Adham Ashton-Butt

Senior Research Ecologist

An experienced field biologist and analyst in the Framing Futures team, Adham takes a broad multi-taxa approach to understand how best to modify or restore landscapes for the conservation of biodiversity, adaptation to environmental change (e.g. climate change), the ecosystem services provided and the trade-offs between these. Adham is an expert at the use of passive acoustic monitoring to monitor a diverse range of often cryptic taxa.

Interests & Responsibilities

Recent projects have included leading the research and monitoring underpinning a large-scale 5-year landscape restoration project in the Polesia region of Belarus and Ukraine, a collaborative project under the umbrella of the Endangered Landscapes and Seascapes Programme.

Adham has advised and been involved with other ELSP projects in Scotland, Romania and Portugal and, with Máire Kirkland, developed models looking at the role of climate and edaphic factors (e.g. soil moisture) on the size and intensity of wildfires in Portugal and Polesia.

PhD Supervision

  • Charlie Russell, 2023-present: Identifying multi-scale exposure of anthropogenic threats to migratory birds
  • Ruari Marshall-Hawkes, 2023-present: Quantifying the Biodiversity Impact of Land Management Practices using Bioacoustics and Machine Learning
  • Joycelyn Longdon, 2021–present: Monitoring Ghanaian Forests with Bioacoustics, Machine Learning and Indigenous Knowledge
  • Jennifer MacIsaac, 2021-present: Calling in the wilderness: the use of Passive Acoustic Monitoring in biodiversity surveys
  • Daniel Wade 2018-2023: The epizootiology of avian influenza in wild birds and its risk to the UK poultry sector

Other information

  • Honorary Lecturer, University of East Anglia
  • Visiting Fellow University of Leeds


  • BSc (Hons): Environmental and Ecological Biology, Newcastle University, 2010-2013 
  • PhD: Factors influencing biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in oil palm landscapes, University of Southampton, 2015-2018

Recent BTO Publications

Russell, C., Franco, A., Atkinson, P., Väli, Ü. & Ashton-Butt, A. 2024. Active European warzone impacts raptor migration. Current Biology 35 : 2 272-2 277 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2024.04.047)
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. Long-term effects of rewilding on species composition: 22 years of raptor monitoring in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. 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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