Mr Clive Hambler

Stipendiary Lecturer in Biological and Human Sciences, Tutor in Human Sciences

MA (Oxford)

Clive was educated at school in Bradford and as a student in Oxford, obtaining a BA in Zoology (converted to an MA).  After graduation he worked on international research expeditions and as a professional conservationist and environmental consultant.  He undertook nature reserve surveys and management, and performed environmental impact assessment on developments including motorways, railways, airports, power stations and new towns.  His research and teaching led him back into academia, whilst helping develop the first conservation courses in Oxford.

His book Conservation (Cambridge University Press, 2004) was described as "...the best current introduction to conservation" (Bulletin of the British Ecological Society).  The second edition, co-authored with Dr. Susan Canney in 2013, is described as "A must read for everyone, and especially for students, researchers, and conservation practitioners." (Russell A. Mittermeier, President, Conservation International).  Further reviews can be found here.

Clive has been a College Lecturer in biology at Merton, St Anne's, Pembroke and Oriel, often acting as the course director of studies for a college.  He joined Hertford in 1998 and is the college's director of studies for Human Sciences.  He works in Oxford's faculties of Zoology, Geography and Anthropology.

Undergraduate teaching 

Clive is an active supporter of the Oxford tutorial system, based on critical discussion in very small groups.  He teaches particularly in ecology and conservation, but at times also helps with behaviour and evolution.  He tutors and supervises work on courses in Biological Sciences, Human Sciences and occasionally in Geography and Archaeology & Anthropology.

Clive is a member (and former Chair) of the Oxford University Expeditions Council, helping numerous student expeditions study and explore around the world.

Postgraduate teaching 

Clive teaches conservation and biodiversity in residential field courses on Oxford's MSc in Environmental Change and Management (a course he helped design).  He is a College Advisor to graduate students on courses related to biology, geography and medicine.


Clive is an ecologist and researches a wide variety of environmental management problems.  The central theme of his work is reduction of extinction rates, globally and nationally.  His international fieldwork has monitored a wide range of organisms, identified the threats to them, and contributed to management for them.  These are some of the questions which Clive's research addresses:

Clive was the first to demonstrate that recent extinction rates for many types of organism on land and in freshwater are very similar to each other - and proposed that birds and fish be used as novel indicators to monitor the rates more easily.  He suggested the similarity of extinction rates points to habitat destruction as the main cause of extinction.  He has shown a global extinction rate of 40 species per day is plausible, whilst the extinction rate in England is around one species per month and increasing.


  • Climate science:  what effects do climate change and climate policy have on wildlife?

One of the first scientists to examine the risks and benefits of carbon dioxide emissions, Clive is now leading the argument that renewable energy (incuding biomasstidal lagoonsbarrages, dams and wind energy) are likely to cause more extinctions than anthropogenic climate change.  He accurately predicted the rediscovery of the only species whose "extinction" was firmly attributed to climate change, leading to the 'Snailgate' controversy.  His research into bird deaths from fossil fuel revealed substantial overstatement in the peer reviewed literature and the IPCC assessment.  Clive researches the biological feedbacks which can stabilize or destablize the climate;  these are amongst the greatest uncertainties in climate science - and may expalin why the predictive models 'run hot'.  He proposed a new interpretation of the Gaia hypothesis as 'global stability due to life', and investigates the biogeochemical, ecological and evolutionary processes that maintain such chemically-improbable stability of the atmosphere.


  • Rewilding and sustainability:  how should we manage habitats? 

Clive started the debate on rewilding Britain when his results challenged traditional conservation management.  He defined rewilding as restoration towards greater naturalness - a key aim being to reduce the extinction rate.  Working with colleagues, he demonstrated the increasing value of dark, damp, 'neglected' woodland for many types of wildlife, and the surprisingly high value of conifer forests due to their stuctural complexity and microclimate.  Clive's results demonstrated impacts of activities such as coppicing and benefits of allowing recovery from exploitation management.  This work revealed the risks many species face from forest edges, gaps and over-management - including supposedly 'sustainable' traditional use. 


  • How can we measure, restore and 'offset' ecosystem function and 'services'?

