Kevin Watts, BSc, PhD

Landscape Ecologist

Kevin Watts

Email: kevin.watts@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Tel: +44 (0)300 067 5600
Tel direct: +44 (0)300 067 5756
Fax: +44 (0)1420 23653

Address:
Forest Research
Alice Holt Lodge
Farnham
Surrey GU10 4LH
UK

Kevin joined Forest Research in 2002, after completing his PhD at the Countryside and Community Research Unit, University of Gloucestershire. His thesis examined opportunities and barriers to landscape scale biodiversity planning.

In more general terms, he has knowledge of ecology and forests from both an academic perspective, as a student, lecturer, and researcher, and in a practical capacity as a habitat surveyor, consultant and practical conservationist. He also has wide experience of applied landscape ecology within forest landscapes, with recent applications at the forest, catchment, region and country scale.

Current role

Landscape Ecologist

Currently working on the development and application of landscape ecology tools, including habitat networks, to support forest/land managers to effectively target conservation action and evaluate the impact of landscape change on biodiversity.  Also working on a number of species-based studies, including movement studies and landscape genetics, to improve the underpinning scientific evidence base.

Current programmes

Landscape ecology
Project Manager

Habitat networks
Development of a number of habitat network strategies throughout the UK

Affiliations and achievements

  • Member of the UK Biodiversity Research Advisory Group (BRAG)
  • Committee Member of the International Association for Landscape Ecology UK (IALE)
  • Member of the Landscape Ecology Group of the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO – 8.01.03)
  • Member of the British Ecological Society (BES).

Research areas

  • Development and application of landscape ecology tools and decision support systems
  • Assessment of functional connectivity
  • Development of habitat networks
  • Studies of land cover change
  • Species–based studies, including movement studies, metapopulation dynamics & landscape genetics.

Main recent publications

Procter, D.S., Cottrell, J., Watts, K., Robinson E.J.H (2015) Do non-native conifer plantations provide benefits for a native forest specialist, the wood ant Formica lugubris? Forest Ecology and Management doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2015.07.034

Synes, N., Watts, K., Palmer, S., Bodedi, G., Barton, K., Osborne, P & Travis, J. (2015) A multi-species modelling approach to examine the impact of alternative climate change adaptation strategies on range shifting ability in a fragmented landscape, Ecological Informatics, June 2015.

Brown, I., Berry, P., Everard, M., Firbank, L., Harrison, P., Lundy, L., Quine, C., Rowan, J., Wade, R. and Watts, K. (2015). Identifying robust response options to manage environmental change using an Ecosystem Approach: A stress-testing case study for the UK. Environmental Science and Policy 52, 74-88.

Humphrey, J. W., Watts, K., Fuentes-Montemayor, E., Macgregor, N. A., Peace, A. J. and Park, K. J. (2015). What can studies of woodland fragmentation and creation tell us about ecological networks? A literature review and synthesis. Landscape Ecology 30 (1), 21-50. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10980-014-0107-y.

Moseley, D. and Watts, K. (2015). Green networks – using a landscape approach to plan green infrastructure for people and biodiversity. Town and Country Planning 84 (1), 34-38.

Oliver, T.H., Smithers, R.J. and Watts, K. (2015). Corrigendum: A decision framework for considering climate change adaptation in biodiversity conservation planning. Journal of Applied Ecology 52 (2), 538. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12396.

Stevenson-Holt, C.D., Watts, K., Bellamy, C., Nevin, O.T. and Ramsey, A.D. (2014). Defining Landscape Resistance Values in Least-Cost Connectivity Models for the Invasive Grey Squirrel: A Comparison of Approaches Using Expert-Opinion and Habitat Suitability Modelling. PLoS ONE 9 (11), e112119. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0112119.

Vanhala, T., Watts, K., A’Hara, S. and Cottrell, J. (2014). Population genetics of wood ants Formica aquilonia in Scotland: the effects of long-term forest fragmentation and recent reforestation. Conservation Genetics 15 (4), 856-868. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10592-014-0584-1.

