BES2023 plenary speakers announced

The plenary speakers have been announced for the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting 2023 – Europe’s most welcoming ecology conference.

Delegates at BES2022 gather to hear from the inspiring line up of plenary speakers at the Europe's friendliest ecology event

This December the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting (BES2023) returns to Belfast, bringing together the global ecological community to support new ideas, make connections and increase the impact of ecological science. Ecologists will be able to participate in an inspiring programme of talks, workshops, and networking events suitable for all career stages: researchers, practitioners, and policymakers alike.

Meet this year’s plenary speakers

At the heart of BES2023 are our plenary talks, delivered by four internationally renowned speakers. Jane Stout, Stuart Davies, Yadvinder Malhi, and Isabella Tree will all share the innovative work they have been doing in the field, providing a framework to discuss important topics central to ecology.

BES2023 plenary speakers from left to right: Jane Stout, Stuart Davies, Yadvinder Malhi, and Isabella Tree.
BES2023 plenary speakers from left to right: Jane Stout, Stuart Davies, Yadvinder Malhi, and Isabella Tree

Twelve months in Ecology

The ‘Twelve months in Ecology’ plenary, a personal view of the key topical issues affecting ecologists and their work from the past year, will be delivered by Jane Stout.

Jane is a Professor at Trinity College Dublin, whose work focusses on understanding complexities of natural ecosystems and interactions between nature and people. Her research helps to identify societal and business risks associated with biodiversity loss, and development of habitat management solutions.

Jane is a prominent voice for biodiversity and its value, embedding sustainability as a key priority throughout her work at Trinity as well as the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and Natural Capital Ireland which she co-founded.

The Georgina Mace lecture

The Georgina Mace lecture is a session created to recognise the huge contribution to ecology made by Georgina Mace, a visionary conservation ecologist and the first female president of the BES.

This year it will be delivered by Stuart Davies, who leads the Smithsonian Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO). ForestGEO is a global network of 66 large-scale forest research sites in 27 countries, monitoring the growth and survival of approximately 7 million trees and nearly 13,000 species in tropical and temperate climatic zones.

As Director of ForestGEO, Stuart sets the scientific direction of the network, including site coordination, raising funds, strengthening scientific capacity, and increasing scientific impact of ForestGEO on the global scientific community and the public.

The Presidential Address

The Presidential Address will be delivered by current BES president, Yadvinder Malhi. Since being elected to the role in 2020 Yadvinder has spearheaded the Future of Ecological Research in the UK report and overseen the new BES strategic plan.

He has also been a vocal champion for many of the BES’ achievements during his time as president, including the ‘Connecting schools to nature in North-East England’ project, the BES’ commitment to joining a route map to a more ethnically diverse environment sector, and the UK’s ambition to protect 30% of its land and seas.

In addition to his work at the BES, Yadvinder is Professor of Ecosystem Science at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 2020 he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to ecosystem science. 

The BES Lecture

The BES Lecture will be delivered by Isabella Tree, an award-winning journalist and author. Her book Wilding, the story of the ambitious journey she and her husband, the conservationist Charlie Burrell, undertook to rewild their farm, has sold quarter of a million copies worldwide and been translated into 8 languages. It won the Richard Jefferies prize for nature writing, was shortlisted for the Wainwright prize and was one of the Smithsonian’s top ten science books for 2018.

Since it began, the rewilding project has seen massive increases in breeding populations of rare species such as turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons and purple emperor butterflies. In 2020 Isabella was awarded a CIEEM Medal for her contribution to ecology and environmental management, and in 2021 she received the Royal Geographical Society’s Ness Award.  

Be a part of BES2023

If you would like to be a part of shaping the programme of BES2023, a call for thematic sessions and workshops is now live.

Thematic sessions provide a forum for the exploration of particularly timely, innovative, and important questions in ecology, and for highlighting the integration of disciplines. If you would like to submit an idea click here. Workshops are interactive sessions that encourage networking, skills development, and creative thinking. If you would like to submit an idea click here.

In addition to our plenary speakers and thematic sessions, poster and oral presentations will be selected from an open call for abstracts, which will launch in early July.