Lindsey Gillson

Director, Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity

Professor of Anthropocene Biodiversity, Department of Biology. 


I completed my bachelor's degree in Pure and Applied Biology at the University of Oxford and my MSc in Environmental Technology at Imperial College, London. I became interested in long-term change and returned to Oxford University for my PhD, in which I used palaeoecology to explore changes in elephant habitat. I stayed in Oxford as a Trapnell Fellow in Terrestrial African Ecology before moving to the Plant Conservation Unit, University of Cape Town. I joined LCAB in May 2024, to participate in LCABs vision for an optimistic future for biodiversity in the Anthropocene.

My book on using palaeoecology to manage landscapes was published in 2015. I am on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science and am Chief Editor of the Plant Conservation Section for Frontiers in Conservation Science. I am on the Advisory Committee for the Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage.


The overarching aim of my research is to understand the effects of interacting drivers on land cover and ecosystem services at a range of spatial and temporal scales. I take a transdisciplinary approach to exploring the dynamics of ecosystems, and the social-ecological nature of landscapes, embedding knowledge of long-term change with other knowledge streams to understand landscape complexity. This knowledge is used to address questions regarding ecosystem management, restoration, conservation and sustainability in the Anthropocene.

Publication Highlights

Gillson, L., Hoffman, M. T., Gell, P. A., Ekblom, A., & Bond, W. J. (2024). Trees, carbon, and the psychology of landscapes. Trends in Ecology & Evolution.

Gillson, L., Razanatsoa, E., Razafimanantsoa, A.H.I., Virah-Sawmy, M. and Ekblom, A., (2023). The role of palaeoecology in reconciling biodiversity conservation, livelihoods and carbon storage in Madagascar. Frontiers in Conservation Science, 4.  

Gillson, L., Dirk, C., & Gell, P. (2021). Using long-term data to inform a decision pathway for restoration of ecosystem resilience. Anthropocene, 100315.

Gillson, L, Seymour, C.L. Slingsby, J.A. and Inouye, D.W. (2020) What are the Grand Challenges for Plant Conservation in the 21st Century? Frontiers in Conservation Science

Gillson, L., Biggs, H., Smit, I. P., Virah-Sawmy, M., & Rogers, K. (2019). Finding Common Ground between Adaptive Management and Evidence-Based Approaches to Biodiversity Conservation. Trends in Ecology & Evolution. Vol 34:1, 31-34

Contact us

Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity

Contact us

Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity