Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesCentre for Environmental Policy

Professor of Natural Resource Management



+44 (0)20 7594 2206j.mumford Website




Hamilton 1.08 and Weeks Building 110AHamilton BuildingSilwood Park





John Mumford is an ecologist, agricultural economist and risk analyst focussed on issues of plant health, biosecurity, and vector, fisheries and forest management.  Research has covered many aspects of economic interest related to pest, food and biosecurity, fisheries and environmental risk management and international development, with a strong emphasis on work in developing countries.  The work currently falls into three general areas:

  • Risk and economic analyses of exotic organisms, including agricultural quarantine, invasive species and intentional releases/bioterrorism
  • Uncertainty affecting fisheries management
  • Risk analysis and economic analysis for novel technologies in pest control, such as sterile insect technique and genetically modified insects 

Teaching includes topics on demography, fisheries and risk in the MSc Environmental Technology core course and biosecurity and project design in some of the Environmental Technology option courses.  He has also taught an undergraduate course in Resource Management in the Life Sciences Department..

Major project areas have included work with the cocoa industries in Malaysia and Indonesia; locusts and cotton pests in Africa; fruit fly pests in Africa, the Indian Ocean, Australia, South Asia and the Mediterranean Basin; quarantine and biosecurity policy in Europe, USA, New Zealand, SE Asia and with the FAO; invasive species risk analysis in Great Britain and SE Asia; and the regulation of genetically modified insects with WHO, FNIH and EFSA.  Issues to do with how management programmes face risks in the environment are of particular interest, and this has involved the extension of risk management analyses from pests to other environmental problems such as radiation decontamination and fisheries management. 

John Mumford currently leads risk analysis in a project on novel mosquito vector control with the Gates Foundation. He also leads the continual development of improved risk assessment methods for invasive species management in Great Britain through work with the English, Scottish and Welsh governments, and the Food and Environment Research Agency. 

Recent research projects include two EC Horizon2020 projects, EMPHASIS and EUCLID, on pest risk and management involve the development of indicators and an analytical framework for new pest management technology implementation.  The EC Framework 7 project  MYFISH investigated variants on Maximum Sustainable Yield as targets for fisheries management; DROPSA developed novel fruit pest management in Europe; and PLANTFOODSEC developed integrated risk analysis methods to assess security threats from plant pests alongside risks related to normal agricultural trade and travel.  A BBSRC funded project called UNPICK explored the public understanding of tree health issues in Britain. 

Photo:  Quarantine policy research has helped the US Department of Agriculture conduct efficient risk assessments to determine appropriate preventative and responsive management for exotic pests (for example, the Emerald Ash Borer affecting trees in the US midwest is spread in cut timber and firewood).

US photo

Methods to estimate and communicate risks are needed in pest risk assessment and in planning area-wide management programmes.  Several projects have developed quantitative models and other representations of spatial-temporal risk and benefit/cost projections related to management of pests in agriculture and the natural environment.  An important tool developed in these projects provides an area-based estimate (€/ha) of the environmental, social and health impacts of pesticides used in insect control programmes, which has been applied to locust control in W Africa with FAO.

Photo: External (indirect) environmental and health cost estimates produced for FAO for the 2003-2005 locust control campaign on a 25 sq km spatial grid in Senegal - total costs estimated at approximately €8 million.

 locust control

Entomology has been a common entry point into wider environmental problems, with insects being central to risks to agricultural production, human and animal health, and damage to natural ecosystems through pest invasions. Insects are managed on a range of scales, from individuals exercising immediate local control to regional area-wide programmes and long-term international regulation, which requires an understanding of complex social, economic and policy interactions to apply sound principles of ecology and economics.  Broad interests have been reflected in the supervision of very diverse MSc and PhD students on topics ranging from coffee crop management, fisheries and agricultural policy, to passion fruit pest management and environmental management systems for businesses.  A common theme is the establishment of analytical frameworks that can incorporate quantitative spatial and temporal inputs along with management or policy objectives. 

Photo: The IAEA Model Business Plan for Sterile Insect Production Facilities sets out principles for planning capital investment and operational costs in both large and small-scale sterile insect control programmes.


