Ecology and Conservation


Our planet is filled with intricate systems working in harmony with each other. As we study these systems, and the organisms within them, we begin to understand the importance of conserving the natural world around us.

Ecology is the study of the relationship between living organisms and their environment. Through ecological research we can appreciate the complexity of global biodiversity patterns. 

Ecological research also addresses the organisms within ecosystems, and the impact that we are having on them. Using this ecological knowledge we can better protect species, ecological communities and the natural resources they provide, for current and future generations.

Conservation science is an applied field that combines the natural and social sciences to support the conservation of nature that is both sustainable and socially just, through researching approaches to effective design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of conservation interventions at scales from local to global.

Researchers in this section work on some of the most challenging problems confronting society, including:

  • Identifying patterns and outcomes of global change
  • Improving food security
  • Assessing impacts of international trade
  • How best to conserve natural ecosystems in a sustainable and socially-just way
  • The design and evaluation of nature-based solutions to climate change.

Our section's researchers work all over the world, from polar regions to temperate and tropical forests to grasslands, mountains and deserts, including marine and freshwater ecosystems.

Find out more about the research in this Section through our publications and recent news.

Professor Owen Lewis | Section Head

owen lewis

“At Oxford we are at the forefront of addressing global challenges in biodiversity conservation and gaining a better understanding of the complex ecological processes in the natural world.”

Owen Lewis