Since 1985 Clive has worked on the Gibson long-term ecology experiment at Wytham Woods, investigating how restored grassland responds to grazing at different seasons, and how to resolve complex management trade-offs between species diversity, vulnerable species and various ecosystem services such as pollination, predation or carrion removal.  This project has demonstrated the long timescales (decades to centuries) often required for attempted 'biodiversity offsetting' by developers - even for grassland.


Articles and books

Hambler, C. (2017)  Beyond Pysics:  Advanced Biology and Climate Change. Guest post, Climate Etc.


Hambler, C. (2015)  Evidence-based or evidence-blind? Priorities for revitalising conservationECOS, 36 (3/4), 22-24.


Hambler, C. (2015)  The British conservation model:  unambitious, irrational and afraid of nature?  A personal viewpoint.  The Systematist, 36, 7-9.


Hambler, C. (2013)  British conservation and climate change - the habitats matter.  ECOS, 34, 33-35.


Hambler, C & Canney, S. M. (2013)  Conservation Cambridge University Press.


Hambler, C. (2013)  Where eagles dare - the wind farms gamble.  Wild Land News, 83. Wind Energy Special Issue.  pp. 9-11. 


Hambler, C., Henderson, P. A., Speight, M. R. (2011)  Extinction rates, extinction-prone habitats, and indicator groups in Britain and at larger scales. Biological Conservation, 144, 713–721.


Hambler, C., Wint, G. R. W. & Rogers, D. J. (2010)  Invertebrates.  In Wytham Woods. Oxford's Ecological Laboratory, eds. P. S. Saville, C. M. Perrins, K. J. Kirby & N. Fisher, Oxford University Press, pp. 109-144.


Hambler, C. (2009)  Comments on the proposed conservation of usage of Testudo gigantea Schweigger, 1812 (currently Geochelone (Aldabrachelys) gigantea; Reptilia, Testudines) (Case 3463; see BZN 66: 34).  Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 66, 982- 83.


Hambler, C., Canney, S. M., Coe, M. J. Henderson, P. A. & Illius, A. W. (2007)  Grazing and “Degradation”.  Science, 316, 1564-1565.


Hambler, C. (2006)  Thank you for Gaia.  Bulletin British Ecological Society, 37, 15-16.


Hambler, C., Henderson, P. A. & Speight, M. R. (2005)  Elephants, ecology and non-equilibrium?  Science, 307, 637.


Hambler, C. (2004)  Conservation Cambridge University Press.


Hambler, C. & Speight, M. R. (2004)  Extinction rates and butterflies.  Science, 305, 1563.


Hambler, C. (2004)  Virgin rainforests and conservation.  Science, 305, 943-944.


Bell, J., Johnson, P. J., Hambler, C., Haughton, A. J., Smith, H., Feber, R. E., Tattersall, F.H., Hart, B.H., Manley, W. & Macdonald, D.W. (2002)  Manipulating the abundance of Lepthyphantes tenuis (Ananeidae: Linyphiiidae) by field margin management.  Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 93, 295-304.


Canney, S. & Hambler, C. (2001)  Biological feedback.  In Encyclopedia of Global Change:  Environmental Change and Human Society,  eds. A. Goudie & D. J. Cuff, Oxford University Press, pp. 100-103.


Foggo, A., Ozanne, C. M. P., Speight, M. R. & Hambler, C. (2001)  Edge effects and tropical forest canopy invertebrates.  Plant Ecology, 153, 347-359.


Ozanne, C. M. P. Speight, M. R., Hambler, C. & Evans, H. F. (2000)  Isolated trees and forest patches:  patterns in canopy arthropod abundance and diversity in Pinus sylvestris (Scots Pine).  Forest Ecology and Management, 137, 53-63.


Hambler, C .(2000)  Painful monogamyNew Scientist 18 November 2000, 66.


Hambler, C .(1999) Gaia’s body.  Global Ecology and Biogeography, 8, 315-316.


Rispoli, D. & Hambler, C. (1999)  Public attitudes to wetland conservation in Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire, UK.  International Journal of Science Education, 21, 467-484.


Chey, V. K., Holloway, J. D, Hambler, C., & Speight, M. R. (1998)  Canopy knockdown of arthropods in exotic plantations and natural forest in Sabah, north-east Borneo, using insecticidal mist-blowing.  Bulletin of Entomological Research, 88, 15-24.


