Professor Alison Hester

Professor Alison Hester

Head, Safeguarding Natural Capital
James Hutton Institute

Professor Alison Hester is Head of Theme: Safeguarding Natural Capital at the James Hutton Institute – a large, international research institute delivering integrated, innovative science addressing global challenges for land and natural resource use. Alison is highly experienced in speaking, facilitating and chairing sessions, with over 25 years actively involved in environmental research and communication, both nationally and internationally. Recent examples of her public engagements include: chairing the two day natural capital summit Valuing our Life Support Systems 2014; invited speaker and panel member on natural capital at the Edinburgh Science Festival, May 2015; invited speaker and panel member on natural capital at the Annual Environment Ireland conference, Sept 2015.

Alison has an international reputation in applied biodiversity research, with a particular focus on natural resource management and drivers of land use change. The research that she manages is increasingly framed in terms of Ecosystem Services (ES) within big, trans-disciplinary research projects addressing management and policy needs – for example how best to manage the land to deliver ES; current and potential conflicts between habitat expansion targets for biodiversity versus changing agricultural production; and how best to ‘incentivise’ land managers. 

Alison serves on several national and international Committees, Boards of Management and Steering groups, including the UK Biodiversity Science Committee, the Natural Capital Initiative Secretariat, the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy Natural Capital Committee and the ALTER-Net Council: Europe’s Ecosystem Research Network.  She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.


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"A great collection of people attending and presenting - and the plenary sessions were awesome - certainly amongst the best I've ever attended"

James Spurgeon
Director, Sustain Value