Professor Stephen Redpath

Professor Stephen Redpath

Chair in Conservation Science

Professor Stephen Redpath
Professor Stephen Redpath

Contact Details

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The University of Aberdeen Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Zoology Building, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen, AB24 2TZ, UK.



  • 2007-         Chair in Conservation Science, Aberdeen University.
  • 2019          Elected Fellow of Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • 2019-2022 AT Larsson Guest Researcher, SLU, Sweden
  • 2016-2018 King Carl XVI Gustav guest professor in Environmental Science.
  • 2008-2011 Director of ACES 
  • 1997-2007 Research Scientist at CEH, Banchory.
  • 1990-1997 Research Scientist at ITE, Monks Wood.
  • 1985-1989 PhD Leeds University.
  • 1982-1985 BSc (Ecology) Leeds University.

Research Interests

My core research interests lie in conservation and ecology. My work has focused on long-term and large-scale field systems, using experiments to tease out the impact of population processes and land use on individual behaviour, populations and communities. Current research is focused on conservation conflicts - how do we enable coexistence between livelihoods and biodiversity conservation?

Current Research

CONSERVATION CONFLICTS. I take a broad, cross-disciplinary approach to examine how we understand and tackle the conflicts that threaten biodiversity conservation and human livelihoods. For more information see our website.


Photo: Pete MooreRaptors & red grouse. The impact of raptors on game has been one of the most contentious conflicts in UK conservation. I have worked on this problem since 1985, quantifying the impact of hen harriers and other raptors on red grouse populations through long-term studies and exploring alternative mitigation strategies. I continue to work with others to explore how we can use robust science, stakeholder dialogue and knowledge exchange to resolve these challenging conflicts.


Snow leopards. I am working with Charudutt Mishra and Kulbhushansingh

Darwin-logoSuryawanshi in the Snow Leopard Trust and the Nature Conservation Foundation to help develop and test conservation stratgies that allow pastoralists and snow leopards to coexist in the high Himalayas. This work is funded by a Darwin grant. See here.


Conflicts and adaptive management in Scotland. I am working with Juliette Young, Nils Bunnefeld, Justin Irvine and Scottish Natural Heritage to understand the conflicts that arise over certain species in Scotland and to explore the role of adaptive management. Following our 2012 report we have produced guidance for conflict management principles for SNH and have a PhD student, Petra Lackova, working on these issues in relation to Sea Eagles.


Rabbits, predation risk & myxomatosis. Declines in rabbit populations in Spain have profound consequences for hunting practices and for the wide guild of predators that is dependent on them. I am working with Rafael Villafuerte to test the role of predation risk and disease in preventing population recovery.


Institute for Communities and Wildlife (iCWild). I am working with Justin O'Riain and Nicoli Nattrass to to support the new institute at the University of Cape Town. We have a PhD student, Marina Tavolaro, who is working on conflicts and Community-Based Natural Resource Management ('CBNRM') in Namibian communal conservancies.


Goose conflicts. I work with Nils Bunnefeld at Stirling Univesity and with Johan Mansson, Johan Elmberg, Camilla Sandstrom and Maria Johansson in Sweden to explore conflicts over geese management in Scotland and Sweden.


I am an adjunct member of faculty at the Nature Conservation Foundation in Mysore, India and an honorary research associate at the University of Cape Town, Fitzpatrick Institute.

Currently the team consists of:

Karen Mustin is a Marie Curie Research Fellow, studying the links between governance, equity and biodiversity outcomes in protected areas in Brazil.


Zara Morris-Trainor's PhD is on "The impact of cashmere production on wild herbivores and snow leopards in the Trans-Himalaya" and aims to explain variation in abundance of wild herbivores, demography and performance of wild herbivores and snow leopard/wolf diet and seasonality in livestock predation rates. This research will feed into the development of novel management strategies and ongoing community projects that seek to balance human livelihoods with wildlife conservation.


