the ongoing work at the LCNR.

Huanyuan Zhang-Zheng

Huanyuan has special interest in applying mathematical modelling and remote sensing technique in studying the terrestrial carbon cycle. Before coming to Oxford, Huanyuan completed a dual-Bachelor Degree in Environmental science, University of Birmingham and Sun Yat-sen University. an MRes on Ecosystem and Environmental change, Imperial College London. Before coming to Oxford, Huanyuan previously worked on the CO2 fertilization effect on terrestrial ecosystem and land carbon sink modelling. Huanyuan is also a qualified PADI dive master.

Emilie Vrain

Dr Emilie Vrain is a Senior Research Associate at the Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford. As a social scientist, her research uses both quantitative and qualitative methods, analysing factors which influence the adoption and use of digital low carbon innovations. Emilie currently works on the iDODDLE project funded by the European Research Council and is investigating the underlying mechanisms of digital daily life and the impacts on climate change.

Jeppe Aagaard Kristensen

I am an ecosystem scientist studying the interactions between biotic and abiotic components of the Earth System. I have in recent years become increasingly interested in the role large mammals play in shaping their own physical, chemical and biological environments, i.e. as ecosystem engineers. As I also want to make a difference outside academia, I have started collaborations with groups in Oxford (UK), Aarhus and Copenhagen (DK) to reveal the potential of megafauna rewilding for conserving and restoring biodiversity without compromising climate change mitigation goals.