Hambler, C. (1998)  Genes and Gaia.  New Scientist, 1 August, 47.


Hambler, C. (1998)  Ecology, biodiversity and gaia - forging links.  Diversity and Distributions, 4, 45-46.


Baines, M., Hambler, C, Johnson, P. J., Macdonald, D. W. & Smith, H. E. (1998)  The effects of arable field margin management on the abundance and species richness of Araneae (spiders).  Ecography, 21, 74-86.


Ozanne, C. M. P., Hambler, C., Foggo, A. & Speight M. R. (1997)  The significance of edge effects in the management of forests for invertebrate biodiversity.  In Canopy Arthropods, eds. N. E.  Stork, J. Adis & R. K. Didham,Chapman & Hall, London, pp. 534-551.


Hambler, C. (1997)  The new Gaia.  British Ecological Society Bulletin, 28, 101-104.


Hambler, C. (1997)  Gaian feedback  British Ecological Society Bulletin, August 1997, 192-193.


Hambler, C. & Wragg, G. M.  (1997)  British biodiversity overseas: saving the irreplaceable.  British Wildlife, 9, 100-108.


Hambler, C. & Speight, M. R. (1997)  ESUs and the conservation of pests.  Conservation Biology, 11, 304.


Treweek, J. R., Watt, T. A. & Hambler, C. (1997)  Integration of sheep production and nature conservation:  experimental management.  Journal of environmental management 50, 193-210.


Hambler, C. & Speight, M. R. (1996)  Extinction rates in British non-marine invertebrates since 1900Conservation Biology, 10, 892-896.


Hambler, C & Speight, M. R. (1996)  Coppicing and conservation.  Letter Tree News, Spring, 1996, 19.


Hambler, C. & Speight, M. R. (1996)  The underworld of the conifer.  The Field, February 1996, 28-29.


Seaward, M. R. D., Hambler, C. & Aptroot, A. (1996)  Bryophytes and lichens of Aldabra.  Tropical Bryology, 12, 29-33.


Evans, K. & Hambler, C. (1995)  The microhabitat of Tuberta  maerens (Araneae, Agelenidae).  Bulletin British arachnological Society, 10, 101-103.


Hambler, C. (1995)  Future biodiversity?  Nature, 374, 758.


Hambler, C. (1995)  Lopsided lureNew Scientist, 20 May, 48.


Hambler C. & Speight, M. R. (1995)  Seeing the wood for the trees.  Tree News, Autumn, 8-11.


Hambler, C. and Speight, M. R.  (1995)  Biodiversity conservation in Britain: science replacing traditionBritish Wildlife, 6, 137-147.


Hambler, C. (1994)  Giant tortoise Geochelone gigantea translocation to Curieuse Island (Seychelles): success or failure?  Biological Conservation, 69: 293-299.


Hambler, C (1994)  Report on the environmental consequences of uncontrolled population growth.  The Council of Europe, Strasbourg.


Hambler, C. (1994)  Plenty to think about.  Biodiversity Letters, 2, 149-151.


Hambler, C. (1994)  Towards an understanding of rarity.  Biodiversity Letters, 2, 153-154.


Hambler, C. (1994)  The biodiversity bandwagon.  Biodiversity Letters, 2, 155-156.


Hambler, C., Newing, J. M. & Hambler K. (1993)  Population monitoring for the flightless rail Dryolimnas cuvieri aldabranusBird Conservation International, 3, 307-318.


Linfield, M., Raubenheimer, D. R., Hambler, C .& Speight M. R. (1993)  Leaf miners on Ochna ciliata (Ochnaceae) growing on Aldabra Atoll:  patterns of herbivory in relation to goat browsing and exposure to the sun.  Ecological Entomology, 18, 332-338.


Gibson, C. W. D., Hambler, C. & Brown, V. K. (1992)  Changes in spider (Araneae) assemblages in response to succession and grazing management.  Journal of Applied Ecology, 29, 132-142.


Hambler, C. (1992)  Sustainable populations? Nature, 356, 294.


Hambler, C. (1992)  Sink or store? New Scientist, 133 (1809), 53.


Hambler, C. & Linfield, M. (1991)  Harpactea rubicunda (C.L. Koch): New to Britain. Newsletter British arachnological Society, 60, 2-3.


