Professor David Edwards

Image of Dr David EdwardsTel: +44 (0)114 222 0147


Room E210, Alfred Denny Building

Group website:


Professor of Conservation Science, University of Sheffield (2018-present)
Senior Lecturer in Conservation Science, University of Sheffield (2016-18)
Lecturer in Conservation Science, University of Sheffield (2013-16)
ARC Postdoctoral Fellow, James Cook University (2011-13)
STEP Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University (2010-11)
Leverhulme Trust Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Leeds (2007-10)
PhD University of East Anglia (2005)
BSc University of East Anglia (2000)

Key Research Interests

David Edwards research image

My research focuses on understanding the impacts of land-use change on tropical biodiversity. I am particularly interested in understanding the most effective ways of managing tropical landscapes for biodiversity protection and the mechanisms that can be used to fund protection, although I have a range of interests, including;

  • Impacts of logging management on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
  • Tropical agriculture and sustainability.
  • The interaction between climate change and land-use change on extinction risk.
  • Cost-effective conservation within the tropics.
  • Policy drivers of tropical forest protection, including REDD+ and sustainability labeling.
  • Mechanisms of maintenance in mutualism.

Current Research Group

Post-doctoral Researchers

Simon Mills
Impacts of tropical land-use change in montane systems

Felicity Edwards
Managing tropical land-use change to optimize biodiversity, ecosystem services and cultural values

Edicson Parra
The impacts of land-use change on community dynamics in orchids

Jacob Socolar
The impacts of tropical land-use change on beta-diversity

Simon Mitchell
Non-linearities in avian responses to land-use change in Wallacea

Nelson Grima
Socio-economic valuation of ecosystem services in the tropical Andes

Anne Cotton
Impacts of land-use change on soil fauna and processes

PhD Students

Abdulkareem Ahmed
Expansion and conservation implications of mining in Africa (Nigeria)

Catherine Finlayson
Optimising the restoration of logged forests for carbon and biodiversity (NERC, co-supervised with R. Freckleton)

Joergen Sand Saeboe
Optimising carbon and biodiversity co-benefits across spatial scales (Norway, co-supervised with T. Haugaasen, Norwegian University of Life Sciences)

Maria Wang
Minimizing ecological and social externalities in rubber expansion (Grantham Centre for Sustainable Future)

Luke Nelson
Identifying optimal conservation strategies for resident and Afro-Palearctic migrant birds in West Africa (NERC)

Patrick Cannon
Modelling the long-term recovery dynamics of selectively logged tropical forest (Centre for Advanced Biological Modelling, co-supervised with R. Freckleton)

Cindy Cosset
Combining advanced spatial mark-recapture modelling with network analysis to understand the impacts of tropical selective logging (Centre for Advanced Biological Modelling)

Emma Hughes
Global change and the future of avian diversity (NERC, co-supervised with G. Thomas)

Matthew Hethcoat
Measuring tropical forest degradation and its consequences using satellite data (Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, co-supervised with S. Quegan)

Felix Lim
Preventing perverse market outcomes from high-yielding tropical crops (Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures)

Manoela Machado
Managing selective logging to minimize the risk of Amazonian wildfire (Ciencias sem Fronteiras)

Michael Massam
Planning Amazonian logging to maximize biodiversity retention (NERC)

Simone Messina
How does selective logging affect avian physiology? (Belgium, co-supervised with D. Costantini, University of Antwerp)

MRes/MBiolSci Students

Letitia Cookson
How does logging impact physiology of Amazonian butterflies?

Oscar Morten
Cost-effective conservation using REDD+ in shifting agricultural systems

Key recent publications

González del Pliego P, Freckleton RP, Edwards DP, Koo MS, Scheffers BR, Pyron RA, Jetz W (2019) Phylogenetic and trait-based prediction of threat status for data-deficient amphibians. Current Biology 29: 1557-1563

Senior RA, Hill JK, Benedick S, Edwards DP (2018) Tropical forests are thermally buffered despite intensive selective logging. Global Change Biology 24: 1267-1278

Symes WS, Edwards DP, Miettinen J, Rheindt FE, Carrasco LR (2018) Combined impacts of deforestation and wildlife trade on tropical biodiversity are severely underestimated. Nature Communications 9: 4052

Warren-Thomas E, Edwards DP, Bebber DP, Chhang P, Diment AN, Evans TD, Lambrick FH, late Maxwell JF, Menghor N, O’Kelly HJ, Theilade I, Dolman PM (2018) Protecting tropical forests from the rapid expansion of rubber using carbon payments. Nature Communications 9: 911

Socolar, S.J., Gilroy, J.J., Kunin, W.E. & Edwards, D.P. (2016) How should beta-diversity inform biodiversity conservation? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 31: 67-80

Edwards, D.P., Gilroy, J.J., Thomas, G.H., Medina, C.A. & Haugaasen, T. (2015) Land-sparing agriculture best protects avian phylogenetic diversity. Current Biology 25: 2384-2391

Lewis, S.L., Edwards, D.P. & Galbraith, D. (2015) Increasing human dominance of tropical forests. Science 349: 827-832

Warren-Thomas, E., Dolman, P.M. & Edwards, D.P. (2015) Increasing demand for natural rubber necessitates a robust sustainability initiative to mitigate impacts on tropical biodiversity. Conservation Letters 8:230-241

Edwards, D.P., Gilroy, J.J., Woodcock, P., Edwards, F.A., Larsen, T.H., Andrews, D.J.R., Docherty, T.D.S., Hsu, W.W., Mitchell, S.L., Ota, T., Williams, L., Laurance, W.F., Hamer, K.C. & Wilcove, D.S. (2014) Land-sharing versus land-sparing logging: Reconciling timber extraction with biodiversity conservation. Global Change Biology 20: 183-191

Edwards, D.P., Tobias, J., Sheil, D., Meijaard, E. & Laurance, W.F. (2014) Maintaining ecosystem function and services in logged tropical forests. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 29: 511-520

Gilroy, J.J., Woodcock, P., Edwards, F.A., Wheeler, C.E., Baptiste, B.L.G., Medina, C.A., Haugaasen, T. & Edwards, D.P. (2014) Cheap carbon and biodiversity co-benefits from forest regeneration in a hotspot of endemism. Nature Climate Change 4: 503-507

Edwards, D.P., Larsen, T.H., Docherty, T.D.S., Ansell, F.A., Hsu, W.W., Derhé, M.A., Hamer, K.C. & Wilcove, D.S. (2011) Degraded lands worth protecting: the biological importance of Southeast Asia's repeatedly logged forests. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278: 82-90

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