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Dr Duncan Westbury

Senior Lecturer in Ecology & Environmental Management

Institute of Science & the Environment

Contact Details


tel: +44 (0) 1905 542461

Dr Duncan Westbury joined University of Worcester in April 2011 with a strong background in applying ecological principles to habitat creation and management. He has extensive research experience on the management of agro-ecosystems to support biodiversity whilst simultaneously supporting ecosystem services within the farmed landscape.

Previously, Duncan has been a lead plant ecologist on several Defra-funded agro-ecology projects investigating methods of promoting biodiversity in arable and grassland habitats.

Key projects have included:


Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice – University of Reading, 2011

PhD University of Sheffield, 2001

BSc University of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1995

Duncan is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the Association of Applied Biologists and the British Ecological Society.

Internal Roles

Member of the University's "Research & Knowledge Transfer Committee"

Member of the Institute of Science & the Environment's "Research & Knowledge Transfer Sub-committee"

Member of the University's "Sustainability Committee"

Member of the University's "Strategic Biodiversity Management Group"

External Roles

Editorial Board for 'Advances in Agriculture', 'Journal of Agriculture and Sustainability' and 'The Scientific World Journal'.

External examiner for Cornwall College (University of Plymouth) FdSc Conservation and Ecology.

News Items

Video links - Interviews and Presentations



I teach on a range of Undergraduate modules (see below). My teaching is strongly influenced by my previous and current research activities in agro-ecology. This involves elements of fundamental ecology through to environmental management and the delivery of ecosystem services.

I predominantly teach students studying:

BSc Ecology
BSc Environmental Science

Undergraduate Modules

Level 4 (1st Year Undergraduates)
ENVS 1012 Environmental Change – Past and Present
ENVS 1102 Basis of Biological Surveying

Level 5 (2nd Year Undergraduates)
ENVS 2010 Research Practice & Professional Development
PERH 2003 Research Methods and Statistics
PERH 2004 Plant Growth, Development and Ecology

Level 6 (3rd Year Undergraduates)
ENVS 3002 Independent Study (Dissertation) Coordinator
ENVS 3103 Restoration Ecology
ENVS 3106 Landscape Ecology



Current research interests address the increasing concerns about environmental change and the degradation and loss of ecosystem services.

The potential of different forages to reduce the amount of methane emitted by dairy cows was recently explored to reduce the environmental impact of ruminant livestock. Specifically, the research aimed to demonstrate the value of enhancing the botanical diversity of species-poor, Lolium perenne grassland.

Other projects have included the sustainable management of species-rich grasslands (SUSGRAZ II) and the development of a methodology for setting indicators of success for grassland restoration and creation schemes offered under agri-environmental schemes.

Key research areas include:

  • Enhancing ecosystem services in orchards.
  • Ruminant livestock production on species-rich grasslands.
  • Habitat restoration, creation and maintenance.
  • Plant community ecology and vegetation dynamics.
  • The impact of pheasants on native reptiles. 

MRes Projects at the University of Worcester

I welcome any approach from high achieving graduates that would like to consider studying for an MRes in Ecology and Environmental Management at the University of Worcester. Topics of particular interest would focus on the delivery of ecosystem services.
We currently have two research opportunities available in collaboration with the RSPB:

Solar Farms and their use by wildlife
Solar Farms and their Management

Please contact me for further details. An application form can be downloaded here.
More details about the Master of Research programme and how to apply can be found here.

Current PhD Students

Megan McKerchar: Enhancing pollination and pest regulation services in apple orchards by supplementing floral resources (Director of studies)

Charlotte Selvey: Understanding the risks of biodiversity loss in PepsiCo's agricultural supply chains. (Thesis committee board member)

Completed PhD Students

Robin Blake: Increasing the biodiversity benefits of existing field margins through novel management practices.

Nisrine Machaka: The ecology, distribution and conservation status of Orchis galilaea (Bornm. & M.Schulze) Schltr. in Lebanon.

