SENRGY staff are active in the following areas of research;
Natural Resources Ecology, Conservation and Management
We combine pure and applied science with economics, socio-economics and policy in order to inform decisions about land use and environmental management world-wide
Systems. Our research aims to develop a mechanistic understanding of the links between human well-being, ecosystem services (such as biodiversity and carbon storage), health and economy in rural systems. We have a long track record of economic research on discounting, with major policy implications. We are exploring ecological-economic interactions in marine systems, finding out how to design marine protected areas with lower opportunity costs to fishers, and that take into account fishers' risk preferences which are related to their livelihood characteristics and not just to expected financial gain. We combine ecological species dynamics and spatial socio-economic data to assess sustainability of crayfish harvesting in tropical forest environments, and we are developing monitoring protocols for community-based conservation in a new project in Madagascar.
We are pioneering the use of systematic review methodology (developed from its application in medicine) to improve the effectiveness of conservation and environmental management to provide a stronger evidence base.
We are improving the statistical rigour of system models and using these to investigate the resilience, profitability and greenhouse gas emissions of farming, in the face of climate change. We have also investigated the rigour of pesticide risk indices and are applying these in a new project comparing local and overseas vegetable production.
In agroforestry systems we have demonstrated the value for animal diversity of tree cover retention in Neotropical pasture landscapes, finding a critical role for live fences. We are extending this participatory research on ecosystem services by investigating keystone landscape elements controlling water flow and soil erosion.
Ecology and management of trees and forests. We combine ecological assessment of valuable resource species with robust analysis of local knowledge acquired through our pioneering methodology. In the case of rubber, our research on the physiological mechanisms of its enhanced early growth under partial shade has significant implications for its intercropping.
Our research on natural forests investigates the ecological mechanisms maintaining biodiversity and resilience in tree communities and enabling restoration. This includes the distribution of demographic properties and morphological traits amongst coexisting tree species, response to environmental variation, the role of phylogeny, the effects of diversity in tree monoterpenes, regeneration processes via seedlings and coppice regrowth, and the effect of nutrient addition on successional ecosystems.
We have classified and improved spatial tree-diversity indices and methods for their selection. We apply these to improve "continuous cover" silvicultural systems in managed forests, which we also research with economics.