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Alistair Auffret

Alistair Auffret
Senior lecturer in landscape ecology. Alistair is a plant and landscape ecologist who studies how changes in land use and climate affect plant species in the landscape.


I'm interested in the role of humans in determining changes in plant 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.

Selected publications

Kotowska, D., Pärt, T., Skórka, P., Auffret, A.G., Żmihorski, M., 2022, Scale dependence of landscape heterogeneity effects on plant invasions, Journal of Applied Ecology. Early View.

Auffret, A.G.,  Ekholm, A., Hämäläinen, A., Jonsell, M., Lehto, C., Nordkvist, M., Öckinger, E., Torstensson, P., Viketoft, M., Thor, G., 2022, Can field botany be effectively taught as a distance course? Experiences and reflections from the COVID-19 pandemic. AoB Plants 14: plab079.
Article (open access).

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).

Boakes, E.H., Fuller, R.A., Mace, G.M., Ding, C., Ang, T.T., Auffret, A.G., Clark, N.E., Dunn, J., Gilbert, J., Golovnyuk, V., Gupta, G., Irlich, U., Joachim, E., O’Connor, K., Potapov, E., Potapov, R., Schleicher, J., Stebbing, S., Townshend, T., McGowan, P.J.K., 2020, GalliForm, a database of Galliformes occurrence records from the Indo-Malay and Palaearctic, 1800–2008, Scientific Data 7:344
Article (open access).

Josefsson, J., Hiron, M., Arlt, D., Auffret, A.G., Berg, Å, Chevalier, M., Glimskär, A., Hartman, G., Kačergytė, I., Klein, J., Knape, J., Laugen A. T., Low, M., Paquet, M., Pasanen-Mortensen, M., Rosin, Z., Rubene, D., Żmihorski, M., Pärt, T., 2020, Improving scientific rigour in conservation evaluations and a plea deal for transparency on potential biases, Conservation Letters: e12726
Article (open access).

Auffret, A.G., Lindgren, E., 2020, Roadside diversity in relation to age and surrounding source habitat: evidence for long time lags in valuable green infrastructure, Ecological Solutions & Evidence 1: e12005
Article (open access). Video (2 minutes).

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.

Aggemyr, A., Auffret, A.G., Jädergård, L., Cousins, S.A.O., 2018, Species richness and composition differ in response to landscape and biogeography, Landscape Ecology 33:2273–2284.
Article (open access).

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.

Suggitt, A.J., Wilson, R.J., Isaac, N.J.B., Beale, C.M., Auffret, A.G., August, T., Bennie, J.J., Crick, H.P.Q., Duffield, S., Fox, R., Hopkins, J.J., Macgregor, N.A., Morecroft, M.D., Walker, K.J., Maclean, I.M.D., 2018, Extinction risk from climate change is reduced by microclimatic buffering, Nature Climate Change 8: 713-717.
Article. Piece in The Conversation.

Auffret, A.G., Cousins, S.A.O., 2018, Land uplift creates important meadow habitat and a potential original niche for grassland species, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: 20172349.
Article. Summary.

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.

Auffret, A.G., Aggemyr, E., Plue, J., Cousins, S.A.O., 2017, Spatial scale and specialization affect how biogeography and functional traits predict long-term patterns of community turnover. Functional Ecology 31: 436-443.
Article. Summary. Virtual Issue. Poster (2015).

Plue, J., Colas, F., Auffret, A.G., Cousins, S.A.O., 2017, Methodological bias in the seed bank flora holds significant implications for understanding seed bank community functions. Plant Biology 19: 201-210.

Albert, A., Auffret, A.G., Cosyns, E., Cousins, S.A.O., D'hont, B., Eichberg, C., Eycott, A.E., Heinken, T., Hoffmann, M., Jaroszewicz, B., Malo, J.E., Mårell, A., Mouisie, M., Pakeman, R.J., Picard, M., Plue, J., Poschlod, P., Provoost, S., Schulze, K.A., Baltzinger, C., 2015, Seed dispersal by ungulates as an ecological filter: a trait-based meta-analysis. Oikos 124: 1109-1120.
Article (Editor's Choice).

Auffret, A.G., Plue, J., Cousins, S.A.O., 2015, The spatial and temporal components of functional connectivity in fragmented landscapes. Ambio 44 (Suppl. 1): 51-59.
Article (open access).

Cousins, S.A.O., Auffret, A.G., Lindgren, J., Tränk, L., 2015, Regional-scale land-cover change during the 20th century and its consequences for biodiversity. Ambio 44 (Suppl. 1): 17-27.
Article (open access). Press release.

Auffret, A.G., Berg, J., Cousins, S.A.O., 2014, The geography of human-mediated dispersal, Diversity and Distributions 20: 1450-1456.
Article (free access). Poster (2013).

Auffret, A.G., Plue, J., 2014, Scale-dependent diversity effects of seed dispersal by a wild herbivore in fragmented grasslands, Oecologia 175: 305-313.
Article. Poster (2014).

Auffret, A.G., Cousins, S.A.O., 2013, Grassland connectivity by motor vehicles and grazing livestock, Ecography 36: 1150-1157.
Article. Press coverage. Blog coverage. Poster (2011).

Auffret, A.G., Cousins, S.A.O., 2013, Humans as long-distance dispersers of rural plant communities, PLoS ONE 8: e62763.
Article (open access).

Auffret, A.G., Schmucki, R., Reimark, J., Cousins, S.A.O., 2012, Grazing networks provide useful functional connectivity for plants in fragmented systems, Journal of Vegetation Science 23: 970-977.

Auffret, A.G., Cousins, S.A.O., 2011, Past and present land use influences the seed bank and seed rain in a rural landscape mosaic, Journal of Applied Ecology 48: 1278-1285.
Article (free access).

Auffret, A.G., 2011, Can seed dispersal by human activity play a useful role for the conservation of European grasslands?, Applied Vegetation Science 14: 291-303.

Auffret, A.G., Meineri, E., Bruun, H. H., Ejrnæs, R., Graae, B. J., 2010, Ontogenetic niche shifts in three Vaccinium species on a sub-alpine mountain side, Plant Ecology & Diversity 3: 131-139.


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.

Social and projects
You can follow me on Twitter, or see more of my photos on Flickr.

I'm involved in the BiodivERsA FUNgreen project looking at plant functional connectivity and green infrastructure.


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