Professor Duncan Westbury


Professor Duncan Westbury joined the Royal Agricultural University in September 2023 after over 12 years at the University of Worcester and nearly 10 years at the University of Reading. He has a very strong background in applying ecological principles to habitat creation and management, with specific research experience on the management of agroecosystems to support biodiversity whilst simultaneously supporting ecosystem services within agricultural landscapes.

Duncan has been a lead plant ecologist on several Defra-funded agro-ecology projects investigating methods of promoting biodiversity in arable and grassland habitats. He is currently a project partner on SHOWCASE, which aims to deliver new insights and innovative tools facilitating the transition of the agricultural sector towards more sustainable farming. He is also an advisor on RSPB’s internationally acclaimed ‘Operation Turtle Dove’.


Current research interests address the increasing concerns about environmental change and the degradation and loss of ecosystem services.

Research conducted by Professor Westbury in commercial fruit orchards has contributed to the universal goal of producing more food sustainably.

Duncan has investigated how production can be sustainably enhanced in different crop types including dessert apples, sweet cherry, and sweet orange, delivering recommendations to growers that are now being implemented. A new study will investigate the ecological intensification of UK vineyards to enhance their sustainability.

Key research areas include:

  • Enhancing pest regulation and pollination services in commercial fruit crops.
  • The delivery of ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes.
  • Habitat restoration, creation and management.


Journal Articles

Jefferson, R.G., Wagner, M., Sullivan, E., Tatarenko, I., Westbury, D.B., Ashton, P., Hulmes, L., 2023. Biological Flora of Britain and Ireland: Geranium pratense: No. 305. Journal of Ecology. 111, 2750-2780.

Mateos Fierro, Z., Garratt, M.P.D., Fountain, M.T., Ashbrook, K., & Westbury, D.B. (2023) The potential of wildflower strips to enhance pollination services in sweet cherry orchards grown under polytunnels. Journal of Applied Ecology.

Image, M., Gardner, E., Clough, Y., Kunin, W.E., Potts, S.G., Smith, H.G., Stone, G.N., Westbury, D.B., & Breeze, T.D. (2022) Which interventions contribute most to the net effect of England’s agri-environment schemes on pollination services? Landscape Ecology.

Mockford, A., Westbury, D.B., Ashbrook, K., Urbaneja, A., & Tena, A. (2022). Structural heterogeneity of wildflower strips enhances fructose feeding in parasitoids. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 339, 108139.

Mateos Fierro, Z., Garratt, M.P.D., Fountain, M.T., Ashbrook, K., & Westbury, D.B.  (2022) Wild bees are less abundant but show better pollination behaviour for sweet cherry than managed pollinators. Journal of Applied Entomology. pp. 1-11.

Image, M., Gardner, E., Clough, Y., Smith, H.G., Baldock, K.C.R., Campbell, A., Garratt, M., Gillespie, M.A., Kunin, W.E., McKerchar, Megan, Memmott, J., Potts, S.G., Senapathi, D., Stone, G.M., Wackers, F., Westbury, D.B., Wilby, A., Oliver, T.H. and Breeze, T.D. (2021) Does agri-environment scheme participation in England increase pollinator populations and crop pollination services? Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 325. p. 107755. ISSN 0167-8809.

Gardner, E., Breeze, T., Clough, Y., Smith, H., Baldock, K., Campbell, A., Garratt, M.P.D., Gillespie, M., Kunin, W., Mckerchar, Megan, Potts,  .G., Senapathi, D., Stone, G., Wäckers, F., Westbury, D.B., Wilby, A. and Thomas, O. (2021) Field boundary features can stabilise bee populations and the pollination of mass-flowering crops in rotational systems. Journal of Applied Ecology. ISSN 0021-8901 Online: 1365-2664.

Mateos Fierro, Z., Fountain, M.T., Garratt, M.P.D, Ashbrook, K. and Westbury, D.B. (2021) Active management of wildflower strips in commercial sweet cherry orchards enhances natural enemies and pest regulation services. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 317 (107485) ISSN 0167-8809.

