UK Overseas Territories and Islands

Working with partners to conserve and make informed decisions on managing their unique biodiversity.

A beach crowded with penguins infront of a mountainour landscape

Interim team lead: Dr Felix Forest

The 16 UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) are former British colonies that have retained their British citizenship and remain part of the United Kingdom.

Most of them are islands or groups of islands distributed across the world's oceans. Occupying many different climatic zones from tropical through temperate to Antarctic, they support considerably more unique plants and habitats than the whole of the UK mainland.

Many of the UKOTs' natural habitats are under intense pressure, largely as a result of unsustainable land-use and uncontrolled development causing fragmentation, modification or degradation.

Increasing threats come from climate shifts leading to rising sea levels, severe weather events and from invasive plants, animals and microbes. 

Our UKOT team encompasses a diverse range of activities involving staff from different disciplines. Project work within the Territories brings together staff from Kew, local partners and other international conservation organisations, each contributing different specialist skills or knowledge. 

Through its activities and projects, the UKOTs team directly contributes to biodiversity conservation in the UK Overseas Territories and to the implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. 

Members of the team have broad research interests including: biogeography, conservation genetics, species threat assessment, seed banking, plant-animal interactions, invasive species and climate change. 

Team members are particularly interested in the conservation and management (in-situ and ex-situ) of threatened species in the UKOTs with a research focus on the Caribbean region. One of the team’s major outputs is the UKOTs Online Herbarium.

Team members

Interim team lead
Dr Felix Forest

Research leader (Madagascar)
Dr Stuart Cable

Research leader (UKOTs)
Thomas Heller

Conservation horticultural scientist
Marcella Corcoran

Conservation partnership coordinator (UKOTs)
Sara Barrios

Postdoctoral researcher
Dr Rosemary Newton

Honorary research associate
Dr Colin Clubbe

Species conservation assessor
Amy Barker 

Honorary research associate
Dr Martin Hamilton