Adham Ashton-Butt

Senior Research Ecologist

Adham is currently leading the research and monitoring underpinning a large-scale landscape restoration project in Belarus and Ukraine. This is a collaborative project under the umbrella of the Endangered Landscapes Program

Interests & Responsibilities

Adham has a diverse background in ecology, conducting research on everything from soil sustainability to the movement and diet of forest birds. He is particularly interested in sustainable environments, including the process and impacts of rewilding; creating sustainable and biodiverse agricultural landscapes and the direct and indirect effects of landscape structure and anthropogenic pressures on biodiversity and ecosystem services. 

Adham’s broad ecological experience is particularly suited to his current role, where he is researching the potential for restoring large-scale wetlands in the Polesia region of Belarus and Ukraine and the impacts this will have on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Adham works with other BTO researchers: Phil Atkinson and Stuart Newson to assess biodiversity of birds, bats and mammals and quantify carbon storage and fire risk over a 180,000 km2 project region. Furthermore, Adham's role involves collaborating with local experts to analyse and collect data on the distribution, behaviour and habitat use of species of conservation concern, such as the Greater Spotted Eagle.

Beyond work, Adham spends most of his time in the outdoors looking at birds and other wildlife, playing sport or bird ringing.


BSc Ecology (hons), PhD: factors influencing biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in oil palm landscapes.

Recent BTO Publications

Kirkland, M., Atkinson, P.W., Pearce-Higgins, J.W., De Jong, M., Dowling, T.P.F., Grummoe, D., Critchley, M. & Ashton-Butt, A. 2023. Landscape fires disproportionally affect areas of conservation priority but only under low moisture conditions. Science of The Total Environment 884 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.163849)
Wade, D., Ashton-Butt, A., Scott, G., Reid, S., Coward, V., Hansen, R.D.E., Banyard, A.C. & Ward, A. 2022. High pathogenicity avian influenza: Targeted active surveillance of wild birds to enable early detection of emerging disease threats. Epidemiology & Infection Link to publication View at journal website (DOI: 10.1017/S0950268822001856)
Dombrovski, V.C., Zhurauliou, D.V. & Ashton-Butt, A. 2022. <p>Long-term effects of rewilding on species composition: 22 years of raptor monitoring in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone</p>. Restoration Ecology View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/rec.13633)
Väli, Ü., Dombrovski, V., Maciorowski, G., Sellis, U. & Ashton Butt, A. 2021. Spatial and temporal differences in migration strategies among endangered European Greater Spotted Eagles Clanga clanga. Bird Conservation International View at journal website (DOI: 10.1017/S0959270921000411) 14pp

Other Publications

Ashton‐Butt, Adham, Simon Willcock, Dedi Purnomo, Anak AK Aryawan, Resti Wahyuningsih, Mohammad Naim, Guy M. Poppy, Jean‐Pierre Caliman, Kelvin S‐H. Peh, and Jake L. Snaddon. 2019. Replanting of first‐cycle oil palm results in a second wave of biodiversity loss. Ecology and Evolution 9, no. 11: 6433-6443.

Ashton-Butt, Adham, Anak A. Aryawan, Amelia S. Hood, Mohammad Naim, Dedi Purnomo, Resti Wahyuningsih, Simon Willcock et al. 2018. Understory vegetation in oil palm plantations benefits soil biodiversity and decomposition rates. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change.

Jamhuri, Jamaluddin, Liza D. Samantha, Sze Ling Tee, Norizah Kamarudin, Adham Ashton-Butt, Akbar Zubaid, Alex M. Lechner & Badrul Azhar. 2018. Selective logging causes the decline of large-sized mammals including those in unlogged patches surrounded by logged and agricultural areas. Biological conservation 227: 40-47.

Tee, S. L., Samantha, L. D., Kamarudin, N., Akbar, Z., Lechner, A. M., Ashton‐Butt, A., & Azhar, B. 2018. Urban forest fragmentation impoverishes native mammalian biodiversity in the tropics. Ecology and Evolution, 8(24), 12506-12521.

Ashraf, Mohamad, Raja Zulkifli, Ruzana Sanusi, Kamil A. Tohiran, Razak Terhem, Ramle Moslim, Ahmad R. Norhisham, Adham Ashton-Butt & Badrul Azhar. 2018. Alley-cropping system can boost arthropod biodiversity and ecosystem functions in oil palm plantations. Agriculture, ecosystems & environment 260: 19-26.

Yahya, M. S., Syafiq, M., Ashton-Butt, A., Ghazali, A., Asmah, S., & Azhar, B. 2017. Switching from monoculture to polyculture farming benefits birds in oil palm production landscapes: Evidence from mist netting data. Ecology and Evolution, 7(16).

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