Hutchinson, L.A., Oliver, T.H., Breeze, T.D., Bailes, E.J., Brünjes, L., Campbell, A.J., Erhardt, A., Arjen de Groot, G., Földesi, R., Garcia, D., Goulson, D., Hainaut, H., Hambäck, P.A., Holzschuh, A., Jauker, F., Klatt, B.K., Klein, A-M., Kleijn, D., Kovács-Hostyánszki, A., Krimmer, E., McKerchar, Megan, Miñarro, M., Phillips, B.B., Potts, S.G., Pufal, G., Radzevičiūtė, R., Roberts, S.P.M., Samnegård, U., Schulze, J., Shaw, R.F., Tscharntke, T., Vereecken, N.J., Westbury, D.B., Westphal, C., Wietzke, A., Woodcock, B.A. and Garratt, M.P.D. (2021) Using ecological and field survey data to establish a national list of the wild bee pollinators of crops. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 315 (107447). ISSN 0167-8809

Senapathi, D., Fründ, J., Albrecht, M., Garratt, M.P.D., Kleijn, D., Pickles, B.J., Potts, S.G., An, J., Andersson, G.K.S., Bänsch, S., Basu, P., Benjamin, F., Bezerra, A.D.M., Bhattacharya, R., Biesmeijer, J.C., Blaauw, B., Blitzer, E.J., Brittain, C.A., Cariveau, D.P., Chakraborty, P., Chatterjee, A., Cusser, S., Danforth, B.N., Degani, E., Freitas, B.M., Garibaldi, L.A., Geslin, B., De Groot, G.A., Harrison, T., Howlett, B., Isaacs, R., Jha, S., Klatt, B., Krewenka, K., Leigh, S., Lindström, S.A.M., Mandelik, Y., Mckerchar, M., Park, M., Pisanty, G., Rader, R., Reemer, M., Rundlöf, M., Smith, B., Smith, H.G., Silva, P.N., Steffan-Dewenter, I., Tscharntke, T., Webber, S., Westbury, D.B., Westphal, C., Wickens, J.B., Wickens, V.J., Winfree, R., Zhang, H. and Klein, A.M. (2021) Wild insect diversity increases inter-annual stability in global crop pollinator communities. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 288: 20210212.

Albrecht M., Kleijn D., Williams N.M., Tschumi M., Blaauw B.R., Bommarco R., Campbell A.J., Dainese M., Drummond F.A., Entling M.H., Ganser D., de Groot G.A., Goulson D., Grab H., Hamilton H., Herzog F., Isaacs R., Jacot K., Jeanneret P., Jonsson M., Knop E., Kremen C., Landis D.A., Loeb G.M., Marini L., McKerchar M., Morandin L., Pfister S.C., Potts S.G., Rundlof M., Sardinas H., Sciligo A., Thies C., Tscharntke T., Venturini E., Veromann E., Vollhardt I.M.G., Wackers F., Ward K., Westbury, D.B., Wilby A., Woltz M., Wratten S. & Sutter L. (2020). The effectiveness of flower strips and hedgerows on pest control, pollination services and crop yield: a quantitative synthesis. Ecology Letters, 23, 1488-1498.

Gardner, E., Breeze, T.D., Clough, Y., Baldock, K.C.R., Campbell, A., Garratt, M., Gillespie, M.A.K., Kunin, W.E., Mckerchar, Megan, Memmott, J., Potts, S.G., Senapathi, D., Stone, G.N., Wäckers, F., Westbury, D.B., Wilby, A. & Oliver, T.H. (2020) Reliably predicting pollinator abundance: challenges of calibrating process-based ecological models. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 11, 1673-1689.

Mckerchar, M, Potts, S.G., Fountain, M.T., Garratt, M.P.D. & Westbury, D.B. (2020) The potential for wildflower interventions to enhance natural enemies and pollinators in commercial apple orchards is limited by other management practices. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 301. (107034).

Machaka-Houri, N.,Houri, A., Knio, K.M.and Westbury, D.B. (2018) Ecological interactions of the sexually deceptive orchid Orchis Galilaea. Journal of Plant Interactions, 13 (1). 315-320.

Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A., Harris, S.J., Brown, V.K., & Potts, S.G. (2017) Buffer strip management to deliver plant and invertebrate resources for farmland birds in agricultural landscapes. Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment, 240, 215-223.

Hicks, D.M., Ouvard, P., Baldock, K.C.R, Baude, M., Goddard, M.A., Kunin, W.E., Mitschunas, N., Memmott, J., Morse, H., Nikolitsi, M., Osgathorpe, L.M., Potts, S.G., Robertson, K.M., Scott, A.V., Sinclair, F., Westbury, D.B., & Stone, G.N. (2016) Food for pollinators: quantifying the nectar and pollen resources of urban flower meadows. PLOS One (11) 16.

