Tom White


I am a conservation scientist interested in how we can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of biodiversity conservation actions, to ensure they are delivering the conservation gains required to address the biodiversity crisis and meet global targets. Having originally trained in Biological Sciences and Conservation Science, I have recently completed a PhD with the Conservation Evidence group in Cambridge University using a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate how we can improve the cost-effectiveness of conservation action.

I also have several years of experience in environmental consultancy where I have developed a particular interest in the role of the private sector in addressing their negative biodiversity impacts, and in delivering conservation action. This has recently formed a large proportion of my work, and I continue to work part time at The Biodiversity Consultancy, to help develop collaborative research projects that cross the research-practice boundary.

Research Interests

My research has focussed in two major areas to present: 1) understanding how we can better engage, and improve the biodiversity outcomes from private sector engagement with biodiversity conservation; and 2) how we can collect and better use evidence to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of actions to protect and restore biodiversity.

Current Research

My current research looks at the actions needed across the Mitigation & Conservation Hierarchy to reach global biodiversity goals, with a particular focus on the approaches taken by businesses to measure, reduce and compensate for their impacts. The research forms part of the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery as part of the Integration work package.

Brief CV

2023-present – Postdoctoral Researcher (part time) – University of Oxford, UK.

2023-present – Consultant (part time) – The Biodiversity Consultancy, UK.

2019-2023 – PhD in Conservation Science (Zoology) – awaiting examination – University of Cambridge, UK.

2018-2019 – Researcher/Consultant – The Biodiversity Consultancy, UK.

2017-2018 – MSc Conservation Science – Imperial College London, UK.

2015-2017 – Environmental Consultant – Earth Systems, UK/Australia

2012-2015 – BA Biological Sciences – University of Oxford, UK

Published papers

Improving decision-making, and cost-effectiveness of conservation

  • White, T.B., Petrovan, S., Christie, A., Martin, P., & Sutherland, W. (2022), What is the price of conservation: a review of the status quo and recommendations for improved cost reporting. BioScience.
  • White, T.B., Petrovan, S., Booth, H., Correa, R. J., Gatt, Y., Martin, P. A., … & Sutherland, W. J. (2022). Determining the economic costs and benefits of conservation actions: a framework to support decision making. Conservation Science & Practice.
  • White T.B., Amano T., Boersch-Supan P.H., Christie A.P., Freckleton R.P., Quinzin M., Rezaie A., Sutherland W.J., Yamashita H. (2022). Gathering and Assessing Pieces of Evidence. Page in W. J. Sutherland, editor. Transforming Conservation: A Practical Guide to Evidence and Decision Making. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge
  • Christie, A. P*., White, T.B*., Martin, P. A., Petrovan, S. O., Bladon, A. J., Bowkett, A. E., … & Sutherland, W. J. (2021). Reducing publication delay to improve the efficiency and impact of conservation science. PeerJ. *Joint First Authors
  • Christie, A.P., Morgan, W.H., Salafsky, N., White, T.B., Irvine, R., Boenisch, N., Chiaravalloti, R.F., Kincaid, K., Rezaie, A.M., Yamashita, H., Sutherland, W.J. (in review). Assessing diverse evidence to improve conservation decision-making. Available as a preprint:
  • Miller J., White T.B., Christie A.P. (2023) Parachute conservation. Investigating trends in international research. Conservation Letters.
  • Downey, H., … White, T.B., & Sutherland, W.J. (2022). Principles for the production of evidence-based guidance for conservation actions. Conservation Science and Practice. 
  • Christie, A. P., Downey, H., Frick, W. F., Grainger, M., O’Brien, D., Tinsley‐Marshall, P., … White, T.B & Sutherland, W. J. (2021). A practical conservation tool to combine diverse types of evidence for transparent evidence‐based decision‐making. Conservation Science and Practice, e579.

Business action to address biodiversity impacts

  • White T.B., Bennun L.A., Butterworth T, Christie A.P., Downey H., Hunter S.B, Jobson B.J., Petrovan S.O., zu Ermgassen S.O.S.E. & Sutherland W.J (2023) Principles for the use of evidence to guide business action to mitigate biodiversity impacts. Business Strategy and the Environment.
  • White, T.B., Mukherjee, N., Petrovan, S. & Sutherland, W (2023) Understanding the use of information to guide business decision making surrounding actions to mitigate biodiversity impacts. Environmental Science & Policy.
  • White, T. B., Viana, L. R., Campbell, G., Elverum, C., & Bennun, L. A. (2021). Using technology to improve the management of development impacts on biodiversity. Business Strategy and the Environment.
  • White, T. B., Bull, J. W., Toombs, T. P., & Knight, A. T. (2021). Uncovering opportunities for effective species conservation banking requires navigating technical and practical complexities. Conservation Science and Practice, e431.
  • Jones, K., Von Hase, A., Grantham, H., White, T.B., Jobson, B., Costa, H. & Rainey, H (2022) Spatial analysis to inform the mitigation hierarchy. Conservation Science & Practice.
  • Bennun, L., Lapeyre, R., Maclet, C., Chalikonda, T., Lindon, A., Meyers, D., Mitchell, R., Ng, C., Phair, N., Putri, T., Temple, H., White, T.B., Williams, G. & Starkey, M. (2021) Public development banks and biodiversity. How PDBs can align with the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Paris, WWF France.
  • Ng, C., White, T.B., Katariya, V., & Pollard, E. (2020). Geothermal power generation and biodiversity: the business case for managing risk and creating opportunity. In Proceedings World Geothermal Congress.
  • Jacob, C., van Bochove, J. W., Livingstone, S., White, T.B., Pilgrim, J., & Bennun, L. (2020). Marine biodiversity offsets: Pragmatic approaches toward better conservation outcomes. Conservation Letters13(3), e12711.

Pandemic risk & decision-Making

  • Petrovan, S. O., Aldridge, D. C., Bartlett, H., Bladon, A. J., Booth, H., Broad, S., …White, T.B., & Sutherland, W. J. (2021). Post COVID‐19: a solution scan of options for preventing future zoonotic epidemics. Biological Reviews96(6), 2694-2715.
  • Sutherland, W. J., Taylor, N. G., Aldridge, D. C., Martin, P., Rhodes, C., Shackelford, G., …White, T.B., & Petrovan, S. O. (2021). A solution scan of societal options to reduce transmission and spread of respiratory viruses: SARS-CoV-2 as a case study. Journal of biosafety and biosecurity3(2), 84-90.