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Conservation Research Institute



I am a botanist, plant ecologist and conservationist with an interest in the flora of tropical Africa, in particular West Africa, and the UK flora. I joined the University of Cambridge's Department of Plant Sciences with a Junior Research Fellowship from King's College, University of Cambridge. I carried out my DPhil research in Plant Sciences at the University of Oxford, following an MA in Environmental Studies (Brown University, USA), and a BA in Biological Sciences, University of Oxford.


I am botanist and plant ecologist with an interest in the flora of tropical Africa, in particular West Africa. I work to describe and explain the distribution patterns shown by plant species, particularly globally rare species and locally useful plant species. Hotspots of such species constitute conservation priorities. My work documenting these hotspot patterns has allowed more informed land management decisions to be taken, for example the establishment of appropriate offset areas and sustainable use reserves, and identification of target species for conservation programmes.

I combine fieldwork and plant identification with biogeographic, ecological, phylogenetic and modelling methods. I also enjoy botanising in the UK, teaching botany and local ecology, and undertaking local biodiversity conservation activities.


Key publications: 

Janssens SB, Couvreur TL.P, Mertens A, Dauby G, Dagallier L-PMJ, Vanden Abeele S, Vandelook F, Mascarello M, Beeckman H, Sosef M, Droissart V, van der Bank M, Maurin O, Hawthorne W, Marshall C, Réjou-Méchain M, Beina D, Baya F, Merckx V, Verstraete B, Hardy O (2020). A large-scale species level dated angiosperm phylogeny for evolutionary and ecological analyses. Biodiversity Data Journal 8: e39677.

W. D. Hawthorne & C. A. M. Marshall (2016). A manual for Rapid Botanic Survey (RBS) and measurement of vegetation bioquality. Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

W. D. Hawthorne & C. A. M. Marshall (2019). Rapid Botanic Survey, Bioquality and improving botanical inventory in the tropics by integrating across spatial scales. Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore 71(Suppl. 2), 317-336. 2).2019-21

J. Lindsell, Agyei, R., Bosu, D., Decher, J. Hawthorne, W., Marshall, C. A. M., Ofori-Boateng, C. & Rödel, M.-O. (2019). The Biodiversity of Atewa Forest, Research Report. A Rocha Ghana, Accra, Ghana.

C. A. M. Marshall, J. J. Wieringa & W. D. Hawthorne (2016). Bioquality hotspots in the tropical African flora. Current Biology 26: 3214–3219.

W. D. Hawthorne, S. Cable & C. A. M. Marshall (2014). Empirical Trials of Plant Field Guides. Conservation Biology 28, 654-662.

C. A. M. Marshall & W. D. Hawthorne (2013). Important plants of northern Nimba County, Liberia. Oxford Forestry Institute, ISBN 9780850742282. Available through NHBS

C. A. M. Marshall & W. D. Hawthorne (2012). Regeneration ecology of the useful flora of the Putu Range rainforest, Liberia. Economic Botany 66, 398-412.

W. D. Hawthorne, D. Sheil, V. K. Agyeman, M. Abu Juam & C. A. M. Marshall (2012). Logging scars in Ghanaian high forest: Towards improved models for sustainable production. Forest Ecology and Management 271, 27-36.

W. D. Hawthorne, C. A. M. Marshall, M. Abu Juam and V. K. Agyeman (2011). The Impact of Logging Damage on Tropical Rainforests, their Recovery and Regeneration: An Annotated Bibliography. Oxford Forestry Institute, ISBN 9780850741688.

Geographical region

East Africa
Southern Africa
West Africa
Research Fellow

Contact Details

Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing Street


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