Refereed Journal Papers

Refereed Journal Papers

Hammond K.J., Humphries D.J., Westbury D.B., Thompson A., Crompton L.A., Kirton P., Green C. and Reynolds C.K. (2014). The inclusion of forage mixtures in the diet of growing dairy heifers: Impacts on digestion, energy utilisation, and methane emissions. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 197, 88-95.

Blake, R.J., Woodcock, B.A., Westbury, D.B., Sutton, P., and Potts, S.G. (2013). Novel management to enhance spider biodiversity in existing grass buffer strips. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 15, 77-85.

Blake R.J., Westbury D.B., Woodcock B.A., Sutton P. & Potts S.G. (2012) Enhancement of buffer strips can improve provision of multiple ecosystem services. Outlooks on Pest Management, 23(6), 258-262.

Machaka-Houri, N., Al-Zein, M.S, Westbury, D.B., Talhouk, S.N. (2012) Reproductive success of the rare endemic Orchis galilaea (Bornmuller & Schulze) Schlechter in Lebanon. Turkish Journal of Botany, 36, 677-682.

Blake R.J., Westbury D.B., Woodcock B.A., Sutton P. & Potts S.G. (2012) Investigating the phytotoxicity of the graminicide fluazifop-P-butyl against native UK wildflower species. Pest Management Science 68: 412–421

Woodcock, B.A., Westbury, D.B., Brook, A.J., Lawson, C.S., Edwards, A.R., Harris, S.J., Heard, M.S., Brown, V.K., Mortimer, S.R., 2012. Effects of seed addition on beetle assemblages during the re-creation of species-rich lowland hay meadows. Insect Conservation and Diversity, 5, 19-26.

Mauchline, A.L., Mortimer, S.R., Park, J.R., Finn, J.A., Haysom, K., Westbury, D.B., Purvis, G., Louwagie, G., Northey, G., Primdahl, J., Vejre, H., Kristensen, L.S., Teilmann, K.V., Vesterager, J.P., Knickel, K., Kasperczyk, N., Balazs, K., Podmaniczky, L., Vlahos, G., Christopoulos, S., Kroger, L., Aakkula, J., Yli-Viikari, A., 2012. Environmental evaluation of agri-environment schemes using participatory approaches: Experiences of testing the Agri-Environmental Footprint Index. Land Use Policy, 29, 317-328.

Westbury, D.B., Mortimer, S.R., Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J., Kessock-Philip, R., Edwards, A.R., Chaney, K., Lewis, P., Dodd, S., Buckingham, D.L., Peach, W.J., (2011) Plant and invertebrate resources for farmland birds in pastoral landscapes. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 142, 266-274.

Blake, R.J., Woodcock, B.A., Westbury, D.B., Sutton, P., Potts, S.G. (2011) New tools to boost butterfly habitat quality in existing grass buffer strips. Journal of Insect Conservation, 15, 221-232.

Blake, R.J., Woodcock, B.A., Westbury, D.B., Sutton, P., and Potts, S.G. (2011) Enhancing habitat to help the plight of the bumblebee. Pest Management Science, 67(4), 377-379.

Westbury, D.B., Park, J.R., Mauchline, A.L., Crane, R.T. & Mortimer, S.R. (2011) Assessing the environmental performance of English arable and livestock holdings using data from the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN), Journal of Environmental Management, 92, 902-909.

Peach, W. J., Dodd, S., Westbury, D. B., Mortimer, S. R., Lewis, P., Brook, A. J., Harris, S. J., Kessock-Philip, R., Buckingham, D. L., & Chaney, K. (2010). Cereal-based wholecrop silages: A potential conservation measure for farmland birds in pastoral landscapes. Biological Conservation, 144, 836-850.

Woodcock, B.A., Vogiatzakis, I.N., Westbury, D.B., Lawson, C.S., Edwards, A.R., Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J., Lock, K.A., Maczey, N., Masters, G., Brown, V.K. & Mortimer, S.R. (2010) The role of management and landscape context in the restoration of grassland phytophagous beetles. Journal of Applied Ecology, 47, 366–376.