Isla Hodgson Isla's PhD is entitled: "Predators, tolerance and conflict: determining the drivers of tolerance towards raptors across Scotland". She seeks to understand the role of tolerance in disputes over species management, focussing on raptor species in Scotland, and will explore: 1) variation in tolerance between individuals and social groups; 2) the determinants of this variation; 3) its role in informing attitudes towards raptor management;


Petra Lackova Petra's PhD is on "Wildlife Conflict Resolution and Adaptive Management in the Revival of White-tailed Eagles in Scotland". She is working with land management, science and policy communities in Scotland’s west coast to build shared understandings of the socio-ecological dimensions and practical solutions of the conflict.


Sri Mulyati's PhD is on  Forest tenure conflict in the Kateri Wildlife Sanctuary, Indonesia . She aims to aims to explore governance in resolving forest tenure conflict, particularly on how multi stakeholders and institutions deal with the conflict and work together to resolve it.


Vivi Eilers PhD is exploring the effectiveness of mitigation measures applied to limit the impacts of infrastructure development projects on fauna, such as power transmission lines and roads that cross various biomes across Brazil.


External students

George Swan George is based at Exeter University with Prof Robbie McDonald. His PhD is on: "Understanding conflicts surrounding buzzards, predation and pheasant shooting interests". The buzzard is an abundant generalist predator that is perceived to impact game shooting through predation. Hi focus is on the functional response of individual pairs of buzzards to undertand how their diet is influenced by the abundance of prey and foraging specialisation, using nest cameras, prey remains and isotope analysis.


Chris Pollard Chris is based at Strirling University with Nils Bunnefeld. His PhD is on: "Linking game theory and structured decision-making for the resolution of conservation conflicts." The project aims to use game theoretical and structured decision making methods to understand the rules that govern how parties search for solutions to conservation conflicts, working with conflicts over hen harriers and over geese.


Zac Baynham-Herd is based at Edinburgh University with Aidan Keane. His PhD is exploring how conflicts are conceptualised and how conservationists intervene to resolve them, focusing on a Wildlife Management Area in Northern Tanzania as a case-study. He uses an interdisciplinary approache, combining qualitative research methods with innovative experimental games.


Ranjini Murali is doing her PhD with Dr Charudutt Mishra of the Nature Conservation Foundation in India: "Ecosystem services and human well-being". She is: 1) Identifying and valuing the ecosystem services from snow leopard habitats; 2) Evaluating the effect of grazing on biodiversity and ecosystem services; 3) Evaluating the effect of water harvest for crop production on the primary productivity of the adjacent pastures; 4) Examining the effect of these changing land-uses on human well-being.


Saloni Bhatia is doing her PhD with Dr Charudutt Mishra of the Nature Conservation Foundation in India. Her PhD is entitled: "Understanding human tolerance towards snow leopards and wolves", exploring cultural tolerance towards these predators, to understand the role of religion and conservation interventions in influencing people's attitudes and behaviour towards these predators.

