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I am an ecologist, forester and conservationist. I have broad multidisciplinary interests focused on forests, their biota and the people who depend on them. Most of my research has focused on the tropics. I joined WUR in January 2021.
I was born in Northern Ireland and raised in the Republic of Ireland. I trained in Natural Sciences (MA, Cambridge) and Forestry (MSc, Oxford) in the UK. After two years in East Africa (IUCN, based in Nairobi, Kenya), I conducted my doctoral "DPhil." research on long-term forest change in Uganda, while employed by the University of Oxford. My postdoctoral experience includes ten years in Indonesia with the Centre for International Forest Research (CIFOR, 1998-2008) and four years as director of the Institute for Tropical Forest Conservation in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda (2008-2012). I also spent a year in Southern Cross University in New South Wales, Australia (2012-2013). Before joining WUR I was a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in Ås, Norway (2013-2020). I remain a Senior Associate with CIFOR, in Indonesia.
I have authored or coauthored over 200 scientific publications, including a widely used book on rain forests (Ghazoul & Sheil Tropical Rain Forests: Ecology Diversity and Conservation. Oxford University Press, 2010). I received the Biotropica Prize for the best research paper 2004 from the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. I also received the Queens Award for Forestry in 2015.