Alison Beresford

Senior Conservation Scientist, Conservation Science

Background

I study large-scale patterns of change affecting sites and species across the globe, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa and the East Atlantic flyway.

I use remote sensing data and other large spatial datasets to map important sites, identify threats and monitor changes over time. This allows me to answer questions about species distributions, the effectiveness of protected areas and the impacts of environmental legislation, as well as to monitor progress towards global targets and agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity.

I like to explore new methods for analysing spatial data and new ways to use remote sensing to understand ecological processes.

Contact

Alison Beresford

Senior Conservation Scientist, Conservation Science

Scotland Headquarters, 2 Lochside View, Edinburgh Park, Edinburgh, EH12 9DH

alison.beresford@rspb.org.uk

Research Gate

Google Scholar

Specialisms

Identifying problems International species New methods and technologies Protected areas Tropical forests

Selected Publications

Repeatable and standardised monitoring of threats to Key Biodiversity Areas in Africa using Google Earth Engine

Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are sites that make significant contributions to the global persistence of biodiversity, but identification of sites alone is not sufficient to ensure their conservation. Monitoring is essential if pressures on these sites are to be identified, priorities set and appropriate responses developed. Here, we describe how analysis of freely available data on a cloud-processing platform (Google Earth Engine) can be used to assess changes in three example remotely sensed threat indicators (fire frequency, tree loss and night-time lights) over time on KBAs in Africa. We develop easily repeatable methods with shared code that could be applied across any geographic area and could be adapted and applied to other datasets as they become available. Fire frequency was found to have increased significantly on 12.4% of KBAs and 15.9% of ecoregions, whilst rates of forest loss increased significantly on 24.3% of KBAs and 22.6% of ecoregions. There was also evidence of significant increases in night-time lights on over half (53.3%) of KBAs and 39.6% of ecoregions between 1992 and 2013, and on 11.6% of KBAs and 53.0% of ecoregions between 2014 and 2018.

Date
01 February 2020
RSPB Authors
Alison Beresford, Dr Graeme Buchanan
Authors
Beresford, Alison E Donald, Paul F Buchanan, Graeme M
Published in
Ecological Indicators
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Phenology and climate change in Africa and the decline of Afro-Palearctic migratory bird populations

The populations of many Afro-Palearctic migratory bird species have declined over the last 50 years, for reasons that remain poorly understood, but which could include major environmental changes in Africa.

Date
04 March 2019
RSPB Authors
Alison Beresford, Dr Fiona Sanderson, Dr Paul Donald, Prof Juliet Vickery, Dr Graeme Buchanan
Authors
Beresford, A. E. Sanderson, F. J. Donald, P. F. Burfield, I. J. Butler, A. Vickery, J. A. Buchanan, G. M.
Published in
Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation 5(1): 55-69.
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Correlates of long-term land-cover change and protected area performance at priority conservation sites in Africa

The loss of natural habitats is a major threat to biodiversity, and protected area designation is one of the standard responses to this threat. However, greater understanding of the drivers of habitat loss and of the circumstances under which protected areas succeed or fail is still needed. We use visual assessment ...

Date
01 March 2018
RSPB Authors
Alison Beresford, Dr Graeme Buchanan
Authors
Beresford, A. E., Buchanan, G. M., Phalan, B., Eshiamwata, G. W., Balmford, A., Brink, A. B., Fishpool, L. D. C., Donald, P. F.
Published in
Environmental Conservation 45: 49-57
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The contributions of the EU Nature Directives to the CBD and other multilateral environmental agreements

Through a review of published studies and new analyses of publicly available data, we assess how the European Union (EU) Nature Directives complements the CBD strategic goals for 2020 as set out in the 20 Aichi Targets, thereby addressing a question posed by the European Commission about the coherence of the Directives with other international biodiversity...

Date
01 June 2016
RSPB Authors
Alison Beresford, Dr Graeme Buchanan, Dr Fiona Sanderson, Dr Rebecca Jefferson
Authors
Beresford, A.E., Buchanan, G.M., Sanderson, F.J., Jefferson, R. & Donald, P.F.
Published in
Conservation Letters
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Protection reduces loss of natural land-cover at sites of conservation importance across Africa

There is an emerging consensus that protected areas are key in reducing adverse land-cover change, but their efficacy remains difficult to quantify. Many previous assessments of protected area effectiveness ...

Date
29 May 2013
RSPB Authors
Dr Graeme Buchanan, Dr Paul Donald
Authors
Beresford, A.E., Eshiamwata, G.W., Donald, P.F., Balmford, A., Bertzky, B., Brink, A.B., Fishpool, L.D.C., Mayaux, P., Phalan, B., Simonetti, D. & Buchanan, G.M.
Published in
PLoS ONE
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