Mr Tom Ovenden

PhD Researcher

Biological and Environmental Sciences Stirling

Mr Tom Ovenden

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About me

About me

I’m a forest ecologist with a background in conservation, having worked across a range of projects both in the UK and abroad.

I have previously worked as an intelligence analyst in the UK and as a bio-security ranger for the Department of Conservation (DOC) in New Zealand. More recently I returned to the UK and my conservation career led me to an island nature reserve off the north coast of Scotland (Handa Island), which I ran for two years. I then spent a brief period working in the forest industry having completed my MSc in Environmental Forestry at Bangor University, Wales.

I'm currently undertaking my PhD at Stirling University in collaboration with Forest Research and have a particular interest in applied research, forest stand dynamics and complex adaptive systems. My research focuses on the resilience of forests to extreme climatic events such as drought, and how different species and communities respond to stressful events and why. By understanding the legacy and impact of historic drought events using tree ring chronologies we hope to identify ways in which we can foster and incorporate resilience and adaptive capacity into our forests to enable them to continue to meet the needs of people and wildlife in the face of climatic change.


My interests are wide-ranging and encompass anything botanical but especially relating to the ecology of forest ecosystems, both temperate and tropical. I have a particular interest and focus on managing forests as complex adaptive systems, forest dynamics and resilience to extreme climatic events. I also have a healthy fascination with mycology, the use of individual based modelling and more broadly, reintroduction biology.

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