Bocedi, G., Palmer, S. C. F., Pe’er, G., Heikkinen, R. K. , Matsinos, Y. G., Watts, K. and Travis, J.M.J. (2014). RangeShifter: a platform for modeling spatial eco-evolutionary dynamics and species’ responses to environmental changes. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 5 (4), 388-396. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.12162.

Macgregor, N.A., Watts, K., Park, K., Fuentes-Montemayor, E. and Duffield, S. (2014). Studying past landscape change to inform future conservation. ECOS 35 (3/4), 53-59.

Stevenson, C., Ferryman, M., Nevin, O.T., Ramsey, A., Bailey, S. and Watts, K. (2013). Using GPS telemetry to validate least-cost modelling of grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) movement within a fragmented landscape. Ecology and Evolution 3 (7), 2350–2361. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.638.

Moseley, D., Marzano, M., Chetcuti, J. and Watts, K. (2013). Green networks for people: Application of a functional approach to support the planning and management of greenspace. Landscape and Urban Planning 116, 1-12. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.04.004.

Quine, C., Bailey, S.A. and Watts, K. (2013). Sustainable forest management in a time of ecosystem services frameworks: common ground and consequences. Journal of Applied Ecology 50 (4), 863–867. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12068.

Eycott, A.E., Stewart, G.B., Buyung-Ali, L. M., Bowler, D. E., Watts, K. and Pullin, A.S. (2012). A meta-analysis on the impact of different matrix structures on species movement rates. Landscape Ecology 27 (9), 1263-1278. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10980-012-9781-9.

Oliver, T.H., Smithers, R.J., Bailey, S., Walmsley, C.A. and Watts, K. (2012). A decision framework for considering climate change adaptation in biodiversity conservation planning. Journal of Applied Ecology 49 (6), 1247-1255. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12003.

Eycott, A. E., Marzano, M. and Watts, K. (2011). Filling evidence gaps with expert opinion: The use of Delphi analysis in least-cost modelling of functional connectivity. Landscape and Urban Planning 103 (3-4), 400-409 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2011.08.014.

Watts, K., Eycott, A.E., Handley, P., Ray, D., Humphrey, J.W. and Quine, C. (2010). Targeting and evaluating biodiversity conservation action within fragmented landscapes: An approach based on generic focal species and least-cost networks. Landscape Ecology 25 (9), 1305-1318. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10980-010-9507-9.

Watts, K. and Handley, P. (2010). Developing a functional connectivity indicator to detect change in fragmented landscapes. Ecological Indicators 10,  552-557.

Quine, C. P. and Watts, K. (2009). Successful de-fragmentation of woodland by planting in an agricultural landscape? An assessment based on landscape indicators. Journal of Environmental Management 90 (1),  251-259.

Vanhala, T. K., Cottrell, J., Bailey, S., Handley, P., Morgan, G. and Watts, K. (2009). Genetic connectivity in a fragmented landscape: what can wood crickets tell us?, in Ecological Networks: Science and Practice - Proceedings of the 2009 IALE (UK) Conference, held at University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, 1st - 3rd September 2009. Catchpole, R. (Ed.), IALE(UK).

Brouwers, N.C., Watts, K., Bailey, S. and Newton, A.C. (2009). Measuring woodland connectivity for wood cricket (Nemobius sylvestris) on the Isle of Wight, UK, in Ecological Networks: Science and Practice - Proceedings of the 2009 IALE (UK) Conference, held at University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, 1st - 3rd September 2009. Catchpole, R. (Ed.), IALE(UK).

Watts, K., Quine, C., Ray, D., Eycott, A.E., Moseley, D.G. and Humphrey, J.W. (2008). Conserving biodiversity in fragmented landscapes: Recent approaches in UK forest planning and management, in Patterns and Processes in Forest Landscapes - Multiple Use and Sustainable Management. Lafortezza, R., Chen, J., Sanesi, G. and Crow, T. R. (Eds.), Springer, The Netherlands.

