Contact Dr Paul Burgess

Areas of expertise

  • Agrifood Systems
  • Energy and the Environment
  • Natural capital
  • Plants and microbes
  • Soil
  • Sustainable Land Systems
  • Water Science and Engineering


After a BSc (Hons) in Agriculture (University of Reading) and a MSc in Land and Water Management (Cranfield University), Paul completed his PhD research (Cranfield University) on tea agronomy whilst employed by ODA in Tanzania. After working for a consortium of private companies, Paul joined Cranfield University as a Lecturer in 1995. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2008 and a Reader in Crop Ecology and Management in 2014.  He was the Course Tutor for the MSc courses in Land Management (2006-2012) and Economics of Natural Resource and Environmental Management course (2012-2014). His research interests focuses on crop ecology with a focus on perennial crops and the ecological and economic benefits and costs of integrating trees on farms. Outside of Europe, he has undertaken research or consultancy work in China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and Tanzania. 

Paul is the current secretary of the UK Farm Woodland Forum (  He was a member of the European Focus Group on Agroforestry (2016-2017). He is a Member of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers and the Royal Forestry Society of England and Wales, and a Fellow of Higher Education Academy.

Current activities

Paul has recently co-ordinated a major four-year European research project called AGFORWARD (2014-2017), involving over 60 researchers, that promoted agroforestry in Europe (  The project provided the first systematic calculation of the area of agroforestry in Europe.  It also worked with 800 farmers and other stakeholders within 40 stakeholder groups to identify and develop agroforestry innovations which are reported in a series of innovation leaflets.  The research also helped develop the Yield-SAFE and Farm-SAFE agroforestry models, and provided policy guidance to enhance the management and use of trees on agricultural land.
Current projects include a NERC-funded research translation project on Grassland Management for the Sustainable Agriculture and Research Innovation Club (2018-2020).  He is also a co-investigator on a Defra-funded project (With FACCE-JPI) on the development of two novel biomass crops including Sida hermaphrodita.  He is also undertaking research and consultancy work related to the use of digital technology to tea production in East Africa.  He has recently led research, for Frontier Agriculture, on the effect of soil conservation equipment on the profitability of arable rotations.  He was a co-Investigator on the NERC "Functions, Flows and Fragments for Urban Ecosystem Services" project, and a Principal Investigator on a NERC project on "Energyscapes and Ecosystem Services". 

Paul is also the current Module Convenor for the “Principles of Sustainability” and “Financial and Economic Appraisal” modules at Cranfield. 


  • Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
  • Department for International Development (DFID)
  • Ellen MacArthur Foundation
  • European Commission
  • FAL, Switzerland
  • Food and Agriculture Organisation
  • Forest Research
  • Heineken UK
  • James Finlay Ltd
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) 
  • Tea Research Association, Tocklai, India
  • Tea Research Institute of Tanzania.
  • Unilever plc
  • Woodland Trust.


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers