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PhD Studentship - Bournemouth University & BGCI

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Fully funded PhD Studentship available at Bournemouth University (BU), with Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI)

Evaluating extinction risk of the world’s timber tree species

The aim of this research is to assess the extinction risk of the world’s timber tree species, and the societal impacts of their potential extinction. Trees are of exceptionally high ecological, socio-economic and cultural importance. They provide habitat for >50% of Earth’s terrestrial species, play a major role in global biogeochemical processes, and contain 50% of terrestrial carbon. Timber trees provide major economic benefits in terms of wood and fibre, water and climate regulation, prevention of soil erosion, and cultural value, as well as contributing $468 billion annually to the global economy. This research will test the hypothesis that such benefits are increasingly at risk, because many timber tree species are now threatened with extinction.

The research will involve undertaking a conservation assessment of the world’s timber tree species, according to the IUCN Red List process. This will include production of distribution maps of the principal tree species that are harvested for timber, and an analysis of population trends. The contribution of timber tree species to provision of ecosystem services will be evaluated by conducting a systematic literature review and associated meta-analysis. The principal output will be the first comprehensive conservation assessment of the world’s timber tree species, together with an evaluation of their socio-economic importance.

The project will provide an outstanding training opportunity for the student, enabling them to undertake research of high academic and societal importance in collaboration with leading international organisations. The student will receive training in:

(i) planning and executing a programme of research,

(ii) extinction research techniques and approaches,

(iii) analytical modelling, including the use of species distribution modelling approaches,

(iv) GIS and remote sensing analysis,

(v) data analysis and presentation, including methods of statistical analysis,

(vi) communication of scientific results, including scientific writing and the preparation of manuscripts for publication, as well as the PhD dissertation,

(vii) interpersonal skills, including verbal presentation of research results.


Training will be provided from the supervisory team, a network of collaborative partners both within and external to BU, and through the postgraduate training opportunities provided by BU. Specifically, the student will be able to learn from other researchers active in extinction risk assessments, including external partners in BGCI, IUCN and other associated conservation organisations. The student will become a formal member of IUCN international networks for the duration of the project, providing an outstanding career development opportunity.

Closing date for applications – 21st June 2013

Further details, and application forms are available at

Any queries, please contact Prof Adrian Newton -

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