Eycott, A.E., Watts, K., Brandt, G., Buyung-Ali, L.M., Bowler, D.E., Stewart, G.B. and Pullin, A.S. (2008). What is the evidence for the development of connectivity to improve species movement, as an adaptation to climate change? - Unpublished contract report to Defra (Defra Contract CR0389). Forest Research, Farnham, Surrey & Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation, Bangor.

Watts, K., Handley, P., Scholefield, P. and Norton, L. (2008). Habitat Connectivity – Developing an indicator for UK and country level reporting. Phase 1 Pilot Study - Unpublished contract report to Defra (Defra Contract CR0388). Forest Research, Farnham, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Lancaster.

Humphrey, J., Ray, D., Brown, T., Stone, D., Watts, K. and Anderson, R. (2008). Using focal species modelling to evaluate the impact of land use change on forest and other habitat networks in western oceanic landscapes. Forestry 82 (2),  119-134.

Eycott, A.E., Watts, K., Moseley, D.G. and Ray, D. (2007). Evaluating Biodiversity in Fragmented Landscapes: The Use of Focal Species. Forestry Commission Information Note No.089, Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.

Watts, K., Ray, D., Quine, C.P., Humphrey, J.W. and Griffiths, M. (2007). Evaluating Biodiversity in Fragmented Landscapes: Applications of Landscape Ecology Tools. Forestry Commission Information Note No.085, Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.

Dolman, P.M., Hinsley, S. A., Bellamy, P. E. and Watts, K. (2007). Woodland birds in patchy landscapes: the evidence base for strategic networks. Ibis 149,  146-160.

Moseley, D.G., Ray, D. and Watts, K. (2007). Improving forest habitat networks with new woodland planting schemes. Forestry and British Timber January 2007,  14-18.

Eycott, A.E. and Watts, K. (2007). Using a consistent habitat network approach to reduce fragmentation at site to national scales, in 25 Years of Landscape Ecology: Scientific Principles in Practice - Proceedings of the 7th IALE World Congress, held at Wageningen, The Netherlands, 8th-12th July 2007. Bunce, R. G. H., Jongman, R. H. G., Hojas, L. and Weel, S. (Eds.), IALE.

Watts, K., Eycott, A.E., Broadmeadow, M., Ray, D., Sing, L. and Latham, J. (2007). Climate change, habitat fragmentation and the resilience of ecological networks, in 25 Years of Landscape Ecology: Scientific Principles in Practice - Proceedings of the 7th IALE World Congress, held at Wageningen, The Netherlands, 8th-12th July 2007. Bunce, R. G. H., Jongman, R. H. G., Hojas, L. and Weel, S. (Eds.), IALE.

Moseley, D.G., Ray, D., Humphrey, J.W. and Watts, K. (2007). Forest Habitat Networks Scotland. Unpublished contract report to Forestry Commission Scotland, Forestry Commission GB and Scottish Natural Heritage. Forest Research, Edinburgh.

Eycott, A.E., Watts, K. and Griffiths, M. (2007). Continued Development of a Woodland Habitat Network for Wales. Contract Report to the Countryside Council for Wales and the Forestry Commission, Wales, Forest Research, Farnham, Surrey.

Humphrey, J.W., Quine, C.P. and Watts, K. (2006). The influence of forest and woodland management on biodiversity in Scotland: recent findings and future prospects, in Farming, Forestry and the Natural Heritage: towards a more integrated approach. The Natural Heritage of Scotland Series No 14. Davison, R. and Galbraith, C. A. (Eds.), Scottish Natural Heritage, Edinburgh, Scotland, 59-75.