Garratt, M.P.D., Breeze, T.D., Boreux, V., Fountain, M.T., McKerchar, M., Webber, S.M., Coston, D.J., Jenner, N., Dean, R., Westbury, D.B., Biesmeijer, J.C., Potts, S.G., 2016. Apple pollination: Demand depends on variety and supply depends on pollinator identity. PloS One 11.

Hammond K.J., Humphries D.J., Westbury D.B., Thompson A., Crompton L.A., Kirton P., Green C. and Reynolds C.K. (2014). The inclusion of forage mixtures in the diet of growing dairy heifers: Impacts on digestion, energy utilisation, and methane emissions. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 197, 88-95.

Blake, R.J., Woodcock, B.A., Westbury, D.B., Sutton, P., and Potts, S.G. (2013). Novel management to enhance spider biodiversity in existing grass buffer strips. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 15, 77-85.

Blake R.J., Westbury D.B., Woodcock B.A., Sutton P. & Potts S.G. (2012) Enhancement of buffer strips can improve provision of multiple ecosystem services. Outlooks on Pest Management, 23(6), 258-262.

Machaka-Houri, N., Al-Zein, M.S, Westbury, D.B., Talhouk, S.N. (2012) Reproductive success of the rare endemic Orchis Galilaea (Bornmuller & Schulze) Schlechter in Lebanon. Turkish Journal of Botany, 36, 677-682.

Blake R.J., Westbury D.B., Woodcock B.A., Sutton P. & Potts S.G. (2012) Investigating the phytotoxicity of the graminicide fluazifop-P-butyl against native UK wildflower species. Pest Management Science 68: 412421

Woodcock, B.A., Westbury, D.B., Brook, A.J., Lawson, C.S., Edwards, A.R., Harris, S.J., Heard, M.S., Brown, V.K., Mortimer, S.R., (2012). Effects of seed addition on beetle assemblages during the re-creation of species-rich lowland hay meadows. Insect Conservation and Diversity, 5, 19-26.

Mauchline, A.L., Mortimer, S.R., Park, J.R., Finn, J.A., Haysom, K., Westbury, D.B., Purvis, G., Louwagie, G., Northey, G., Primdahl, J., Vejre, H., Kristensen, L.S., Teilmann, K.V., Vesterager, J.P., Knickel, K., Kasperczyk, N., Balazs, K., Podmaniczky, L., Vlahos, G., Christopoulos, S., Kroger, L., Aakkula, J., Yli-Viikari, A., (2012). Environmental evaluation of agri-environment schemes using participatory approaches: Experiences of testing the Agri-Environmental Footprint Index. Land Use Policy, 29, 317-328.

Westbury, D.B., Mortimer, S.R., Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J., Kessock-Philip, R., Edwards, A.R., Chaney, K., Lewis, P., Dodd, S., Buckingham, D.L., Peach, W.J., (2011) Plant and invertebrate resources for farmland birds in pastoral landscapes.Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 142, 266-274.

Blake, R.J., Woodcock, B.A., Westbury, D.B., Sutton, P., Potts, S.G. (2011) New tools to boost butterfly habitat quality in existing grass buffer strips. Journal of Insect Conservation, 15, 221-232.

Blake, R.J., Woodcock, B.A., Westbury, D.B., Sutton, P., and Potts, S.G. (2011) Enhancing habitat to help the plight of the bumblebee. Pest Management Science, 67(4), 377-379.

Westbury, D.B., Park, J.R., Mauchline, A.L., Crane, R.T. & Mortimer, S.R. (2011) Assessing the environmental performance of English arable and livestock holdings using data from the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN), Journal of Environmental Management, 92, 902-909.

Peach, W. J., Dodd, S., Westbury, D. B., Mortimer, S. R., Lewis, P., Brook, A. J., Harris, S. J., Kessock-Philip, R., Buckingham, D. L., & Chaney, K. (2010). Cereal-based whole crop silages: A potential conservation measure for farmland birds in pastoral landscapes. Biological Conservation, 144, 836-850.

Woodcock, B.A., Vogiatzakis, I.N., Westbury, D.B., Lawson, C.S., Edwards, A.R., Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J., Lock, K.A., Maczey, N., Masters, G., Brown, V.K. & Mortimer, S.R. (2010) The role of management and landscape context in the restoration of grassland phytophagous beetles. Journal of Applied Ecology, 47, 366376.

