University researcher collaborates with conservation company to
help fight climate change
Last updated on 1/13/2016 Print this page
A UNIVERSITY of Hull researcher is helping fight climate change
after developing a data analysis system to reduce carbon emissions
in tropical forest nations.
Dr Tom Martin has been working with Operation Wallacea, which
runs biological and conservational research projects across the
The company, based in Lincolnshire, also offers volunteering
chances to hundreds of students each year.
The 18-month collaboration has seen Dr Martin develop a standard
and robust way of determining whether a site is eligible for a
United Nations (UN) grant to protect its biodiversity and carbon
The funding, called REDD+, aims to reduce the rate of
deforestation through financial incentives in tropical forest
The idea is to maintain forests in exchange for establishing
programmes which reduce carbon emissions.
The collaboration between Dr Martin and Operation Wallacea was
forged through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Programme
which helps organisations improve their productivity, performance
and profitability by tapping into the knowledge, skills and
expertise of universities.
To access the funding the sites must be proven to possess high
biodiversity, large carbon stocks, and that they have the potential
to provide sustainable livelihoods for those who live there.
Dr Martin said:
Working on the project has been an amazing
experience, taking me to Indonesia for two ‘field seasons’ and
giving me the opportunity to work with Operation Wallacea and the
University of Hull on the development of this new monitoring and
analysis model. The company will be able to use the model to access
which supports the local communities it works with in reducing
carbon emissions, enhancing biodiversity and promoting
Now a model for assessment has been developed, it will allow the
company to access funding for sites quicker.
Operation Wallacea’s Director of Operations, Alex Tozer,
Being able to demonstrate the value of
developing new conservation management research sites in such a
comprehensive and robust way will allow us to bring new sites
on-stream more rapidly. As well as being good for wildlife,
the environment and the local community, this allows us to respond
to the seemingly insatiable demand for volunteer places on our
projects. We also plan to develop a new consultancy
operation, using the REDD+ assessment model to help other
organisations secure funding for their own projects. This is
a really exciting diversification of our business.
Dr Martin worked closely with a team of academics from the
University of Hull who advised on the project, including Dr. Philip
Wheeler and Professor Roland Ennos from the University’s School of
Biological, Biomedical & Environmental Sciences and Professor
Jonathan Atkins from the Business School.
Dr Wheeler, who is now working at the Open University, said:
It has been immensely satisfying seeing how
our academic expertise can be transferred into this real-world
situation, and the benefits that the new methods will have not only
for Operation Wallacea as a business and research organisation, but
for a world grappling with the challenge of climate change. It’s
remarkable how far-reaching the consequences of this 18-month
project will be.