Quine, C., Watts, K., Ray, D. and Humphrey, J. (2006). Landscape ecology: emerging approaches for planning and management of forests and woodlands within Britain, in Forest Research Annual Report and Accounts 2004-2005. The Stationery Office, Edinburgh, 52-59.

Watts, K. (2006). British forest landscapes: The legacy of woodland fragmentation. Quarterly Journal of Forestry 100 (4),  273-279.

Humphrey, J., Watts, K., McCracken, D., Shepherd, N., Sing, L., Poulsom, E. and Ray, D. (2005). A Review of Approaches to Developing Lowland Habitat Networks in Scotland. SNH Commissioned Report No.104, Scottish Natural Heritage, Edinburgh.

Watts, K. and Griffiths, M. (2005). South West England Ancient Woodland Habitat Networks: Scoping Study. Unpublished contract report to Forestry Commission South West England Conservancy, Forest Research, Farnham, Surrey.

Watts, K., Humphrey, J.W., Griffiths, M., Quine, C.P. and Ray, D. (2005). Evaluating Biodiversity in Fragmented Landscapes: Principles. Forestry Commission Information Note No.073, Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.

Watts, K., Griffiths, M., Quine, C., Ray, D. and Humphrey, J.W. (2005). Towards a Woodland Habitat Network for Wales. Contract Science Report No.686, Countryside Council for Wales, Bangor, Wales.

Ray, D., Hope, J. and Watts, K. (2004). Development of a Forest Habitat Network Strategy in West Lothian. SNH Commissioned Report No. 049, Scottish Natural Heritage, Edinburgh.

Humphrey, J., Ray, D., Watts, K., Brown, C., Poulsom, L., Griffiths, M. and Broome, A. (2004). Balancing upland and woodland strategic priorities. SNH Commissioned Report No. 037, Scottish Natural Heritage, Edinburgh.

Watts, K. and Selman, P. (2004). Forcing the pace of biodiversity action: a force-field analysis of conservation effort at the 'landscape scale'. Local Environment 9 (1), 5-20.

Quine, C., Humphrey, J.W. and Watts, K. (2004). Biodiversity in the UK's forests - recent policy developments and future research challenges, in Towards the Sustainable Use of Europe’s Forests – Forest Ecosystem and Landscape Research: Scientific Challenges and Opportunities (EFI Proceedings No. 49). Andersson, F., Birot, Y. and Päivinen, R. (Eds.), European Forest Institute, Joensuu, 237-248.

Ray, D., Watts, K., Hope, J.C.E. and Humphrey, J. (2004). Developing Forest Habitat Networks in lowland Scotland, in Landscape Ecology of Trees and Forests - Proceedings of the 2004 IALE (UK) Conference, held at Cirencester Agricultural College, Gloucestershire, 21st-24th June 2004. Smithers, R. J. (Ed.), IALE(UK).

Latham, J., Watts, K. and Thomas, C. (2004). Development of a Forest Habitat Network for Wales: linking research with policy, in Landscape Ecology of Trees and Forests - Proceedings of the 2004 IALE (UK) Conference, held at Cirencester Agricultural College, Gloucestershire, 21st-24th June 2004. Smithers, R. J. (Ed.), IALE(UK).

Stewart, K., Bourn, N., Watts, K. and Griffiths, M. (2004). The persistence of a key butterfly species Boloria selene (small pearl-bordered fritillary) in Clocaenog Forest and the impact of landscape-scale processes, in Landscape Ecology of Trees and Forests - Proceedings of the 2004 IALE (UK) Conference, held at Cirencester Agricultural College, Gloucestershire, 21st-24th June 2004. Smithers, R. J. (Ed.), IALE(UK).

Humphrey, J.W. and Watts, K. (2004). Biodiversity indicators for UK managed forests: development and implementation at different spatial scales, in Monitoring and indicators of forest biodiversity in Europe - from ideas to operationality. Proceedings of the EFI/UFRO Conference 12 - 15 November 2003. Marchetti, M. and Larsson, T.-B. (Eds.), European Forest Institute, Joennsu.

