Dominick Spracklen


Humans are altering the composition of the atmosphere and transforming ecosystems with impacts on climate and the Earth System. Our research aims to understand interactions between the biosphere, atmosphere and climate and the ways that these are being altered by human activity.

Recent work

How effective are protected areas at preventing deforestation?

We use high resolution data on forest loss to assess whether tropical forest protected areas prevent deforestation. The figure shows national median performance of protected areas, calculated as forest loss within the protected areas compared to forest loss outside. A lower value indicates a country with better protected areas. We find protected areas do slow deforestation but with very variable performance. Some countries have very effective protected areas (Australia, South Africa, Mexico, Panama, Belize, Costa Rica, Thailand, Brazil, Laos) whereas in other countries protected areas do little to prevent forest loss (China, India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Ecuador, Honduras, Venezuela). Our analysis confirms that "paper parks" do exist in many countries and highlights the urgent need for better management of protected areas.

Spracklen et al., Plos One, 2015

Research Archive


November 2015 Media coverage of our recent GRL paper on Amazon deforestation: Mongabay,

September 2015 Our Nature Geoscience paper received some media coverage including: BBC Brazil, National Geographic Brazil, Estado, Noticias, and Mongabay.

September 2015 A News and Views article on our recent paper on deforestationa and air quality.

July 2015 Firing photosynthesis - Research highlight in Nature Climate Change on our recent paper on fires, aerosol, diffuse radiation and forest carbon

March 2015 We have a funded PhD with World Land Trust to study forest degradation and restoration in Vietnam. Apply here, deadline 8th April.

March 2015 Douglas Hamilton awarded a Postgraduate Researcher Publication Prize 2014/2015.

August 2014 Cat Scott has been awarded a Springer Thesis Prize, awarded for an outstanding PhD thesis showing "scientific excellence and impact on research"..

July 2014 The first field campaign of our ORC3 project on marine organics is underway at the NCAS Cape Verde observatory. Updates soon from Hannah and others on their blog.

May 2014 The Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forests (LEAF) Research Centre gets a website. Bringing together research on forests from across the University of Leeds. And we have a logo:

News Archive