Woodcock, B. A., Edwards, A. R., Lawson, C. S., Westbury, D. B., Brook, A. J., Harris, S. J., Masters, G., Booth, R., Brown, V. K. & Mortimer, S. R. (2010) The Restoration of Phytophagous Beetles in Species-Rich Chalk Grasslands. Restoration Ecology, 18, 638-644.

Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A., Harris, S.J., Brown, V.K. & Potts S.G. (2008) The effects of seed mix and management on the abundance of desirable and pernicious unsown species in field margin communities. Weed Research, 48, 113-123.

Westbury, D.B. & Dunnett, N.P. (2008) The promotion of grassland forb abundance: a chemical or biological solution? Basic and Applied Ecology, 9, 653-662.

Woodcock B.A., Westbury D.B., Tscheulin T., Harrison-Cripps J., Harris S.J., Ramsay A.J., Brown V.K., & Potts S.G. (2008) Effects of seed mixture and management on beetle assemblages of arable field margins. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 125, 246-254.

Woodcock. B.A., Edwards, A.R., Lawson, C.S., Westbury, D.B., Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J., Brown, V.K. & Mortimer, S.R. (2008) Contrasting success in the restoration of plant and phytophagous beetle assemblages of species-rich mesotrophic grasslands. Oecologia, 154, 773-783.

Storkey, J. & Westbury, D.B. (2007) Managing arable weeds for biodiversity. Pest Management Science, 63, 517-523.

Woodcock, B.A., Potts, S.G., Westbury, D.B., Ramsay, A.J., Lambert, M., Harris, S.J. & Brown, V.K. (2007) The importance of sward architectural complexity in structuring predatory and phytophagous invertebrate assemblages. Ecological Entomology, 32, 302-311.

Westbury, D.B. & Dunnett, N.P. (2007) The impact of Rhinanthus minor in newly established meadows on a productive site. Applied Vegetation Science, 10 (1), 121- 129.

Edwards, A.R., Mortimer, S.R., Lawson, C.S., Westbury, D.B., Harris, S.J., Woodcock, B.A & Brown, V.K. (2007) Hay strewing, brush harvesting of seed and soil disturbance as tools for the enhancement of botanical diversity in grasslands. Biological Conservation, 134, 372-382.

Westbury, D.B., Davies, A, Woodcock, B.A. & Dunnett, N.P. (2006) Seeds of change: the value of using Rhinanthus minor in grassland restoration. Journal of Vegetation Science, 17, 435-446.

Woodcock, B. A., Westbury, D. B., Potts, S. G., Harris, S. J. & Brown, V. K. (2005) Establishing field margins to promote beetle conservation in arable farms. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 107, 255-266.

Westbury D.B. (2004) Rhinanthus minor L. Journal of Ecology, 92 (5), 906-927.

Conference Proceedings

Conference Proceedings

Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A., Harris, S.J., Griffith, B. & Tallowin, J.R. (2011) Sustainable grassland management benefits butterflies. Aspects of Applied Biology, 108, 81-86.

Blake, R.J., Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A., Sutton, P., and Potts, S.G. (2011) Improving butterfly habitat in existing grass buffer strips. Aspects of Applied Biology, 108, 67-72.

Sparks, T., Britt, C. Cherrill, A., Marrs, R., Mortimer, S.R., Pywell, R.F., Rotheram, I., Stokes, V. & Westbury, D.B. (eds.) (2011) Vegetation Management. Aspects of Applied Biology, 108, 272 pp. Association of Applied Biologists, Warwick, UK.

Morris, A.J., Bailey, C.M., Dillon, I.A., Gruar, D.J. & Westbury, D.B. (2010) Improving floristically enhanced field margins for wildlife. Aspects of Applied Biology, 100, Agri-environment schemes - what have they achieved and where do we go from here? 353-357.

