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 works at the interface of applied ecological management and social/economic management of environmental research and development projects, for tropical and temperate agricultural pests (in Asia, Africa, Europe, Australasia and Latin America) and in the development of environmental management systems.  He is an authority on economic, decision and policy analyses for pest and resource management risks.  He has led international missions to determine environmental management research, training and implementation priorities and is a member of advisory bodies for UK and UN technical cooperation agencies in agricultural and environmental development.  Within the Centre for Environmental Policy (and the earlier Department of Environmental Science and Technology) he has been responsible for research groups in applied ecology; environmental policy, environmental chemistry; and nuclear reactor operations.  He has been responsible for implementation and evaluation of integrated pest management programmes, in cocoa, coffee, rice, cotton, fruit and other crops and for migratory and other public sector pest control programmes, such as eradication, suppression and quarantine.  The management and evaluation of risk in the environment is an area of particular concern, with applications in biosecurity, resource management and environmental governance. 

Key research areas:

  • Biosecurity, quarantine and eradication/control policy for agricultural and invasive pest species.  John Mumford has produced economic and ecological frameworks for quarantine and eradication management which have been implemented by governments and international agencies in Australia, New Zealand, UK, S Africa, Israel, Portugal, Mauritius, Seychelles and St Helena.  He is currently working on long-term risk reviews for invasive species in the UK, improvements in quarantine pest risk analysis in the EU, and earlier on the NZ beneficial organisms approval process.  He designed successful eradication programme for Oriental Fruit Fly in Mauritius (1996) and has been responsible for eradication action plans for Indian Ocean Commission states.  He is contributing to the design and management of the risk analysis programme for invasive organisms in Great Britain.   John Mumford has helped the IAEA on eradication planning for codling moth in Brazil and for its suppression in Argentina, and for fruit fly and mosquito suppression using the sterile insect technique (SIT).  He was responsible in the EC PRATIQUE FP7 project for coordination of research on pest risk pathway and receptor analysis tools and integration of the systems approach to pest risk analysis for plant pests, which has led to improved risk assessment schemes for agricultural pests in Europe and invasive species in the UK.  The WTO STDF project Beyond Compliance developed risk management for plant quarantine using systems approaches on export commodities on a regional basis in SE Asia and is now being extended to other regions in cooperation with FAO.

    cumulative probability

Figure illustrating the modelled output of cumulative probability of expected impact that has been developed with the Great Britain Non-native Species Risk Analysis Scheme. 

  • Securitization and plant/animal health. A new area of analysis concerns the implications of analysing biosecurity risks within a securitization concept (intentional bioterrorism), rather than in the more traditional paradigms of beneficial release, trade, biodiversity and food safety.  While many stages of risk analysis are similar for these risk sources, the objectives for benefits and costs in securitizartion may be different, the routes to impacts and management will change, and the obligations of stakeholders differ.  It will not be sufficient to apply conventional biosecurity risk processess to these new risks, and there may be unintended effects on the regulation of more conventional risks through responses to bioterrorism.  Recent work on the EC FP7 project PLANTFOODSEC developed risk analysis techniques appropriate to plant and food chain bioterrorism. 


  • Fisheries management and risk.  Uncertainty issues are now also being addressed for management of risks in fisheries, for instance through insurance or compensation schemes, for overexploited European fisheries in the recent EC PRONE programme and in the EC ECOKNOWS, MYFISH and DEFINEIT fisheries management projects. The use of insurance as a concept to put values on causes or mitigation of uncertainty is being explored.

stock collapse risk

 Figure illustrates the modelled effect of an insurance sheme on the probability of fish stock collapse (Scen 4 vs Scen 2) through reduced adverse response to fluctuating catch rates (ICES Journal of Marine Science, 66:950-959).

  • Integrated management of major insect pests.  John Mumford developed innovative insect management programmes based on field observation of pest ecology, ecological and economic theory and policy analysis for many of the major international insect and pathogen species:  mosquito vectors, Tephritid fruit flies, pod borer and pod rots of cocoa, Desert locust, African armyworm, cotton bollworms, brown planthopper and stem borers of rice, and tropical softwood borers.  The control of these pests in resource poor regions of the world requires a robust application of theory, often with limited field data and within practical economic limitations.  John Mumford is responsible for the risk analysis component in the current Target Malaria project developing genetic controls for malaria vectors.  Major recent programmes of work include fruit fly management using sterile insects in the Mediterranean basin (EU CLEANFRUIT project), pest management in the European Atlantic islands (INTERFRUTA I/II; CABMEDMAC), and a review of the way that pest risk assessment is carried out in biosecurity.  Earlier projects include village level control of Bactrocera fruit flies in India using lure and kill strategies, and the USAID/WCF SUCCESS Alliance project demonstrating cultural control of cocoa pests in Indonesia. 





Photo (left):  DfID supported research on fruit fly management in Pakistan and India.




Photo (below): A cocoa pod borer control demonstration plot in Sulawesi, Indonesia, funded by USAID and the cocoa industry.


  • Design of decision tools for environmental risk management that apply systems analysis, ecological theory and economic modelling, geographical information systems, expert systems technology and participatory stakeholder analysis to environmental and pest management.  Developed economic analyses for area-wide management strategies for Tephritid fruit flies, codling moths, mosquitoes and tsetse flies; novel and efficient loss assessment techniques for perennial tree crop pests, cocoa and coffee pests; rule-based models of arm yworm and Japanese beetle invasions; expert systems for cotton pest management; and performance models for cotton pesticides.  Modelling techniques for risk management and financial risk planning for environmental liabilities for industrial applications have also been developed using similar methods, particularly for determining optimal approaches to financial planning for nuclear site decommissioning.  Insurance concepts incorporated in bioeconomic models are being applied to estimate the value of uncertainties in European fisheries management so that priorities can be set on measures to reduce uncertainty through cooperative management and regulation.
  • drivers

Photo: Drivers and responses in plant health/quarantine were identified in a UK DEFRA funded review of the future of biosecurity in Britain.

In each of these systems John Mumford works towards an integrated understanding of the fundamental factors of natural history, control technology, economic, social and regulatory systems that translates component theories into practical and effective application.

Research Staff




Research Student Supervision

Fischer,S, Modelling management for data poor fisheries

Musungu,S, Effect of climate change on banana weevils in Uganda

Yu,T, Management of fruit flies and other insect pests in passionfruit in SE Asia