Merrett, P. & Hambler, C. (1991)  Tuberta maerens.  In: J Bratton (ed.) British Red Data Books 3. Invertebrates other than Insects.  JNCC, Peterborough.


Hambler, C. (1990)  Fair coppiceNew Scientist, 125 (1701), 79.


Sterling, P. H. & Hambler, C. (1988)  Coppicing for conservation: do hazel communities benefit?  In Woodland conservation and research in the clay vale of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, eds. K. J. Kirby & F. J. Wright, NCC, Peterborough, UK, pp. 69-80.


Varty, N., Adams, J, Epsin, P. & Hambler, C. (1986)  An ornithological survey of Lake Tota, Colombia. International Council for Bird Preservation Study Report, 12, ICBP, Cambridge.


Hambler, C., Hambler, K. & Newing, J. M. (1985)  Some observations on Nesillas aldabranus, the endangered brush warbler of Aldabra Atoll.  Atoll Research Bulletin 290.


Hambler, C. (1985)  The Aldabra investment.  The Geographical Magazine, 57, 200-204.


Hambler, C. (1985)  Report on the Cambridge Aldabra Rail and Brush Warbler Expedition 1983.  In Expedition Yearbook 1983,  eds. N. Winser  & S. Winser, Expedition Advisory Centre, London. pp. 139-140.


Hambler, C. (1984)  Goat threat.  New Scientist, 104, 46.


Hambler, C., Hambler, K. & Newing, J. M. (1984)  Preliminary expedition report:  Cambridge Aldabra Rail and Brush Warbler Expedition 1983.  Bulletin British Ecological Society, 15, 156-158.


Gibson, C. W. D., Guilford, T. C. , Hambler, C. & Sterling, P. H. (1983)  Transition matrix models and plant succession after release from grazing on Aldabra Atoll.  Vegetatio, 52, 151-159.


TV and radio appearances

Wind Wise Radio                                           14 January 2013

BBC1, TV                                                       Countryfile 24 November 2013

BBC Radio 4 Today programme                   16th October 2010

BBC Radio 4 Saving Species                        12th October 2010

BBC1, TV                                                       Countryfile 23 November 2008

BBC Radio 4                                                  Home Planet 6 August 2002

BBC Knowledge Channel                              The Front Room

BBC Radio Scotland                                      Eco-warriors

Australian Broadcasting Corporation             Radio series on pets

BBC Local Radio                                            Arachnophobia  Autumn 1998

ITV                                                                 Central News 26 January & April 1998

BBC Radio 2                                                  John Dunn Show 29 August 1997

BBC Radio 5                                                  Up all night 6 April 1997

BBC World Service                                        Planet Earth Summer 1996;  The History Hour 20 August 2016

ITV Channel 4 TV                                          The Big Breakfast 1995

BBC Radio 4                                                  The Natural History Programme 1994

Radio and Television Seychelles                   TV News 1990

BBC 1, TV                                                      Mick Burke Award 1988



Hambler, C. (2013)  The British conservation model:  unambitious, irrational and afraid of nature?  Video of debate on rewilding hosted by the The Linnean Society and the Systematics Association.

Hambler, C. & Duchamp, M. (2013)  Does fatal attraction of hirundines to wind turbines threaten populations and species?

The Times                      16 June 2016; 27 February 2014

The Spectator                  5 January 2013, p.20  Wind farms vs wildlife.

The Independent              5 February 2016; 30 January 2009 28 September 2007;

                                          21 July 2007;  21 August 2002;  13 November 1992;  4 October 1992

The Guardian                    2 December 1985;  11 January 1983

BBC Wildlife                       August 1988;  February 1988;  August 1987;  December 1986;  April 1985

Radio Times                      12-18 December 1987;  7-13 March 1987

Country Life                        12 May 1994


Also cited in  The Mail on Sunday (14 June 2015);   The Scotsman (2015);  Forbes (2014);  Breitbart News (21 September 201410 September 2014; 10 August 2016);  The Times (20 September 2014);  The Times(16 August 2013);  The Times (29 June 2013);  The Sunday Telegraph;  The Telegraph (5 January 2013);  The Telegraph (5 October 2010);  The Observer;  The Guardian (5 July 2013);  The Guardian (22 April 2013);  The Financial Times;  CNN website