Academic Profile

Dr Robert Dunford is a Senior Research Fellow within the Biodiversity and Climate Adaptation theme at the Environmental Change Institute. He is a specialist in spatial information technology with over 13 years of research experience using Spatial Databases, Remote Sensing and GIS (including the development of Online GIS websites). Since 2010 Rob has been working at Oxford on a number of European-funded projects in which he develops mixed method solutions to research challenges in the fields of climate change, integrated assessment and ecosystem services (CLIMSAVE, BESAFE, OPENNESS and IMPRESSIONS). In 2013, Rob led a consortium of experts in producing the scientific report underpinning the UK Climate Change Committee's Adaptation Subcommittee's (ASC, a government advisory body) report "Managing the land in a changing climate". He also led a report commissioned by the amphibian and reptile conservation trust (ARC-Trust) identifying the key threats of climate change to all UK reptile/amphibian species through to the 2080s.

Research Interests

Overarching Interest:

Understanding our changing environment

  • Exploring the implications of environmental change for both environmental management and practice.
  • Understanding the social, political and environmental factors that influence environmental management.
  • Integrated assessment and interdisciplinary approaches to explore the influences combined environmental and socio-economics drivers across multiple sectors.
  • Using mixed-methods techniques to collect and analyse the best available data on the environment.
Specific interests:

Ecosystem services (ES)

  • Matching available bio-physical methods for quantifying ES supply with Case Studies aiming to integrate the ES concept into practice (OPENNESS).
  • Understanding the contribution biodiversity-offsetting will play to future ecosystem service delivery (OPENNESS).
  • Exploring changing patterns of Ecosystem Services provision across sectors and future scenarios using integrated assessment modelling (CLIMSAVE, IMPRESSIONS).
  • Mapping and analysing the links identified in the academic literature between ecosystem services (e.g. timber provision), ecosystem service providers (e.g. trees) and their attributes (e.g. species, biomass etc.) using network analysis and systematic literature review (BESAFE).

Climate change impacts and vulnerability

  • Integrating species modelling with multi-sectoral integrated assessment modelling to assess future species distributions that respond to changes in both climate and habitat (CLIMSAVE, IMPRESSIONS).
  • Developing an index of "coping capacity" based on the 5 capitals approach that can be applied across socio-economic scenarios of the future in response to stake-holder derived storylines (CLIMSAVE).
  • Assessing the vulnerability of human wellbeing across multiple sectors in the context of socio-economic and climatic changes (CLIMSAVE).


  • Assessing flows of "holistic" uncertainty within an integrated modelling framework by combining traditional quantitative validation, modeler interviews and network analysis (CLIMSAVE).
  • Determining to what extent shifting patterns of ancient settlement certainty can be determined by combining archaeological datasets from any available data sources (Vanishing Landscapes of Syria)


  • Exploring the opportunities offered by remote sensing to better map, quantify and characterise our forests – with a particular interest in the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
  • Investigating the relationship between forestry and freshwater acidification, particularly in the context of a changing climate.


Course title

  • Units


  • Alexander, P., Prestele, R., Verburg, P., Arneth, A., Baranzelli, C., Sliva, F., Brown, C., Butler, A., Calvin, K., Dendoncker, N., Doelman, J., Dunford, R., Engstrom, K., Eitelberg, D., Fujimori, S., Harrison, P., Hasegawa, T., Havlik, P., Holzhauer, S., Humpenoder, F., Joacobs-Crisoni, C., Jain, A., Krisztin, T., Kyle, P., Lavalle, C., Lenton, T., Liu, J.,Meiyappan, P., Popp, A., Powell, T., Sands, R., Schaldach, R., Stehfest, E., Steinbuks, J., Tabeau, A., Meijl, H., Wise, M. and Rounsevell, M. (2017) Assessing uncertainties in land cover projections. Global Change Biology, 23(2): 767-781.
  • Dunford, R., Harrison, P. and Bagstad, K. (2017) Computer modelling for ecosystem service assessment. In, Burkhard, B. and Maes, J. (eds.) Mapping Ecosystem Services. Pensoft. Commissioned by EU and Leibniz Universität Hannover. pp. 126-137.
  • Dunford, R., Harrison, P., Smith, A., Dick, J., Barton, D.N., Martin-Lopez, B., Keleman, E., Jacobs, S., Saarikoski, H., Tukelboom, F., Verheyden, W., Hack, J., Antunes, P., Aszalos, R., Badea, O., Baro, F., Berry, P., Carvalho, L., Conte, G., Czucz, B., Blanco, G.G., Howard, D., Giuca, R., Gomez-Baggetun, E., Grizetti, B., Izakovicova, Z., Kopperoinen, L., Langemeyer, J., Luque, S., Lapola, D.M., Martinez-Pastur, G., Mukhopadhyay, R., Roy, S.B., Niemela, J., Norton, L., Ochieng, J., Odee, D., Palomo, I., Pinho, P., Priess, J., Rusch, G., Saarela, S., Santos, R., van der Wal, J.T., Vadineanu, A., Vari, A., Woods, H., Yli-Pelkonen, V. (2017) Integrating methods for ecosystem service assessment: Experiences from real world situations. Ecosystem Services.
  • Jacobs, S., Martin-Lopez, B., Barton, D.N., Dunford, R., Harrison, P., Kelemen, E., Saarikoski, H., Termansen, M., Garcia-Llorente, M., Gomez-Baggethun, E., Kopperoinen, L., Luque, S., Palomo, I., Priess, J.A., Rusch, G.M., Tenerelli, P., Turkelboom, F., Demeyer, R. and Smith, R. (2017) The means determine the end – Pursuing integrated valuation in practice. Ecosystems Services.
  • Priess, J.A., Hauck, J., Haines-Young, R., Alkemade, R., Mandryk, M., Veerkamp, C., Gyorgyi, B., Dunford, R., Berry, P., Harrison, P., Dick, J., Keune, H., Kok, M., Kopperoinen, L., Lazarova, T., Maes, J., Pataki, G., Pataki, G., Preda, E., Schleyer, C. Gorg, C., Vadineanu, A. and Zulian, G. (2017) New EU-scale environmental scenarios until 2050 – Scenario process and initial scenario applications..
  • Smith, R.I., Barton, D.N., Dick, J., Haines-Young, R., Madsen, A.L., Rusch, G.M., Terminen, M., Woods, H., Carvalho, L., Guida, R.C., Luque, S., Idee, D., Rusch, V., Saarikoski, H., Adamescu, C.M., Dunford, R., Ochieng, J., Gonzalez-Redin, J., Stange, E., Vadineanu, A., Verweij, P., Vikstrom, S. (2017) Operationalising ecosystem service assessment in Bayesian Belief Networks: Experiences within the OpenNESS project. Ecosystem Services.