Woodcock, B. A., Edwards, A. R., Lawson, C. S., Westbury, D. B., Brook, A. J., Harris, S. J., Masters, G., Booth, R., Brown, V. K. & Mortimer, S. R. (2010) The Restoration of Phytophagous Beetles in Species-Rich Chalk Grasslands. Restoration Ecology, 18, 638-644.

Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A., Harris, S.J., Brown, V.K. & Potts S.G. (2008) The effects of seed mix and management on the abundance of desirable and pernicious unsown species in field margin communities. Weed Research, 48, 113-123.

Westbury, D.B. & Dunnett, N.P. (2008) The promotion of grassland forb abundance: a chemical or biological solution? Basic and Applied Ecology, 9, 653-662.

Woodcock B.A., Westbury D.B., Tscheulin T., Harrison-Cripps J., Harris S.J., Ramsay A.J., Brown V.K., & Potts S.G. (2008) Effects of seed mixture and management on beetle assemblages of arable field margins. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 125, 246-254.

Woodcock. B.A., Edwards, A.R., Lawson, C.S., Westbury, D.B., Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J., Brown, V.K. & Mortimer, S.R. (2008) Contrasting success in the restoration of plant and phytophagous beetle assemblages of species-rich mesotrophic grasslands. Oecologia, 154, 773-783.

Storkey, J. & Westbury, D.B. (2007) Managing arable weeds for biodiversity. Pest Management Science, 63, 517-523.

Woodcock, B.A., Potts, S.G., Westbury, D.B., Ramsay, A.J., Lambert, M., Harris, S.J. & Brown, V.K. (2007) The importance of sward architectural complexity in structuring predatory and phytophagous invertebrate assemblages. Ecological Entomology, 32, 302-311.

Westbury, D.B. & Dunnett, N.P. (2007) The impact of Rhinanthus minor in newly established meadows on a 

productive site. Applied Vegetation Science, 10 (1), 121- 129.

Edwards, A.R., Mortimer, S.R., Lawson, C.S., Westbury, D.B., Harris, S.J., Woodcock, B.A & Brown, V.K. (2007) Hay strewing, brush harvesting of seed and soil disturbance as tools for the enhancement of botanical diversity in grasslands. Biological Conservation, 134, 372-382.

Westbury, D.B., Davies, A, Woodcock, B.A. & Dunnett, N.P. (2006) Seeds of change: the value of using Rhinanthus minor in grassland restoration. Journal of Vegetation Science, 17, 435-446.

Woodcock, B. A., Westbury, D. B., Potts, S. G., Harris, S. J. & Brown, V. K. (2005) Establishing field margins to promote beetle conservation in arable farms. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 107, 255-266.

Westbury D.B. (2004) Rhinanthus minor L. Journal of Ecology, 92 (5), 906-927.

Conference Papers

Machaka-Houri, N., Houri, A., Westbury, D.B., & Ibrahim, M. (2018) Predicting the potential distribution of Orchis Galilaea in Lebanon using GIS. Proceedings of the 18th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Geo conference, SGEM 2018, Vienna, Austria, pp. 749-756.

Westbury, D.B., Harris, S.J., Brown, V.K.and Potts, S.G. (2018) The influence of seed mix and management on the performance and persistence of sown forbs in buffer strips. Aspects of Applied Biology: Ecosystem and Habitat Management: Research, Policy, Practice, 139. 23-31.

Mateos-Fierro, Z., Garratt, M., Fountain, M.T.Ashbrook, K. and Westbury, D.B. (2018) Wildflower strip establishment for the delivery of ecosystem services in sweet cherry orchards. Aspects of Applied Biology: Ecosystem and Habitat Management: Research, Policy, Practice, 139. 179-186.

Humphries D., Hammond K.J., Westbury, D.B,, Crompton L.A., Green C., Reynolds, C.K. (2013) Effect of three pasture forage mixtures on methane emissions by dairy heifers. Proceedings of the British Grassland Society and British Society of Animal Science Joint Meeting, 75.

Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A., Harris, S.J., Griffith, B. & Tallowin, J.R. (2011) Sustainable grassland management benefits butterflies. Aspects of Applied Biology, 108, 81-86.

Blake, R.J., Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A., Sutton, P., and Potts, S.G. (2011) Improving butterfly habitat in existing grass buffer strips. Aspects of Applied Biology, 108, 67-72.

Sparks, T., Britt, C. Cherrill, A., Marrs, R., Mortimer, S.R., Pywell, R.F., Rotheram, I., Stokes, V. & Westbury, D.B. (eds.) (2011) Vegetation Management. Aspects of Applied Biology, 108, 272 pp. Association of Applied Biologists, Warwick, UK.

