Dr Ruth E. Feber

Research Fellow


Research Interests

My main interests relate to the effects of agricultural practice on biodiversity, with my research focusing on the responses of biodiversity, and the complex ecological processes underlying them, to land management interventions at different spatial scales, and across taxonomic groups.

Past projects have included long-term studies on the effects of arable field margin management on plants and invertebrates, a landscape-scale study of factors affecting the biodiversity of farmland ditches, and large-scale, multi-site projects on the impacts on biodiversity of set-aside and organic farming. I have a particular interest in Lepidoptera and have been involved with projects on the impacts of agricultural and woodland management on butterflies and moths.

Other projects have included developing protocols for the ecological monitoring of the Scottish beaver trial release, and working with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust on the ecology and conservation of Triops cancriformis, an rare invertebrate (in the UK) of temporary ponds. I currently manage a project which is a review of threats to the welfare of UK vertebrates, as reported in the media.

I have recently finished editing, with David Macdonald, two academic volumes which synthesize the results of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit’s (WildCRU’s) agro-ecology studies over the last 25 years. I am also keen on promoting research outcomes beyond the academic arena and have written a practitioner’s handbook which disseminates key results from our farmland studies in an accessible format (available for download from http://www.wildcru.org/ ).



Email: ruth.feber@zoo.ox.ac.uk

Selected Publications

  • Feber, R.E., Johnson, P.J., Firbank, L.G., Norton, L., Manley, W., Chamberlain, D., Fuller, R.J., Mathews, F., Macdonald, D.W. (2015) Organic farming: biodiversity impacts can depend on dispersal characteristics and landscape context. PLOS ONE.

    Shaw, R., Macdonald, D.W., Johnson, P.J & Feber, R.E. (2015) Enhancing the biodiversity of ditches in intensively managed UK farmland.  PLOS ONE.

    Macdonald, D.W. & Feber, R.E. (Eds.) (2015) Wildlife Conservation on Farmland: Managing for nature on lowland farms. Oxford University Press.

    Macdonald, D.W. & Feber, R.E. (Eds.)(2015) Wildlife Conservation on Farmland: Conflict in the countryside. Oxford University Press.

    Feber, R.E., Johnson, P.J., Manley, W., Tattersall, F., Smith, H., Macdonald, D.W. (2015) How can field margin management contribute to invertebrate biodiversity? In: Wildlife Conservation on Farmland. Eds: D.W. Macdonald & R.E. Feber.   Oxford University Press.

    T Merckx, L Marini, R E Feber, D W Macdonald (2012) Hedgerow trees and extended field margins enhance macro-moth diversity: implications for management.   Journal of Applied Ecology, 49, 1396-1404.

    EM Raebel, T Merckx, R E Feber, P Riordan, D J Thompson, D W Macdonald (2012)  Multi-scale effects of farmland management on dragonfly and damselfly assemblages of farmland ponds.   Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 161, 80-87. 

    T Merckx, R E Feber, D J Hoare, M S Parsons, C J Kelly, N A D Bourn, D W Macdonald (2012)  Conserving threatened Lepidoptera: towards an effective woodland management policy in landscapes under intense human land-use   Biological Conservation 149: 32-39

    Feber, R.E., Hilton, G., Hutchins, E., Griffin, L., Ewald, N., Pain, D., Biggs, J., Hughes, I & Macdonald, D.W. (2011) Ecology and conservation of the Tadpole Shrimp Triops cancriformis. British Wildlife, 22, 334-341.

    T Merckx, R E Feber, C Mclaughlan, N A D Bourn, M S Parsons, M C Townsend, P Riordan, D W Macdonald (2010) Shelter benefits less mobile moth species: the field-scale effect of hedgerow trees   Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 138: 147-151.

    Smith, H., Feber, R.E., Morecroft, M.D., Taylor, M.E. and Macdonald, D.W. (2010) Short term successional change does not predict long term conservation value of managed arable field margins. Biological Conservation, 143, 813-822.

    Chamberlain, D.E., Joys, A., Johnson, P.J., Norton, L., Feber, R.E. & Fuller, R.J. (2010). Does organic farming benefit farmland birds in winter? Biology Letters, 6, 82-84.

    Butler, S., Brooks, D., Feber, R.E.,  Storkey, J., Vickery, J. & Norris, K. (2009)  A sustainability index for quantifying the health of farmland biodiversity.  Journal of Applied Ecology, 46, 1154-1162.