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

Tina Christmann

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

Trisha Gopalakrishna

Trade-offs between carbon, biodiversity and water on restoration of Indian tropical forests

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

Aoife Bennett
Completed DPhil in 2019

A political ecology of smallholder oil palm production and forest conservation in the Amazon frontier: towards a balanced approach to development in Ucayali, Peru

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

Cecilia Dahlsjo
Completed DPhil in 2015

The role of termite assemblages in ecosystem processes in tropical forests

Rocio Urrutia
Completed DPhil in 2015

Primary productivity and soil respiration in Fitzroya cupressoides forests of southern Chile and their environmental controls

Kathryn Clark
Completed DPhil in 2014

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

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.