Morris, A.J., Bailey, C.M., Dillon, I.A., Gruar, D.J. & Westbury, D.B. (2010) Improving floristically enhanced field margins for wildlife. Aspects of Applied Biology, 100, Agri-environment schemes - what have they achieved and where do we go from here? 353-357.

Blake, R.J., Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A, Sutton, B.A. & Potts, S.G. (2010) Enhancing biodiversity in existing grass buffer strips. Aspects of Applied Biology, 100, Agri-environment schemes - what have they achieved and where do we go from here? 427-432.

Westbury, D.B. & Dunnett, N.P. (2007) The creation of species-rich grassland on an urban substrate. Aspects of Applied Biology, 82, Vegetation management, 123-130.

Mortimer, S.R., Edwards, A.R., Lawson, C.S., Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A, Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J., & Brown, V.K. (2007) Efficacy of methods for using seed of local provenance to enhance grassland diversity. Aspects of Applied Biology, 82, Vegetation management, 39-48.

Ramsay A.J., Potts S.G., Westbury D.B., Woodcock B.A., Tscheulin T.R., Harris S.J. & Brown V.K. (2007) Response of planthoppers to novel margin management in arable systems. Aspects of Applied Biology, 81, Delivering arable biodiversity, 47-52.

Edwards, P., Westbury, D.B., Sutton, P. & Marshall, E.J.P. (2007) Principle considerations for arable field margin establishment and management. Aspects of Applied Biology, 81, Delivering arable biodiversity, 199-205.

Henderson I.G., Morris A.J., Westbury D.B., Woodcock. B.A., Potts S.G., Ramsay, A.J. & Coombes. R. (2007) Effects of field margin management on bird distributions around cereal fields. Aspects of Applied Biology, 81, Delivering arable biodiversity, 53-60.

Ogilvy, S.E., Clarke, J.H., Wiltshire, J.J.J., Harris, D., Morris, A., Jones, N., Smith, B., Henderson, I., Westbury, D.B., Potts, S.G., Woodcock, B.A. & Pywell, R.G. (2006) SAFFIE Report - research into research and practice. HGCA Conference, Arable crop protection in the balance: Profit and the environment.

Morgan, R., Westbury, D.B., Kliem, K.E., Hervas, G. & Mould, F.L. (2005) The degradation of Rhinanthus minor (yellow rattle) in vitro. Proceedings of the British Society of Animal Science, p. 224. British Society of Animal Science, York, UK.

Mortimer, S.R., Westbury, D.B., Dodd, S., Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J., Kessock-Philip, R., Chaney, K., Lewis, P., Buckingham, D.L. & Peach, W.J. (2007) Cereal-based whole crop silages: potential biodiversity benefits of cereal production in pastoral landscapes. Aspects of Applied Biology, 81, Delivering arable biodiversity, 77-86.

Westbury, D.B. & Dunnett, N.P. (2000) The effect of the presence of Rhinanthus minor on the composition and productivity of created swards on ex-arable land. Aspects of Applied Biology, 58, Vegetation management in changing landscapes, 271-278.

West, T.M., Marshall, E.J.P., Westbury, D.B. & Arnold, G.M. (1999) Vegetation development on sown and unsown field boundary strips established in three Environmentally Sensitive Areas. Aspects of Applied Biology, 54. Field Margins and Buffer Zones: ecology, management and policy, 257-262.

Book Chapters

Woodcock, B.A., Mortimer, S.R., Edwards, A.R., Lawson, C.S., Westbury, D.B., Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J. & Brown, V.K. (2009). Re-creating plant and beetle assemblages of species-rich chalk grasslands on ex-arable land. Grassland: Ecology, management and restoration (ed H.G. Schroder). Nova Science Publishers Inc., New York.


Potts, S. G., Westbury, D. B., Woodcock, B. A., Ramsay, A. J., Harris, S. J., Springate, S., Pywell, R., Meek, B., Carvell, C., Hulmes, L., Warman, L., Sparks, T., Cook, S. K. & Henderson, I. G. (2007) Experiment 2 Management of the non-cropped margin structure to maximise biodiversity. The SAFFIE Report.ADAS, Boxworth, UK.


Westbury D.B. & Davies, A. (2005) Yellow rattle its natural history and use in grassland restoration. British Wildlife, 17 (2), 93-98.