Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Professor of Ecology



+44 (0)20 7594 2223r.ewers




1.4Centre for Population BiologySilwood Park





My group sits at the forefront of research into understanding the environmental impacts of tropical forest degradation. I have worked extensively in the discipline of landscape ecology, where I developed new theories for modelling time-delayed impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation, new methods for modelling land use change, and highlighted the boom-and-bust nature of development trajectories linked to tropical deforestation. I led a review of the habitat fragmentation literature that has been cited >1000 times, and demonstrated the dominance of edge effects in modern forest landscapes along with the conservation value of human-modified habitats.

My research group works on a diverse range of ecological patterns and processes. We collect and analyse empirical data on a wide range of taxa encompassing small and large mammals, reptiles, fish, beetles, mosquitoes, ants and trees. We also conduct experiments, monitoring and simulations of an equally diverse set of ecological and physical processes, including carbon and tree dynamics, wood and litter decomposition, hydrology, microclimate, animal movement, species interactions, insect development rates and invertebrate ecophysiology.

I am now beginning to take a stronger interest in the process-based modelling of rainforest ecosystems, including the testing and/or development of simulations modelling microclimate, animal communities, tree dynamics and wood decomposition. My goal is to develop these into a virtual rainforest: a general ecosystem model replicating all of the key physical and biotic components of the ecosystem, and their interactions, with a view to understanding system-level emergent properties.



Guest Lectures

Rainforest futures, University of Oxford, 2019

Hidden biodiversity changes in human-modified tropical forests, University of Royal Holloway, 2018