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Alistair Auffret

Alistair Auffret
Senior lecturer in landscape ecology. Alistair studies how changes in land use and climate affect community diversity and species distributions.


I'm interested in the role of humans in determining changes in biodiversity and distributions over time. In particular, I want to know changes in landscape and climate during the past century have shaped patterns of biodiversity today. Using historical and present-day maps and species inventories, I look at the changes in biodiversity that have already happened in response to environmental change, with the hope that that knowledge can be used to conserve biodiversity now and in the future.

I am also very interested in the dispersal of plant species in time and space, and how this is driven directly and indirectly by humans through management and landscape structure. Seeds can move in any number of ways related to human activity, while dormancy in the seed bank can act to buffer biodiversity during times of unsuitable conditions. I think that understanding how species move in time and space will help us to understand their responses to environmental pressures and conservation actions.


I mostly teach landscape ecology and field botany for undergraduate students. At the post-graduate level, I develop and lead courses in using the R environment to handle data and perform GIS analyses.

Selected publications

Below are some of my recent and favourite papers. For my full publication list, visit my Google Scholar page.

Montràs-Janer, T., Suggitt, A.J., Fox, R., Jönsson, M., Martay, B., Roy, D.B., Walker, K.J., Auffret, A.G., 2024, Anthropogenic climate and land-use change drive short and long-term biodiversity shifts across taxa. Nature Ecology & Evolution 8: 739–751.
Article (open access). Press release.

Kotowska, D., Skórka, P., Pärt, T.,  Auffret, A.G., Żmihorski, M., 2024, Spatial scale matters for predicting plant invasions along roads, Journal of Ecology 11: 305-318.
Article (open access).

Suggitt, A.J., Wheatley, C.J., Aucott, P., Beale, C.M., Fox, R., Hill, J.K., Isaac, N.J.B., Martay, B., Southall, H., Thomas, C.D., Walker, K.J., Auffret, A.G., Linking climate warming and land conversion to species’ range changes across Great Britain. Nature Communications 14: 6759.
Article (open access). Press release. Piece in The Conversation.

Horstmann, S., Auffret. A.G., Dániel-Ferreira, J., Öckinger, E., 2023, Species accumulation in novel grassland habitats is linked to land cover history, Ecography, 2023: e06704.
Article (open access).

Auffret, A. G., Vangansbeke, P., De Frenne, P., Auestad, I., Basto, S., Grandin, U., Jacquemyn, H., Jakobsson, A., Kalamees, R., Koch, M. A., Marrs, R., Marteinsdóttir, B., Wagner, M., Bekker, R. M., Bruun, H. H., Decocq, G., Hermy, M., Jankowska-Błaszczuk, M., Milberg, P., Måren, I.E., Pakeman, R.J., Phoenix, G.K.,Thompson, K., Vandvik, V., Van Calster, H., Plue, J., 2023. More warm-adapted species in soil seed banks than in herb layer plant communities across Europe. Journal of Ecology, 111: 1009-1020.
Article (open access). Press release.

Auffret, A.G., Svenning, J-C., 2022, Climate warming has compounded plant responses to habitat conversion in northern Europe, Nature Communications 13: 7818.
Article (open access). Blog.

Auffret, A.G., 2021, Historical floras reflect broad shifts in flowering phenology in response to a warming climate, Ecosphere 12: e03683.
Article (open access).

Plue, J., Van Calster, H., Auestad, I., Basto, S., Bekker, R.M., Bruun, H.H., Chevalier, R., Decocq, G., Grandin, U, Hermy, M., Jacquemyn, H., Jakobsson, A., Jankowska-Błaszczuk, M., Kalamees, R., Koch, M.A., Marrs, R.H., Marteinsdóttir, B., Milberg, P., Måren, I.E., Pakeman, R.J., Phoenix, G.K.,Thompson, K., Vandvik, V., Wagner, M., Auffret, A.G., 2021, Buffering effects of soil seed banks on plant community Composition in response to land use and climate, Global Ecology & Biogeography 30: 128-139
Article (open access).

Auffret, A.G. Thomas, C.D. 2019, Synergistic and antagonistic effects of land use and non-native species on community responses to climate change, Global Change Biology 25: 4303-4314
Article. Cover picture.

Auffret, A.G., Kimberley, A., Plue, J., Waldén, E., 2018, Super-regional land-use change and effects on the grassland specialist flora, Nature Communications 9:3464.
Article (open access). Press release.

Auffret, A.G., Kimberley, A., Plue, J., Skånes, H., Jakobsson, S., Waldén, E., Wennbom, M., Wood, H., Bullock, J.M., Cousins, S.A.O., Gartz, M., Hooftman, D.A.P., Tränk, L., 2017, HistMapR: Rapid digitization of historical land-use maps in R, Methods in Ecology and Evolution 8: 1453-1457.
Article. R Package. Data and scripts. Tutorial video. Poster (2016).

Auffret, A.G., Rico, Y., Bullock, J.M., Hooftman, D.A.P., Pakeman, R.J., Soons, M.B., Suárez-Esteban, A., Traveset, A., Wagner, H.H., Cousins, S.A.O., 2017, Plant functional connectivity - integrating landscape structure and effective dispersal, Journal of Ecology 105: 1648-1656.
Article. Summary. Blog.



Digitised versions of the Land Use Survey of Great Britain from the 1930s can be downloaded here.

Digitised versions of the Swedish Economic Map (Ekonomiska kartan) over the whole of southern Sweden are available here.

Digitised maps of the Swedish Häradskartan over a smaller (but still pretty big) area of Södermanland can be found here.

A list of Web of Science journal abbreviations that I created for use in Jabref can be found here.

You can follow me on Twitter, or see more of my photos on Flickr. Not that I post much.



Senior Lecturer at the Department of Ecology; NJ, Landscape Ecology Unit
Telephone: +4618672343
Postal address:
Inst för Ekologi, Box 7044
750 07 UPPSALA
Visiting address: Ulls Väg 16, Uppsala