Samuel Aizlewood

Samuel Aizlewood


I am a graduate of both Cardiff University and the University of Bristol, having obtained a first class BSc in Human Geography and a distinction in Global Wildlife Health and Conservation (MSc). This mix of academic experience has enabled me to gain a strong understanding of the importance of transdisciplinary work, particularly when it comes to the value of having a strong evidence base for effective decision-making.


My master’s research project entitled: ‘Backyard conservation: factors influencing current and future provision of Wildlife-Friendly Gardens and the scope for conservation initiatives’ is currently in preparation for publication. I have conducted additional research assisting a research team exploring woodland biodiversity and wellbeing and whilst interning with the Sea Watch Foundation in New Quay and the Tomillo Foundation in Madrid. This has been supported by voluntary work producing social media content for the environmental education charity Wild Ideas.


Wildlife and its conservation is something that has always been close to my heart and I am a keen wildlife photographer in my spare time. The value of being able to easily access natural spaces is something that became ever more apparent to me during the last year of lockdowns. As a result, I am particularly keen to explore how the benefits of green spaces to people can be factored into conservation decision-making.

Samuel Aizlewood

Ecology and Biodiversity

PhD title: How and Where Should we Expand UK Woodlands to Benefit People and Biodiversity?

We are living through a period of profound environmental change. Against this backdrop and in pursuit of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 the UK government has pledged to increase woodland cover from ~13% to ~19%. This could have important implications for the conservation of UK woodland species, of whom 53% are currently declining, as well as people’s access to green spaces. Therefore, it is important to ensure that there is a strong evidence base to support decision-making surrounding how and where to expand woodlands.

This PhD is a SeNSS-ARIES project based at the University of Kent and in collaboration with the Woodland Trust. The project will utilise mixed methods to assess private landowner willingness to protect, restore or create woodland, as well as to understand and quantify people’s preferences for different woodland types, species, accessibility, and use/non-use of ecosystem services.

These findings will then be used alongside existing biodiversity data within spatial conservation prioritisation software to determine where best to protect, restore and create woodland to maximise biodiversity and social benefits