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Dr Trisha Gopalakrishna

Dr Trisha Gopalakrishna

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

 Laver Building 719


Laver Building, University of Exeter, North Park Road, Exeter, EX4 4QE, UK


I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow focusing on restoration of savannas in Brazil and India for climate change action as part of Lucy Rowland's and Stephen Sitch's research groups.

My doctoral research examined the opportunities and realities of forest restoration in India. I evaluated the area available for forest restoration having accounted for fine scale land uses and land covers, the consequences of forest restoration on non-forest ecosystems, specifically India’s forgotten savanna biome, and spatial prioritization of forest restoration area to deliver multiple societal and environmental benefits (climate change mitigation, biodiversity, reliance of people on forests for energy, livelihoods) and inequity in the distribution of benefits to mariginilized social groups in India.

Prior to my doctorate, I worked as an applied scientist in the global climate change program at an international environment non-profit called The Nature Conservancy in Washington D.C, quantifying the potential of forest systems and other “Natural Climate Solutions” to mitigate climate change. Specifically, I identified opportunities for reforestation and “climate smart” logging practices, globally and in key countries in the tropics. My scientific work at the Conservancy informed international and country specific climate related policies and on-the-ground conservation efforts.

I have worked across a variety of tropical landscapes in south and south east Asia, central Africa, central America and southern America as part of my previous work experiences. I look forward to developing research that is applicable to the management of tropical biomes that are resilient and adaptive to climate change. 

Broad research specialisms:

Broadly, my research sits under nature-based solutions, particularly restoration of ecosystems for climate change mitigation, resilience and adaptation. I primarily use a combination of geospatial analyses, remote sensing and statistical modeling with a variety of field derived and model based environmental, climate and anthropogenic data sources.


DPhil Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, UK 2023 (Oxford Indira Gandhi Scholar 2019 - 2022, Somerville College)

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, University of Oxford, UK 2023

Master of Environment Management (Ecosystem Science and Conservation), Duke University, USA, 2016

Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering), Rashtreeya Vidyala College of Engineering, India, 2014

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Research interests

I am interested in different aspects of ecosystem restoration spanning ecosystem responses to global environmental change (climate and anthropogeny related), prioritization of actions and for climate change mitigation, financial mechanisms to unlock large scale ecosystem restoration and equity issues in climate change action (across gender and societal groups). 

Furthermore, I am keen to explore ecological resilience of tropical biomes such as forests and savannas to climate change.

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Journal articles

Christmann T, Gopalakrishna T, Stuart C, Amaral V (2023). Young voices and visions for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. RESTORATION ECOLOGY, 31(3).  Author URL.
Gopalakrishna T, Lomax G, Aguirre-Gutierrez J, Bauman D, Roy PS, Joshi PK, Malhi Y (2022). Existing land uses constrain climate change mitigation potential of forest restoration in India. CONSERVATION LETTERS, 15(2).  Author URL.
Gopalakrishna T, Christmann T, Pashkevich M, Puttick R (2022). Young voices and visions for tropical restoration science in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. BIOTROPICA, 54(3), 536-545.  Author URL.
Putz FE, Baker T, Griscom BW, Gopalakrishna T, Roopsind A, Umunay PM, Zalman J, Ellis EA, Ruslandi, Ellis PW, et al (2021). Intact Forest in Selective Logging Landscapes in the Tropics (vol 2, 30, 2019). FRONTIERS IN FORESTS AND GLOBAL CHANGE, 4  Author URL.
Ramesh V, Vijayakumar SP, Gopalakrishna T, Jayarajan A, Shanker K (2020). Determining levels of cryptic diversity within the endemic frog genera, Indirana and Walkerana, of the Western Ghats, India. PLoS One, 15(9). Abstract.  Author URL.
Cook-Patton SC, Gopalakrishna T, Daigneault A, Leavitt SM, Platt J, Scull SM, Amarjargal O, Ellis PW, Griscom BW, McGuire JL, et al (2020). Lower cost and more feasible options to restore forest cover in the contiguous United States for climate mitigation. ONE EARTH, 3(6), 739-752.  Author URL.
Putz FE, Baker T, Griscom BW, Gopalakrishna T, Roopsind A, Umunay PM, Zalman J, Ellis EA, Ruslandi, Ellis PW, et al (2019). Intact Forest in Selective Logging Landscapes in the Tropics. FRONTIERS IN FORESTS AND GLOBAL CHANGE, 2  Author URL.
Ellis PW, Gopalakrishna T, Goodman RC, Putz FE, Roopsind A, Umunay PM, Zalman J, Ellis EA, Moh K, Gregoire TG, et al (2019). Reduced-impact logging for climate change mitigation (RIL-C) can halve selective logging emissions from tropical forests. FOREST ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT, 438, 255-266.  Author URL.
Umunay PM, Gregoire TG, Gopalakrishna T, Ellis PW, Putz FE (2019). Selective logging emissions and potential emission reductions from reduced-impact logging in the Congo Basin. FOREST ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT, 437, 360-371.  Author URL.
Fargione JE, Bassett S, Boucher T, Bridgham SD, Conant RT, Cook-Patton SC, Ellis PW, Falcucci A, Fourqurean JW, Gopalakrishna T, et al (2018). Natural climate solutions for the United States. Sci Adv, 4(11). Abstract.  Author URL.
Ramesh V, Melnick DJ, Gopalakrishna T, Barve S (2017). Finer spatial resolution improves accuracy of species distribution models in heterogeneous landscapes - a response. BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION, 213, 247-248.  Author URL.
Ramesh V, Gopalakrishna T, Barve S, Melnick DJ (2017). IUCN greatly underestimates threat levels of endemic birds in the Western Ghats. BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION, 210, 205-221.  Author URL.
Griscom BW, Adams J, Ellis PW, Houghton RA, Lomax G, Miteva DA, Schlesinger WH, Shoch D, Siikamäki JV, Smith P, et al (2017). Natural climate solutions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 114(44), 11645-11650. Abstract.  Author URL.

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External Engagement and Impact

Events Committee Member, British Ecological Society (2023- current)
Policy Representative, Equity and Diversity for all Genders in Ecology (EDGE) Network, British Ecological Society (2023- current)

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