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 Matt Holden

Matt Holden

PhD student

 Amory c360


Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK


I am interested in nature conservation at a landscape scale, with a particular focus on understanding the environmental and economic consequences of different agricultural systems. Prior to starting my PhD I worked for seven years in the nature conservation sector on agri-environment schemes, farm conservation advice, protected species surveys and river habitat restoration.  Through my PhD I hope to build upon my industry experience and gain increased understanding of how to assess ecosystem function and the valuation of ecosystem services and natural capital under different land use intensities. The PhD is a partnership between the University of Exeter, Clinton Devon Estate and Westcountry Rivers Trust.


BSc (Hons) Environmental Science, University of Sussex 


Research interests

My PhD is a partnership between the University of Exeter, Clinton Devon Estate, a large farming estate in South East Devon, and the Westcountry Rivers Trust. The multi-disciplinary project, combines academic expertise in the natural sciences from Prof Richard Brazier and environmental economics from Prof Brett Day. It focuses on understanding the state of soil, water and pollinator natural capital on the estate. Expanding understanding of how to quantify natural capital condition and value in agricultural landscapes through monitoring ecosystem functions and services under different catchment scale land management strategies (primarily organic vs conventional farming). The main aims of the PhD are to:

  • Quantify baseline soil, water and pollinator natural capital condition on targeted parts of the estate
  • Determine the likely trajectory of natural capital on the estate under different land management strategies
  • Identify how to incorporate a natural capital approach into land management decision making at field, farm and estate scales


Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Richard Brazier
  • Brett Day

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