Watts, K. and Griffiths, M. (2004). Exploring structural connectivity in Welsh woodlands using neutral landscape models, in Landscape Ecology of Trees and Forests - Proceedings of the 2004 IALE (UK) Conference, held at Cirencester Agricultural College, Gloucestershire, 21st-24th June 2004. Smithers, R. J. (Ed.), IALE(UK).

Ray, D., Watts, K., Griffiths, M., Brown, C. and Sing, L. (2003). Native woodland habitat networks in the Scottish Borders. Contract Report to Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Borders Council, Forest Research, Edinburgh.

Watts, K. (2001). Planning for Biodiversity in the Wider Countryside: Recognising Opportunities, Overcoming Barriers. PhD Thesis, Countryside & Community Research Unit, University of Gloucestershire, UK.

Watts, K. (1996). The Ecological Evaluation of Wildlife Habitats: An objective approach using the relationship between species richness and habitat area in Somerset Woodlands. BSc (Hons) Dissertation, University of the West of England, UK.

Recent presentations and seminars

Oliver, T.H., Smithers, R.J., Walmsley, C., Bailey, S., Beale, C. and Watts, K. (2015). A decision framework for considering climate change adaptation in biodiversity conservation planning. Poster presentation at the British Ecological Society Symposium on 'The Conservation and Science/Policy Interface: Challenges and Opportunities' at the Zoological Society of London, Regent’s Park, London, 16th April 2015.

Watts, K., Ferryman, M., Fuentes-Montemayor, E., Park, K. and Macgregor, N. (2014). Using past woodland creation to learn lessons about designing ecological networks. Presentation at Forest Research Seminar Series, NRS Research Station, Edinburgh, 14th November 2014.

Bellamy, C., Watts, K. and Altringham, J. (2014). Using multi-scale habitat suitability modelling to inform bat conservtaion: examples from seven protected areas in northern England. Presentation at the ERT ‘Spatial Ecology and Conservation' Conference, 17th - 20th June 2014, University of Birmingham, UK.

Synes, N., Watts, K., Barton, K., Palmer, S. C. F. and Travis, J.M.J. (2014). Landscape-scale conservation: the role of space and time in the realisation of biodiversity benefits. Presentation at the ERT ‘Spatial Ecology and Conservation' Conference, 17th - 20th June 2014, University of Birmingham, UK.

Smithers, R.J., Watts, K. and Oliver, T.H. (2013). A decision framework for considering climate change adaptation in biodiversity conservation planning. Presentation for the ‘climate change adaptation and landscape planning’ symposium at the IALE European Congress, 9th - 12th September 2013, Manchester, UK.

Oliver, T.H., Smithers, R.J. and Watts, K. (2013). A decision framework for considering climate change adaptation in biodiversity conservation planning. Presentation at the Joint European Conference on 'Climate Change and Nature Conservation in Europe - an ecological, policy and economic perspective' held by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the European Network of Heads of Nature Conservation Agencies (ENCA), 25th - 27th June 2013, Bonn, Germany.

Watts, K., Fuentes-Montemayor, E., Humphrey, J., Peredo-Alvarez, V. and Park, K. (2013). Using historical woodland creation to unpick the ecological networks concept. Presentation for the ‘ecological networks in real landscapes’ symposium at the IALE European Congress, 9th - 12th September 2013, Manchester, UK.

Stevenson, C.D., Nevin, O.T., Watts, K., Ramsey, A.D., Bailey, S. and Sinclair, B. (2012). Sequence Variation and GPS Telemetry Validation of Leas- Cost Modelling for the Invasive Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis. Presentation for the 3rd European Congress of Conservation Biology, 28 August - 1 September 2012, Glasgow, UK.

Watts, K. (2011). Connectivity and landscape-scale conservation. Invited paper for Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts seminar on 'Landscape ecology', 28th September 2011, Shrewsbury, UK.