Academic Profile

Yadvinder Malhi CBE FRS is Professor of Ecosystem Science at the Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, and Senior Research Fellow at Oriel College.

Professor Malhi explores the functioning of the biosphere and its interactions with global change, including climate change. He has a particular fascination with and love for tropical forests, though he has recently been spotted in ecosystems ranging from savannas, the Arctic, tropical coral reefs and Oxfordshire's woodlands and floodplain meadows.

He looks at how natural ecosystems may be shifting in response to global atmospheric change, and how protecting or restoring natural ecosystems can help tackle climate change, and help adaptation to the consequences of climate change.

His team at the Environmental Change Institute is known for collecting intensive field data from fascinating but sometimes tough and remote forests. They have ongoing programmes of research in Asia, Africa, the Amazon and Andes regions, and Oxford's own Wytham Woods. A new recent focus has been on nature recovery and biodiversity restoration in the UK.

While addressing fundamental questions about ecosystem function and dynamics, his research findings are significant for conservation and adaptation to climate change. He is a Trustee of the Natural History Museum of London, President-Elect of the British Ecological Society, chairs a number of programmes on biodiversity at the Royal Society, and is a scientific advisor on nature restoration for the UK government and the government of Scotland.

He leads an active Ecosystem Dynamics research lab focussing on forest vegetation-atmosphere interactions, employing field studies, satellite remote sensing and ecosystem modelling.

Current Research

The broad scope of my research interests is the impact of global change on the ecology, structure and composition of terrestrial ecosystems, and in particular temperate and tropical forests, though recently I have been spotted a few times in the Antarctic and Arctic … This research addresses fundamental questions about ecosystem function and dynamics, whilst at the same time providing outputs of direct relevance for conservation and adaptation to climate change. We apply a range of techniques including field physiological studies, large-scale and long-term ecological monitoring, social sciences methods, satellite remote-sensing and GIS, ecosystem modelling, and micrometeorological techniques.

My team has a reputation in collecting intensive field data from fascinating but sometimes tough and remote forests, and linking these data to models and satellite data to address global issues surrounding tropical forests.

My university post is supported by the Jackson Foundation, and our global research is funded by grants from the European Research Council, the Natural Environment Research Council, and others.


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

Tina Christmann

Remote sensing to assess ecosystem change and restoration in tropical mountain ecosystems

Trisha Gopalakrishna

Forest Restoration in India: Opportunities and Realities

Victoria Maguire-Rajpaul

Understanding West African cocoa smallholders' adaption to drought: assessing interactions between institutions, poverty and resilience

Laura Picot

Food crops and the role of farmers' gender and intersectional identities in shaping climate resilience in Ghana

Huanyuan Zhang

Calculate tropical NPP by upscaling empirical findings from plot-level forest inventory to a larger scale

Recent Graduate Research Students (since 2006)

Nicolas Raab
Completed DPhil in 2020

Modelling tree carbon allocation, gas and energy exchange in the Amazon through functional structural models

June Rubis
Completed DPhil in 2020

(Re)imagining forest conservation landscapes and development pathways: indigenous strategies in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo

Anabelle Cardoso
Completed DPhil in 2019

The role of fire and elephants in shaping a central African forest-savannah mosaic

Agne Gvozdevaite
Completed DPhil in 2019

The role of economic, venation and morphological leaf traits in plant and ecosystem function along forest-savannah gradients in the tropics

Toby Jackson
Completed DPhil in 2019

Tree biomechanics: a study of the mechanical stability of broadleaf trees

Christine Moore
Completed DPhil in 2019

Complex Mosaic Landscapes: Novel methodologies to understand dynamics of Cocoa farming in Ghana

Festus Asaaga
Completed DPhil in 2018

Land rights, tenure security and sustainable land use in rural Ghana

Meghan Bailey
Completed DPhil in 2017

Robust adaptation planning and decision-making: a comparative study of subsistence-oriented communities in the Indo-Gangetic Plain and West Africa

Ewan Macdonald
Completed DPhil in 2017

Clouds on the horizon: identifying global priorities for conservation marketing and planning the conservation of the Sunda clouded leopard on Borneo

Cecilia Chavana-Bryant
Completed DPhil in 2016

Impacts of leaf age on the spectral and physiochemical traits of trees in Amazonian forest canopies

Tahia Devisscher
Completed DPhil in 2016

Wildfire under a changing climate in the Bolivian Chiquitania: a social-ecological systems analysis

Selected Publications

  • View Professor Yadvinder Malhi's ORCID profile
  • View Professor Yadvinder Malhi's Scopus profile
  • View Professor Yadvinder Malhi's ResearchGate profile
  • View Professor Yadvinder Malhi's profile
  • View Professor Yadvinder Malhi's Google Scholar profile
  • View Professor Yadvinder Malhi's ResearcherID profile

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


  • Marthews, T.R., Metcalfe, D., Malhi, Y., Phillips, O., Huaraca Huasco, W., Riutta, T., Ruiz Jen, M., Girardin, C., Urrutia, R., Butt, N., Cain, R. and Oliveras, I. (2012) Measuring Tropical Forest Carbon Allocation and Cycling: A RAINFOR-GEM Field Manual for Intensive Census Plots (v2.2). . Manual, Global Ecosystems Monitoring network.
  • Metcalfe, D.B., Meir, P., Aragao, L.E.O.C., Malhi, Y., da Costa, A.C.L., Braga, A., Goncalves, P.H.L., de Athaydes, J., de Almeida, S.S. and Williams, M. (2007) Factors controlling spatio-temporal variation in carbon dioxide efflux from surface litter, roots and soil organic matter at four rain forest sites in the eastern Amazon. . pp. 9.

Journal Articles

Book Chapters


Conference Papers

  • Duran, S.M., Asner, G.P., Martin, R., Bentley, L.P., Diaz, S., Salinas, N., Shenkin, A., Malhi, Y., Silman, M., Savage, V., Enquist, B.J. and Wieczynski, D.J. (2018) Using remotely-sensed functional diversity to inform trait-based ecology. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2018.
  • Malhi, Y., Saatchi, S., Girardin, C.A.J. and Aragao, L.E.O.C. (2008) Carbon Storage and Flow in Amazonian Forests. Proceedings of the Large-Scale Atmosphere Biosphere.