Academic Profile

As Professor of Ecosystem Science at the School of Geography and the Environment and Programme Leader in Ecosystems at the Environmental Change Institute, Prof. Malhi's research interests focus on interactions between forest ecosystems and the global atmosphere, with a particular focus on their role in global carbon, energy and water cycles, and in understanding how the ecology of natural ecosystems may be shifting in response to global atmospheric change. More recently his interests have expanded to include the impacts and limitation of tropical deforestation.

Prof. Malhi received his first degree in physics from Queens' College, University of Cambridge, and a PhD in Meteorology from the University of Reading. His early post-doctoral work at the University of Edinburgh focused on measuring ecosystem carbon fluxes from pristine Amazonian rainforests, and this led to a deeper interest in the ecology and dynamics of tropical rainforests. In 2000 he co-founded the Amazon rainforest forest inventory network (RAINFOR) which has been revealing fundamental new insights into the biogeography of Amazonian forests, and how they are responding to global atmospheric change. He was a Royal Society University Research Fellow at Edinburgh University between 1999 and 2004. In 2005 he was appointed a University Lecturer at the School of Geography and the Environment, in 2006 he became Reader in Terrestrial Ecology, and in 2007 Professor of Ecosystem Science. He leads an active Ecosystem Dynamics research lab focussing on forest vegetation-atmosphere interactions, employing field studies, satellite remote sensing and ecosystem modelling. He also manages the Ecosystems Programme of the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford.

Prof. Malhi is an Honorary Fellow of Edinburgh University and UCLA and a Visiting Fellow of Leeds University. He is also a member of various committees including: the Royal Society Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Ocean Acidification; the Royal Society Committee on Science in Society; and the Scientific Steering Committee of the Large Scale Biosphere Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia.

He has delivered invited seminars/plenaries in numerous universities, including Harvard, UCLA, Berkeley, Duke, Cambridge, and Brasilia. He was the editor of a thematic issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B, and has been a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group 1 and the organiser of major multidisciplinary international conference: Climate Change and the Fate of the Amazon in 2007.

Current Research

The major focus of his work is understanding the interactions between forest ecosystems and the atmosphere. This includes the cycling of carbon, water and nutrients, the climatic controls on ecosystem metabolism and biomass, and more recently, assessing the impacts of land use change and the potential of forest protection to mitigate global climate change. His research techniques combine the diverse disciplines of ecological and forest field surveys, ecophysiological measurements, micrometeorological field techniques, satellite remote sensing, vegetation-atmosphere modelling, and social science. He has a particular interest in tropical forests ranging from Malaysia to the Congo and Zambia, but especially in Amazonia and the Andes. Since 2006 he has been engaging in a major study looking at an elevation transect in the Amazon-Andes, ranging from 200m to 3600m in elevation, and has ongoing research interests across the lowland forests of Amazonia through the RAINFOR project. More recently he has embarked on an expanding programme of research looking at the functioning and climatic response of temperate woodlands of the Upper Thames.


Prof. Malhi teaches on biodiversity and ecosystem assessment techniques for the MSc in Biodiversity Conservation and Management. He also teaches on tropical forests, environmental modelling and GIS/remote sensing for the MSc in Environmental Change and Management, for which he is also an internal examiner.

Current Graduate Research Students

Rodrigo Arce

Certified forest industry diversification in the Bolivian Northern Amazon: escaping the staple trap in the forest carbon era

Cecilia Chavana-Bryant

Understanding the relationship between the leaf life cycle and Earth Observation-derived indices in Amazonian rainforests

Cecilia Dahlsjo

Termite assemblage structure and function in lowland tropical forests

Tahia Devisscher

Sustainable management under changing conditions: enhancing the adaptive capacity of social-ecological systems in tropical forest landscapes

Takeshi Inagawa

Nutrient cycling in altered tropical forest ecosystems, Malaysian Borneo

Ewan Macdonald

How can we maximise the contribution of carbon finance mechanisms to deliver biodiversity co-benefits to species and ecosystem conservation?

Christine Moore

The functioning of intact and human-modified tropical forests

Rocio Urrutia

Assessment of forest ecosystem services under climate and land use change scenarios in Chile

Recent Graduate Research Students (since 2006)

Kathryn Clark
Completed in 2014

The role of landslides in the Peruvian Andes in determining forest ecology and carbon transport

Lip Khoon Kho
Completed in 2013

Carbon cycling in Bornean tropical forests

Kate Halladay
Completed in 2012

Climate and Andean montane forests: the role of clouds

Cecile Girardin
Completed in 2011

Tropical montane forest ecosystem responses to mean temperature change

Danae Maniatis
Completed in 2011

Methodologies for measuring aboveground biomass in the Congo basin forest in a UNFCCC REDD+ context

Joel Scriven
Completed in 2011

Markets and payments for ecosystem services: engaging REDD+ on Peru's Amazonian frontier

Royd Vinya
Completed in 2011

Stem hydraulic architecture and xylem vulnerability to cavitation for Miombo woodland canopy tree species

Liana Anderson
Completed in 2010

Multitemporal analysis of the evergreen forest dynamics in Amazonia

Katie Fenn
Completed in 2010

Carbon cycling in a British deciduous woodland: processes, budgets, climate and phenology

Alexandra Morel
Completed in 2010

Environmental monitoring of oil palm expansion in Malaysian Borneo and analysis of two international governance initiatives relating to palm oil production

Prezemyslaw Zelazowski
Completed in 2010

Contemporary and future extent of evergreen tropical forests: insights from remote sensing and climate change simulations

Adam Bumpus
Completed in 2009

Carbon development: a political ecology analysis of the use of carbon offset projects local and global

Nathalie Butt
Completed in 2009

Tropical climatology and biodiversity.

Katja Lehmann
Completed in 2009

Seasonal and diurnal hydrological patterns along a Cloud Forest gradient in the Peruvian Andes.

Ana Malhado
Completed in 2009

The functional biogeography of the Amazon forest canopy.

Selected Publications

Publications are those that were listed on the old website. Publications database integration forthcoming.

Many of these papers are available for download from Prof. Malhi's personal website.

Papers and Articles