Roundtable on the Uzbekistan Ecology and Environment

Apr 20, 2023

Conserving the unique biodiversity of the Aral Sea region



Professor EJ Milner-Gulland and Dr Joseph Bull will give an update on their collaborative project to support the conservation of biodiversity in the Aral Sea region, working closely with colleagues in national and local government, businesses, conservationists and academic researchers working in the region. Their project is supporting the development of ecotourism, nature-based solutions to climate change, and mitigation of the impacts of infrastructure and industrial activities, and they have the iconic saiga antelope as their flagship species.




Professor EJ Milner-Gulland
Tasso Leventis Professor of Biodiversity; Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science, University of Oxford

Professor Milner-Gulland is interested in understanding how social, ecological and behavioural factors interact and how they affect key issues in current conservation.

Her research group focuses on three themes: understanding resource user incentives, planning for effective and socially just conservation, and accounting for social-ecological system dynamics. They seek to understand and improve the effectiveness of different approaches to designing conservation interventions, in both land and marine ecosystems.

Professor Milner-Gulland also works on the illegal wildlife trade and is interested in designing, monitoring and evaluating conservation interventions in order to improve their effectiveness. She is particularly interested in the conservation ecology of the saiga antelope in Central Asia, and co-founded the Saiga Conservation Alliance in 2006 as well as the Conservation Optimism movement in 2016.

She is an advisor to a number of bodies including the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. As well as chairing the UK Government’s Darwin Expert Committee, Professor Milner-Gulland is a Trustee of WWF-UK.


Dr Joseph Bull
Associate Professor in Climate Change Biology, Tutorial Fellow at Wadham College

Joe is an ecologist, conservation scientist and practitioner: currently Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Oxford, and co-founder of Wild Business Ltd. He has a BSc in Physics, an MSc in Environmental Technology, and a PhD in Conservation Biology from Imperial College London. During his PhD Joe worked closely with the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment (UK), the Academy of Sciences (Uzbekistan) and RMIT (Australia); afterwards completing a postdoctoral fellowship with the Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), and then a Lectureship with the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology. His work to date has included desert expeditions to the former Aral Sea (Uzbekistan), tropical field ecology expeditions (to Peru, and Malaysia), and leading a team for Engineers without Borders (Nepal). Connecting all of his work is an interest in finding practical yet technically robust approaches towards better understanding and conserving nature.


Eve Novikova

 Eve Novikova is an accomplished events management professional with extensive business development and leadership experience in the events and exhibition sector for over 18 years. She worked in Uzbekistan since 2018 and travels extensively within the region.  Eve is also a passionate nature lover. Once she found out about the rapid soil extinction globally, she decided to use her skills and join the Save Soil movement as a volunteer. The Save Soil movement was started by Sadhguru – a Yogi, visionary, and well-known public speaker. This movement is backed by five UN Agencies, World Food Program, Common Wealth, many well know influencers and reached 4 billion people around the World last year.


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