Image: Oriel College

Yadvinder Malhi, Professor of Ecosystem Sciences at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, has been awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, announced on 10th October 2020, for services to Ecosystem Science.

"I am very surprised and humbled to receive this Honour. I am particularly pleased that it is 'for services to ecosystem science', and I hope it brings some more recognition to the vital importance of intact and restored ecosystems to our future on this planet. As a second-generation immigrant from Punjab, India, I also hope it helps to show that concern for the environment, and careers in the environment, are important and possible for all communities, regardless of background."

Professor Yadvinder Malhi


Professor Malhi has a passion for the tropics and has worked across the tropical rainforests on South America, Africa and Asia, with a particular focus on how they function and interact with global change. His work has a particularly strong emphasis on field studies, along with close collaboration and capacity-strengthening with local partners and students. He founded the Global Ecosystems Monitoring network, which has pioneered a systematic and detailed monitoring of the interactions between tropical ecosystems and climate worldwide. A recent highlight by his team was climbing and describing the world's tallest tropical tree!

This 'on the ground' work is also combined with modelling and satellite remote sensing studies. Professor Malhi is also a leading voice on change in the Amazon rainforest, contributing much needed myth-busting during last summer's devasting fires.

Closer to home, Professor Malhi conducts a range of work at Oxford University-owned Wytham Woods, with a particular current focus being understanding how energy and nutrients flow through the woodland from leaves to microbes and animals, and how woodland ecology is disrupted by ash dieback. He also has a strong interest in ecosystem restoration in the local landscape, and including how this can contribute (or not!) to carbon offsetting.

"The work of Professor Malhi and his team has made a hugely significant contribution to understanding how forests work, and in particular the significance of tropical forests to the biosphere. Everyone in the School is delighted at this recognition of his work," said Professor Gillian Rose, Head of the School of Geography and the Environment.

Professor Malhi is an integral part of the ecosystems and biodiversity community at the University of Oxford, where he is the leader of the Ecosystems Programme at the Environmental Change Institute, Director of the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests, Coordinator of the Oxford University Biodiversity Network and a Senior Research Fellow at Oriel College.

Elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2017, he was awarded the Patrons' Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 2018 and in May 2020 was appointed by the Prime Minister as a Trustee of London's Natural History Museum.