John Mumford completed a BS degree in Entomology at the College of Agriculture, Purdue University in 1974 and subsequently worked in a reseach programme of the Indiana Agricultural Extension Service on forage pest management.  From 1975-1978 he was a Marshall Scholar at Imperial College London, receiving a PhD in Applied Entomology.  He worked in New Zealand as a Research Fellow at Lincoln University, jointly in Entomology and Agricultural Economics, and became an academic at Imperial College London in 1979.  He was initially a member of the Biology Department at Imperial College London and since 1994 has been a senior member of an evolving series of Environment departments in the College - currently as Professor of Natural Resource Management in the Centre for Environmental Policy (CEP). 

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Goti-Aralucea L, Fitzpatrick M, Doering R, et al., 2018, "Overarching sustainability objectives overcome incompatible directions in the Common Fisheries Policy", Marine Policy, Vol:91, ISSN:0308-597X, Pages:49-57

Mumford JD, Leach AW, Benedict MQ, et al., 2018, Maintaining quality of candidate strains of transgenic mosquitoes for studies in containment facilities in disease endemic countries, Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, Vol:18, ISSN:1530-3667, Pages:31-38

Urquhart J, Potter C, Barnett J, et al., 2017, Expert risk perceptions and the social amplification of risk: a case study in invasive tree pests and diseases, Environmental Science & Policy, Vol:77, ISSN:1462-9011, Pages:172-178

Rindorf A, Mumford J, Baranowski P, et al., 2017, Moving beyond the MSY concept to reflect multidimensional fisheries management objectives, Marine Policy, Vol:85, ISSN:0308-597X, Pages:33-41

Rindorf A, Dichmont CM, Thorson J, et al., 2017, Inclusion of ecological, economic, social, and institutional considerations when setting targets and limits for multispecies fisheries, ICES Journal of Marine Science, Vol:74, ISSN:1054-3139, Pages:453-463

Kempf A, Mumford J, Levontin P, et al., 2016, The MSY concept in a multi-objective fisheries environment - Lessons from the North Sea, Marine Policy, Vol:69, ISSN:1872-9460, Pages:146-158

Soliman T, MacLeod A, Mumford JD, et al., 2016, A Regional Decision Support Scheme for Pest Risk Analysis in Southeast Asia, Risk Analysis, Vol:36, ISSN:1539-6924, Pages:904-913

Maria Rincon M, Mumford JD, Levontin P, et al., 2016, The economic value of environmental data: a notional insurance scheme for the European anchovy, ICES Journal of Marine Science, Vol:73, ISSN:1054-3139, Pages:1033-1041

Leach AW, Levontin P, Holt J, et al., 2014, Identification and prioritization of uncertainties for management of Eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), Marine Policy, Vol:48, ISSN:0308-597X, Pages:84-92

Nghiem LTP, Soliman T, Yeo DCJ, et al., 2013, Economic and environmental impacts of harmful non-indigenous species in Southeast Asia, PLOS One, Vol:8, ISSN:1932-6203

Holt J, Leach AW, Schrader G, et al., 2013, Eliciting and combining decision criteria using a limited palette of utility functions and uncertainty distributions: illustrated by application to Pest Risk Analysis, Risk Analysis, Vol:34, ISSN:0272-4332, Pages:4-16

Kehlenbeck H, Cannon R, Breukers A, et al., 2012, A protocol for analysing the costs and benefits of plant health control measures, Bulletin OEPP, Vol:42, ISSN:0250-8052, Pages:81-88

CARRASCO L, MUMFORD J, MACLEOD A, et al., 2010, Comprehensive bioeconomic modelling of multiple harmful non-indigenous species, Ecological Economics, Vol:69, Pages:1303-1312


Mumford JD, 2013, Biosecurity management practices: Determining and delivering a response, Biosecurity: the socio-politics of invasive species and infectious diseases, Editor(s): Dobson, Barker, Taylor, United Kingfom, Earthscan, Pages:105-119, ISBN:978-0-415-53477-2


Holt J, Leach A, Mumford JD, et al., 2016, Development of probabilistic models for quantitative pathway analysis of plant pest introduction for the EU territory, 2016:EN-1062, Parma, Italy, European Food Safety Authority

Romakkaniemi A, Apostolidis C, Bal G, et al., 2015, Best practices for the provision of prior information for Bayesian stock assessment, . ICES Cooperative Research Report No 328, Copenhagen, Denmark, ICES

EFSA, 2013, Guidance on the environmental risk assessment of genetically modified animals, Guidance on the environmental risk assessment of genetically modified animals, EFSA Journal 2013;11(5):3200, Parma, Italy, European Food Safety Authority

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