Assessing the effectiveness of UK agri-environment schemes to conserve biodiversity under climate change.

Katie Threadgill


Start Year: 2016, Cohort 3

Host University: The University of York

Department: Department of Biology

Supervisors:  Prof. Jane Hill (York), Dr Colin McClean (York), Dr Naomi Jones (FERA; CASE partner), Dr Jenny Hodgson (Liverpool), Dr Gary Powney (CEH)

Twitter: @katiethreadgill


Academic profile

Education: BA (Hons) Natural Sciences (Zoology), First Class – the University of Cambridge – 2011-2014 MSc Conservation Science and Policy, Distinction – University of Exeter – 2014-2015

Skills and relevant qualifications: 

Fieldwork skills
GIS and spatial analysis (ArcGIS, QGIS, R)
Handling remote sensing data (satellite imagery, LiDAR, UAV imagery)
Mapping ecosystem services (biophysical and cultural services)

Work experience:

2015 – Intern – University of Exeter Environment and Sustainability Institute/Westcountry Rivers Trust – 3D modelling using UAV imaging and other remote sensing platforms for mapping agricultural runoffs

2014 – Intern – Science Programme, UNEP-WCMC – assisted on the PREDICTS project, investigating the effect of land use change on global biodiversity

ACCE PhD Research Topic

Assessing the effectiveness of UK agri-environment schemes for conserving biodiversity under climate change

My PhD project is focused on evaluating the effectiveness of UK agri-environment schemes (AES) (e.g. the Environmental Stewardship and Countryside Stewardship schemes in England) for conserving butterflies in the context of climate change. As the climate warms, we know that British butterflies are disproportionately colonising protected areas, over non-protected land, as they shift their ranges northwards to track habitat with appropriate climatic conditions. I am interested in the effect of AES options (e.g. hedgerows flower rich field margins) on habitat connectivity and whether these schemes could act as ‘corridors’ or ‘stepping stones’ between protected areas to facilitate range expansions. My project will involve using landscape connectivity models with long-term transect data from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme and new data from UK agricultural field sites to ask whether AES can improve protected area connectivity for range expansions and, if they can, how AES should be designed and targeted spatially to maximise benefits.