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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Dr Simon Willcock PhD, MA Oxon, BA Hons Oxon

Research Fellow: Ecosystem Services

Dr Simon Willcock's photo

Dr Simon Willcock is a Research Fellow studying Ecosystem Services within the Centre for Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Career history

2012-Present: Research Fellow: Ecosystem Services. University of Southampton, UK.
2011: Field Team Coordinator. University of York, UK.
2008-2012: Teaching Assistant. University of Leeds, UK.
2007-2008: Teaching Assistant. Southgate, UK.
2007: Research Assistant. University of Oxford, UK.
2005-2006: Operation Wallacea Representative. UK.

Academic qualifications

2008-2012: PhD in Geography. University of Leeds, UK.
2004-2007: Undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences. University of Oxford, UK.

Research interests

I currently work on two projects funded by Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA), namely Attaining Sustainable Services from Ecosystems (ASSETS) and Which Ecosystem Service Models Best Capture the Needs of the Rural Poor (WISER).

ASSETS aims to undertake world class research on ecosystem services (ES) for poverty alleviation at the forest-agricultural interface, integrating and developing cutting edge modelling and risk management tools to address three themes: (i) drivers, pressures and linkages between food security, nutritional health and ES; (ii) crises and tipping points: past, present and future interactions between food insecurity and ES at the forest-agricultural interface; and (iii) the science-policy interface: how can we manage ES to reduce food insecurity and increase nutritional health? My role in ASSETS is to collate and build ES models to estimate biophysical stock of various services, as well as to liaise with social science collaborators to build agent-based models of beneficiaries. All the models ASSETS produce are being integrated into the Artificial Intelligence for Ecosystem Services (ARIES) modelling framework.

In WISER we will use novel approaches to identify what constitutes the simplest adequate ES modelling framework to inform policy and management interventions for poverty alleviation. Our findings will determine the capabilities of current models for use in poverty alleviation and suggest paths for model improvement. My role in WISER is to collate data from our numerous collaborators and use these to evaluate model accuracy via binary discriminator tests. WISER will test models of varying complexity from the three leading platforms: ARIES, InVEST and Co$ting Nature .

Previously, I worked with the Valuing the Arc project. This was a five-year research and policy programme which began in January 2007 and was extended until December 2011, funded by the Leverhulme Trust . Our goal was to improve knowledge of the ecosystem services provided by the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania, of their contribution to human welfare, and to find solutions to managing these services in a sustainable way. In doing so, this research provided critical information to policy-makers in Tanzania and contributed to the wider field of ecosystem services research. Specifically, I was based within the carbon-related services module. Broadly, focussing on measuring and modelling carbon storage and sequestration within the forests and woodlands of the Eastern Arc and on estimating the value of these services. Through fieldwork, I provided a carbon map of the area both currently and historically, identifying plausible drivers of carbon storage and land-use change 

PhD title: Multiple Drivers of Tropical Forest Dynamics in Tanzania, East Africa
Supervisors: Dr Simon Lewis, Professor Oliver Phillips, Professor Pantaleon Munishi and Professor Jon Lovett.
Funding: Leverhulme Trust

Research group

Environmental Biosciences

Affiliate research group

Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS)

Research project(s)

ASSETS: Attaining sustainable services from ecosystems

WISER: Which Ecosystem Service Models best capture the needs of the rural poor?

ENVS2009 Environmental Practice & Issues
ENVS6009 Advanced Research Project
BIOL1001 Experimental & Field Ecology

Dr Simon Willcock
Centre for Biological Sciences Faculty of Natural & Environmental Sciences Life Sciences Building 85 University of Southampton Highfield Campus Southampton SO17 1BJ

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