Professor Bill Sutherland
Bill is Miriam Rothschild Professor of Conservation Biology in the department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge.
His main research interest is in building population models based on the behaviour of individuals and then using these to answer a wide range of applied questions, such as the impact of GM crops, climate change, human disturbance or agricultural change. Bill is interested in a wide range of applied conservation issues, especially those involving birds.
Proposing a ‘revolution in conservation practice’, Bill is keen to develop a sound evidence base for conservation, involving collaborations and solid collation of data with a view to informing policy and practice. Bill’s current interest is in researching the interface between science and policy and in exploring means of collaborating with policy makers. This has included identifying the questions of greatest interest to UK and global policy makers and identifying the future issues facing the UK environment.
On Synchronicity Earth:
“Synchronicity Earth acknowledge that conservation is difficult but understand that the organisations they support should, wherever possible, ensure they use the available evidence and should test and learn as they go along. They funded a collation of the evidence on amphibians – that was pioneering in showing what works and what doesn’t work for a neglected group of vertebrates.”
An Interview with Bill
“I think that sometimes there is an expectation that you can precisely demonstrate the effect of your intervention on the species that you’re trying to save, but in most cases it is simply too complicated. What is most helpful is to show that you’re carrying out interventions that are effective according to all the available evidence, and test those interventions where we currently have less understanding of what works.”