Dr Francine Hughes

Reader in Wetland Ecology and Conservation
Anglia Ruskin University



I am a member of the Animal and Environment Research Group within the Department of Life Sciences.

My current, major research interest is in the development of conceptual and practical approaches to monitoring and evaluating trajectories of ecological change in large-scale wetland restoration projects. With my colleague Pete Stroh, I received research funding for the period 2007-2012 (£220,000) from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, to set up an eco-hydrological monitoring programme and to develop protocols for evaluation of re-naturalised wetland habitats at the Great Fen Project and at the Wicken Fen Vision Project.

I am also involved in a research project that has designed a toolkit for measuring Ecosystem Services at the site scale. This project is led by the University of Cambridge and involves a partnership between the University of Cambridge, Anglia Ruskin University, The UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Birdlife International and the RSPB, funded through the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) Collaborative fund from April 2010 to May 2011. From May 2011 the project was extended with funding from AXA until 2013 and a recent (June 2012) further grant from the CCI. New partners include the Cambridge Coastal Research Centre and the Tropical Biology Association. I have led development of the water services section of the toolkit. The whole toolkit will become available on a website in late 2012 and covers water services, carbon services, wild harvested goods, cultivated goods and recreation.

Prior to joining Anglia Ruskin University I was a senior research associate in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge where I jointly coordinated, with Professor Keith Richards, three EU-funded research projects that studied the ecology, hydrology and restoration of European floodplain forests. The most recent of these projects, FLOBAR2 ‘FLOodplain Biodiversity And Restoration’, carried out research on floodplain ecosystems in France, Sweden, Germany, the UK and Canada and its findings are summarised in a document called “The flooded forest”. I have also carried out research on the downstream impacts of dams on riparian and deltaic ecosystems in Canada and Kenya.