Blake, R.J., Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A, Sutton, B.A. & Potts, S.G. (2010) Enhancing biodiversity in existing grass buffer strips. Aspects of Applied Biology, 100, Agri-environment schemes - what have they achieved and where do we go from here? 427-432.

Westbury, D.B. & Dunnett, N.P. (2007) The creation of species-rich grassland on an urban substrate. Aspects of Applied Biology, 82, Vegetation management, 123-130.

Mortimer, S.R., Edwards, A.R., Lawson, C.S., Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A, Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J., & Brown, V.K. (2007) Efficacy of methods for using seed of local provenance to enhance grassland diversity. Aspects of Applied Biology, 82, Vegetation management, 39-48.

Ramsay A.J., Potts S.G., Westbury D.B., Woodcock B.A., Tscheulin T.R., Harris S.J. & Brown V.K. (2007) Response of planthoppers to novel margin management in arable systems. Aspects of Applied Biology, 81, Delivering arable biodiversity, 47-52.

Edwards, P., Westbury, D.B., Sutton, P. & Marshall, E.J.P. (2007) Principle considerations for arable field margin establishment and management. Aspects of Applied Biology, 81, Delivering arable biodiversity, 199-205.

Henderson I.G., Morris A.J., Westbury D.B., Woodcock. B.A., Potts S.G., Ramsay, A.J. & Coombes. R. (2007) Effects of field margin management on bird distributions around cereal fields. Aspects of Applied Biology, 81, Delivering arable biodiversity, 53-60.

Ogilvy, S.E., Clarke, J.H., Wiltshire, J.J.J., Harris, D., Morris, A., Jones, N., Smith, B., Henderson, I., Westbury, D.B., Potts, S.G., Woodcock, B.A. & Pywell, R.G. (2006) SAFFIE - research into research and practice. HGCA Conference, Arable crop protection in the balance: Profit and the environment.

Morgan, R., Westbury, D.B., Kliem, K.E., Hervas, G. & Mould, F.L. (2005) The degradation of Rhinanthus minor (yellow rattle) in vitro. Proceedings of the British Society of Animal Science, p. 224. British Society of Animal Science, York, UK.

Mortimer, S.R., Westbury, D.B., Dodd, S., Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J., Kessock-Philip, R., Chaney, K., Lewis, P., Buckingham, D.L. & Peach, W.J. (2007) Cereal-based whole crop silages: potential biodiversity benefits of cereal production in pastoral landscapes. Aspects of Applied Biology, 81, Delivering arable biodiversity, 77-86.

Westbury, D.B. & Dunnett, N.P. (2000) The effect of the presence of Rhinanthus minor on the composition and productivity of created swards on ex-arable land. Aspects of Applied Biology, 58, Vegetation management in changing landscapes, 271-278.

West, T.M., Marshall, E.J.P., Westbury, D.B. and Arnold, G.M. (1999) Vegetation development on sown and unsown field boundary strips established in three Environmentally Sensitive Areas. Aspects of Applied Biology, 54. Field Margins and Buffer Zones: ecology, management and policy, 257-262.

Book Chapters

Woodcock, B.A., Mortimer, S.R., Edwards, A.R., Lawson, C.S., Westbury, D.B., Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J. & Brown, V.K. (2009). Re-creating plant and beetle assemblages of species-rich chalk grasslands on ex-arable land. Grassland: Ecology, management and restoration (ed H.G. Schroder). Nova Science Publishers Inc., New York.


Potts, S. G., Westbury, D. B., Woodcock, B. A., Ramsay, A. J., Harris, S. J., Springate, S., Pywell, R., Meek, B., Carvell, C., Hulmes, L., Warman, L., Sparks, T., Cook, S. K. & Henderson, I. G. (2007) Experiment 2 – Management of the non-cropped margin structure to maximise biodiversity. The SAFFIE Report.ADAS, Boxworth, UK.


Westbury D.B. & Davies, A. (2005) Yellow rattle – its natural history and use in grassland restoration. British Wildlife, 17 (2), 93-98.