Professor Michelle Pinard

Professor Michelle Pinard
Professor Michelle Pinard

Professor Michelle Pinard

Professor in Biological Sciences


Zoology Building University of Aberdeen Tillydrone Avenue Aberdeen, AB24 2TZ


Professor, Biological Sciences (2015-present)

Director of Teaching, School of Biological Sciences (2013-present)


Senior Lecturer in Tropical Forestry (2007-2015)

Deputy Director of Teaching, School of Biological Sciences (2011-2013)

Postgraduate Taught Programme Coordinator, School of Biological Sciences (2009-2013)

Postgraduate Research Student Coordinator, School of Biological Sciences (2008-2009)

MSc Forestry Programme Coordinator (2001-2012)

Lecturer in Tropical Forestry (1996-2007)


Ph.D., Plant Ecology, Department of Botany, University of Florida, USA, 1995.

M.Sc., Plant Ecology, Department of Botany, University of Florida, USA, 1991.

Secondary Education Teaching Certificate, Eastern Oregon State College, USA, 1985.

B.Sc., Wildlife & Fisheries Biology, University of Vermont, USA, 1982.

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

I am the Director of Teaching for the School of Biological Sciences. 

External Memberships

My current external responsibilities include the following:

Trustee for the Scottish Forestry Trust

Subject Editor, Conservation Letters

Subject Editor, Biotropica

UA Representative for the Society of Biology


Research Overview

My research is in the discipline of conservation science but also pedagogic.

My disciplinary research sits at the interface between ecology and forest use, either for management, conservation or livelihoods.  I work mainly in lowland and montane regions in the tropics, in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Ghana, Brazil and Bolivia. I am best known for my work on regeneration issues in logged forests, carbon offsets in forestry, and reduced-impact logging.  I also work on silvicultural problems related to the selection of trees for felling and retention in natural forests managed for timber.

My recent PhD students work on conservation conflicts and governance as it relates to livelihoods and natural resource use. 

Recently, with colleagues in the Aberdeen Centre for Sustainability and partners in Bolivia and Brazil, we completed a project aimed to understanding how deforestation affects rural people’s well-being.  The project involved understanding rural people’s perspective on poverty and exploring how forest loss and current environmental management practice and policies relate to human impoverishment.

My pedagogic research has focused on capacity building of doctoral students and conservation practitioners, the links between learning, interdisciplinarity and natural resource management or conservation.   I also have an interest in iterative feedback, inclusive assessments, the delivery and assessment of practical skills in the biological sciences and field-based learning.

Funding and Grants

Shared, Plural and Cultural Values of Ecosystems (with J Kenter (UA) and M Reed (Birmingham City University; DEFRA National Ecosystem Assessment Grant).

Forest dependent poor at the agricultural frontier:  the complexity of poverty and the promise of sustainable forest ecosystems in Amazonia (with A Ioris and S Shubin (UA), IBIF, Bolivia, Museo Goeldi, Belem and EMBRAPA, Brazil; Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation Partnership and Project Develoment Grant).

Buffer zone restoration and development in Knuckles Forest Reserve, Sri Lanka (with U Peradeniya, Darwin Initiative).

Biodiversity Monitoring in Forest Ecosystems in Bale Mountains Park, Ethiopia (with BMNP, Darwin Initiative).

Silvicultural intervention in tropical moist forest in Ghana: an assessment of forest responses and stakeholder priorities. Tropenbos Ghana Project. (with E Foli, Forest Research Institute Ghana).

Modelling composition and performance of timber tree regeneration after selective logging. Tropenbos Ghana Project. (with M D Swaine, U Aberden; K Adam, Forest Research Institute Ghana, and F Bongers, Wageningen Agricultural University).

Silviculture and economics of improved natural forest management in Ghana. International Tropical Timber Organization. (with Ghana Forestry Department, Forest Research Institute Ghana, Ghana Timber Millers Organisation).

Rural livelihoods and carbon managementj. Department for International Development, UK. (with S Bass, IIED; P Moura-Costa, Ecosecurities; and R Tipper, U Edinburgh).

Disturbance and regeneration in tropical rain forest: the importance of biotic interactions. British Ecological Society, Overseas Research Programme. (with D Burslem, U Aberdeen; S Compton, U Leeds; J Ghazoul, Imperial College; S Hartley, U Sussex; M Press and J Scholes, U Sheffield). 


Teaching Responsibilities

I am the Director of Teaching for the School of Biological Sciences.

Currently I co-ordinate Ecology, Society and Conservation (EK5510) and Statistical Analysis of Biological Data (BI3010).  I also teach into Frontiers in Biological Sciences (BI1009), Biological Enhanced Skills Training (BI2018), Ecology (BI2020) and Plants, People and the Environment (BI25P4).

I have supervised 23 PhD students, 40 MSc students and 46 BSc Honours students.  Over half of the project students that I have supervised have worked overseas.  For a list of the students and projects that I have supervised, look under the Further Info tab.