Research Grants

  • 2017-2018 Hen harrier brood management with Freya St. John, DICE and University of Bangor
  • 2017-2019 Advancing equity in Brazilian protected area management. Newton grant with Marcelo Tabarelli, Karen Mustin, Neil Dawson
  • 2016-2018 King Carl XVI Gustaf Guest Professorship in Environmental Science, hosted by SLU
  • 2015-2017 Goose games: developing new approaches to resolve conflicts over rising geese populations in Scotland. Carnegie Collaborative Research Grant, with Nils Bunnefeld, Stirling University
  • 2015-2016 Managing long-term environmental conflict. Funded by KONE foundation. With Taru Peltola, IRSTEA
  • 2014-2016 Understanding Predation. Funded by SNH. With Moorland Forum, CEH, BTO & University of Stirling
  • 2014-2017 Conservation conflicts: understanding the drivers of An increasing global problem. Funded by Science without Borders program, Brazil. With Fernanda Michalski
  • 2012-2014 Managing Species Conflicts in Scotland, funded by Scottish Natural Heritage. With Juliette Young
  • 2010-2014 Art, Science and Environmental Conflict, funded by Creative Scotland. Project exploring the role of artists and scientists in communicating and understanding conflict
  • 2008-2012 EU FP7. Hunting for sustainability. With Irvine (Macaulay) and partners across Europe & Africa
  • 2009-2012 Biodiversa. Ecocycles. With Lambin (UoA) and partners across Europe
  • 2011 Environment Council. Quantifying hen harrier quotas. With Elston (BIoSS)
  • 2007-2010 NERC. The impact of interacting processes on population dynamics. With Dall (UEC) & Haydon (Glasgow)
  • 2007-2009 UKPopNET. Scaling in interdisciplinary research: from plots to catchments to regions. With Travis - PI (Aberdeen) and Pitchford (York)
  • 2006-2008 Spanish Government. Relationships between predation risk and disease in the wild rabbit. With Villafuerte - PI & Ferrera(CSIC)
  • 2006-2008 Spanish Government. Quantifying the predator pit hypothesis: predation and the recovery of wild rabbit populations in Spain. With Ferrera - PI & Villafuerte (CSIC)
  • 2004-2006 UKPopNET NERC. A framework for sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity change and conflict resolution. With White (CEH), Raffaelli (York), Watkinson (UEA), Bateman (UEA), Lambin (Aberdeen) & Richards (MI)
  • 2002-2006 SNH. Habitat use and range management of priority areas for hen harriers. With Arroyo (CEH)
  • 2000-2004 NERC. Red grouse population cycles: territorial behaviour and parasites. With Hudson (Penn State)

Teaching Responsibilities

I coordinate the Conservation Biology undergraduate degree and teach one masters level course, one final year course and one third year course in Conservation and contribute to a variety of other undergraduate courses. I also run a third year field trip to examine conservation issues in Scotland, with Clare Trinder.

External examiner for MSc in Wildlife & Conservation Management at University College Dublin.

Further Info

External Responsibilities

Editor for Animal Conservation (2008-12), Wildlife Biology (2000-06) and Ibis (2003-08)

Member of NERC Peer Review Panel (2007-2010 & 2012 - )

Member of Scotland's Moorland Forum.        

Board member of Heather Trust (2007-2010)

Trustee for Hawk & Owl Trust (2016-2019)

Member of review panel for FORMAS - Swedish Research Grants (2013 - 14)

Member of SNH's Science and Technical Advisory Committee for the Langholm Moorland Demonstration Project (2008-2017)

Member of IUCN Task Force on Human-Wildlife Conflicts (2016-)

Member of IUCN Specialist Group Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe (2016-)

Member of Steering Committee for Snow Leopard Network - (2015 - 2018)


PhD Students



Innes Sim (2013) Diagnosing the causes of Ring Ouzel declines in Britain. RSPB funded. Part-time student with Jane Reid (Ecology).

Chloe Denerley (2013) Impacts of climate and land use change on a brood parasite system – ecological mechanisms & evolutionary implications. With  René van der Wal (ACES, Ecology) & Jeremy Wilson (RSPB)


Kulbhushansingh Suryawanshi (2013) Human-Carnivore Conflicts: understanding predation ecology and livestock damage by snow leopards. Advisor. Nature Conservation Foundation India.

Gina Prior (2011). Climate change, grazing and breeding success in upland birds.

Alexandra Komissarova (2011) Migration decisions in a changing world - mechanisms and consequences

Karen Mustin (2010) Modelling the impact of climate change on migratory birds.

Nacho Villar –  (2010). Grazing, voles and predation – consequences of land use change in the uplands.

Graham Rebecca (2006). Impact of commercial forestry on the population ecology of Merlins in north-east Scotland.

Kerry Lock (2004). Role of nepotism in driving red grouse population cycles.

Linzi Seivwright (2004). Patterns of transmission of T. tenuis in Red Grouse.

Arjun Amar (2001). Conservation of declining hen harriers Circus cyaneus in Orkney: roles of land use and polygyny.