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Dr Tom Staton


Sustainability; biodiversity monitoring; community ecology; agroforestry systems
Postdoctoral research associate with the REFOREST and PATHWAYS projects (see below)

Areas of interest

I am interested in how agriculture can meet global food demands while being environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. In particular, much of my research involves evaluating and quantifying biodiversity and other ecosystem services in diversified farming systems. My research to date has primarily focussed on agroforestry systems, where productive trees are integrated into cropland or pasture.

Research centres and groups

Agri-food Economics and Marketing

Research projects

  • REFOREST - Agroforestry at the forefront of farming sustainability in multifunctional landscapes in Europe (Horizon Europe, 2022-2026)
  • Pathways for transitions to sustainability in livestock husbandry and food systems (Horizon 2020, 2021-2026)
  • Expanding Agroforestry (Nature for Climate Fund, 2022-2025)


My background is in applied ecology, particularly in the UK. I completed a Masters degree in Biological Recording and Ecology Monitoring, while my PhD thesis investigated biodiversity, natural pest control, and pollination in UK agroforestry systems. I am also an experienced ecological consultant, which involves advising on protected species and sites, and biodiversity net gain, in relation to planning applications and appeals in the UK.


  • Ecological consultant, Aspect Ecology Ltd, 2022 and 2012-2017
  • Research Entomologist, Forest Research, 2022
  • Ecological consultant, Andrews Ecology Ltd, 2009-2012

Academic qualifications

  • PhD in Ecology and Agri-Environmental Research (University of Reading, 2021)
  • MSc Biological Recording and Ecological Monitoring (University of Birmingham, 2011)
  • BSc (Hons) Biology (University of Bath, 2008)

Professional bodies/affiliations

  • British Ecological Society
  • Farm Woodland Forum
  • European Agroforestry Federation (EURAF)

Selected publications

  • Staton, T., Walters, R.J., Breeze, T.D., Smith, J., Girling, R.D. (2022) Niche complementarity drives increases in pollinator functional diversity in diversified agroforestry systems. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 336: 108035
  • Staton, T., Breeze, T.D., Walters, R.J., Smith, J., Girling, R.D. (2022) Productivity, biodiversity trade-offs, and farm income in an agroforestry versus an arable system. Ecological Economics, 191, 107214
  • Staton, T., Walters, R.J., Smith, J., Breeze, T.D., Girling, R.D. (2021) Evaluating a trait-based approach to compare natural enemy and pest communities in agroforestry vs. arable systems. Ecological Applications, 31(4): e02294


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