Dr Matthew Struebig

Reader in Conservation Science,
Leader of the Leverhulme Trust Tropical Defaunation Hub,
Director of Research and Innovation
+44 (0)1227 824924
Dr Matthew Struebig


Dr Matthew Struebig is a conservation scientist interested in the impacts of environmental change on tropical biodiversity and the implications this has for landscape management and conservation. Initially trained as an animal ecologist, much of his work is based in the modified habitats of Southeast Asia and is applied to the conservation of tropical wildlife. More recently he has begun to explore important trade-offs in conservation, working on interdisciplinary projects with colleagues in the social and earth sciences. 

Matt joined DICE in 2010, initially as a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow. He now leads the Tropical Defaunation Hub, launched in 2020 with a ~£1 million investment from the Leverhulme Trust to study the socio-ecological drivers of wildlife population change in Indonesia. The interdisciplinary team comprises specialists in biodiversity, spatial statistics, remote sensing and poverty assessment. 

Dr Matthew Struebig is a member of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology

Research interests

The future of tropical biodiversity will depend, to a large extent, on how we manage disturbed habitats. This raises important questions about how we improve prospects for wildlife, while also supporting people living in these areas to address the broader needs of society.

Dr Struebig's research is therefore applied to the valuation, design and management of modified landscapes in the tropics, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia where he has worked for >20 years. His interests have expanded from mammal ecology to embrace other complicated problems, particularly concerning efforts to reduce human-wildlife conflict or alleviate poverty in tropical countries while fulfilling conservation objectives.

Discover more about the Leverhulme Tropical Defaunation Hub

Other work includes:


Dr Struebig usually contributes to the following teaching:


  • WCON5220: Research Project (in Conservation)
  • WCON5010: Climate Change and Conservation 
  • WCON3111: Principles of Biogeography and Ecology  


Research staff

  • Nick Deere (PDRA): Defaunation modelling in Indonesia (Leverhulme)
  • David Seaman (PDRA): Connectivity conservation in Indonesia (Leverhulme) 
  • Dominic Muenzel (RA): Spatial prioritisation in Indonesia (Darwin Initiative / UKRI)

Current PhD students

  • Ardiantiono: optimising biodiversity monitoring of endangered mammals in Sumatra's Leuser Ecosystem (Leverhulme/GCDC, University of Kent)
  • Robby Butarbutar: environmental and social sustainability of coconut farming in Sulawesi, Indonesia (NERC ARIES DTP; Chester Zoo)
  • Liam Hughes: Restoring biodiversity and functional connectivity in Sumatra’s community managed forests (NERC ARIES DTP; Darwin Initiative)
  • Michaela Lo: Land use change and human well-being in central Indonesia (co-supervisor)(GCDC, University of Kent)
  • Irene (Areth) Pinondang: Conserving mammals in human-managed tropical peatlands of Sumatra (Leverhulme Trust, GCDC University of Kent)
  • Katie Spencer: Interactions between environmental change and exploitation on Borneo's mammalian megafauna (NERC ARIES DTP; Borneo Nature Foundation)

Research group alumni

  • Nicolas Deere (PhD): Informing tropical mammal conservation in human-modified landscapes using remote technologies and hierarchical modelling. Now PDRA at Kent.  
  • Eleanor Stewart (RA): Ridge to reef analyses across the Wallacea bioregion, 2020-2022. Moved to JNCC.  
  • Jake Bicknell (PDRA)Biodiversity and ecosystem processes in human-modified tropical forests (with Professor Zoe Davies, DICE), 2016-2019. Now academic at DICE.
  • Sarah Luke (PDRA)Enhancing environmental resilience in oil palm, 2017-2018. Now at University of Nottingham.
  • Simon Mitchell (PDRA): Land-use change impacts on Wallacean birds,2019-22. Moved to environmental consultancy.
  • Courtney Morgans (PDRA): Impacts of conservation interventions on poverty in Indonesia, 2020-2022. Now at University of Queensland.
  • Truly Santika (PDRA): Impact evaluation of oil palm development and conservation interventions in Indonesia, 2017-20. Now at NRI, Greenwich University. 
  • Freya St. John (PDRA)Tolerating tigers – do local beliefs offset humancarnivore conflict?, 2014-2018. Now at University of Bangor.
  • Maria Voigt (PDRA): Deforestation modelling and impacts of land-use planning in Indonesia, 2020-2022. Moved to environmental consultancy.
  • Jeanne McKay (RA)Tolerating tigers – do local beliefs offset humancarnivore conflict?, 2014-2018. Moved to environmental consultancy. 
  • Jessica Haysom: (PhD) Borneo's arboreal mammals: diversity and vulnerability to habitat change. Moved to consultancy.
  • Natalie Yoh: (PhD) Acoustic monitoring of Borneo's bats. Moved to University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Kate Allberry: (PhD) Population status of Malayan tiger, 2018-2022. Moved to environmental consultancy.
  • Sophus zu Ermgassen: (PhD) Mitigating ecological impacts of the global infrastructure boom, 2018-2022. Moved to Oxford and Copenhagen Universities.
  • Benjamin Lee: (PhD) Urban ecology of bats in Singapore. Moved to National Parks Singapore.
  • Elizabeth Loh: (PhD) Land-use change and zoonotic disease risk in Amazonia. Moved to an academic position at University of Kentucky.  


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