Rob Fuller

Honorary Research Fellow

Following many years as a Director of Science at the BTO, in November 2015 Rob retired as a member of staff.  As a BTO Research Fellow he continues to research and write on topics mainly relating to forestry, habitat management and conservation strategies.

Interests & Responsibilities

  • Rob has extensive experience of working on responses of biodiversity, especially birds, to land-use change and habitat management, mainly in agricultural and forest systems. Principal or co-investigator on >30 biodiversity projects in the last 20 years, contributing to the evidence base for policy and practice.
  • Factors influencing spatial and temporal variation in temperate woodland and shrubland bird communities have been a long-term and ongoing research interest.   He has recently co-edited a book on Ecology and Conservation of Forest Birds published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press.
  • Particular interests are the ecological effects of changing vegetation structure and plant composition arising through processes such as increased deer browsing, shifts in woodland management and the emergence of ash dieback.  Understanding the effects of these processes is essential for developing sound habitat management.
  • Rob works with conservation practitioners through (i) application of ecological knowledge in habitat management, restoration and creation, and (ii) development of habitat-based conservation strategies.  He also collaborates with historians to understand whether useful insights for conservation can be gained from knowledge of past land use.
  • The ecology of breeding waders, especially their habitat selection and responses to land-use change has fascinated him for over 30 years. This interest has been pursued almost exclusively in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. 
  • Rob supervised Bird Atlas 2007-11: The breeding and wintering birds of Britain and Ireland. He edited a major review on bird-habitat relationships, published by Cambridge University Press in November 2012: Birds and Habitat: Relationships in Changing Landscapes.

Other Information

Honorary Professor, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia. 
The RSPB Medal fo services to nature conservation, awarded 2014.
Godman-Salvin Medal of the British Ornithologists' Union, awarded 2013.


BSc Zoology (1st Class), Imperial College, London University 1973 PhD University of London (external), ‘Composition and structure of bird communities in Britain’ 1987

Recent BTO Publications

Fuller, R. 2021. Woodland management and birds. Part 2. Conservation measures and strategies. Quarterly Journal of Forestry 115 (part 4) : 238-244
Fuller, R. 2021. Woodland management and birds. Part 1. Sylvicultural systems and tree species.. Quarterly Journal of Forestry 115 : 168-174
Fuller, R.J. & Green, T. 2020. Breeding bird communities within a parkland-woodland continuum: the distinctiveness of wood-pasture. Arboricultural Journal View at journal website (DOI: 10.1080/03071375.2020.1767965)
Siriwardena, G.M., Henderson, I.G., Noble, D.G., & Fuller, R.J. 2019. How can assemblage structure indices improve monitoring of change in bird communities using ongoing survey data?. Ecological Indicators 104 : 669-685 Link to publication View at journal website (DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.05.046) 17pp
Gillings, S., Balmer, D.E., Caffrey, B.J., Downie, I.S., Gibbons, D.W., Lack, P.C., Reid, J.B., Sharrock, J.T.R., Swann, R.L. & Fuller, R.J. 2019. Breeding and wintering bird distributions in Britain and Ireland from citizen science bird atlases. Global Ecology and Biogeography 28 : 866-874 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/geb.12906)

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