Hazel M. Chapman

Professor University of Canterbury, New Zealand

I am a research ecologist with particular interests in plant-animal interactions, tropical forest conservation/restoration and the ecology of plant invasions. I am Founder and Director of the Nigerian Montane Forest Project (NMFP) in Taraba State, Nigeria and am based at the University of Canterbury (UC) Christchurch, NZ.
At UC I teach evolutionary ecology, invasion ecology and conservation biology. I have an active lab group with postgraduate students working in both Nigeria and New Zealand.

Current Positions

  • Professor, School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
  • Founder and Director, Nigerian Montane Forest Project
  • PI of the Ngel Nyaki Smithsonian CTFS_Forest Geo long term forest plot


  • Ph.D. Dept. of Botany, University of Otago, New Zealand, Advisor: Professor Peter Bannister
  • M.Sc. in Ecology and Conservation University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
  • BSc (Hons) Undergraduate, Botany Department, University of St Andrews, Scotland. Mentors Professors. Robert Crawford and Richard Abbott.

Professional & Research Interests

  • Afromontane ecology, conservation science & forest restoration.
  • Forest community response to global change
  • Ecosystem services, especially as relates to plant-animal interactions such as seed dispersal and pollination.
  • Knowledge sharing & capacity building in Africa for conservation and environmental management.
  • Plant invasion ecology, especially as relates to hybridization, rapid evolution and adaptation, epigenetics and plant-animal interactions.

Professional Experience

  • Visiting Reader, Biology Dept, Gombe State University, Nigeria. 2015
  • Visiting lecturer Gombe State University 2007-2015
  • Visiting Lecturer Federal University of Technology, Yola 2004-2007
  • Represented New Zealand for New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade at the Academy of science of South Africa (ASSAf) Poverty Reduction meeting in Pretoria 2016
  • Developed from nothing the Nigerian Montane Forest Project in Taraba State Nigeria.
    The station employs 36 fulltime staff, has good facilities and satellite internet. It is a research base for Nigerian and international researchers and postgraduate students. It is a key destination for Nigerian scientists in all stages of their careers and has a major impact in bringing environmental awareness to all age groups and across society from local nursery school children to top Nigerian researchers. We accommodate hundreds of undergraduate students annually.
  • Funding is primarily from Taraba State Government, Chester Zoo, the A. G. Leventis Foundation, Nexen Nigeria Inc and Rufford Foundation. 2003-present
  • Oversaw the building of a field station, training and management of over 20 field assistants; established long term monitoring of tree phenology, seed dispersal and forest restoration 2003-present
  • Found funding from TY Danjuma for a 20ha CTFS ForestGeo plot at Ngel Nyaki forest Nigeria 2015
  • Advisor to undergraduate Nigerian students based at the NMFP field station for their work experience 2006-present.
  • Field research in Svalbard as part of NERC funded post doctoral fellowship 1992-1994

Professional Services

I am an Associate Editor (Subject editor) of:

  • The African Journal of Ecology (AJE) 2016-present
  • COGENT- Environment (Open Source) 2016-present
  • Bima Journal of Science and Technology (Nigerian) 2015-present
  • Mentor for BSc and MSc student research projects, Taraba State University, Gombe State University and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Nigeria.
  • Chair of the UC School of Biological Sciences Annual Biology Conference – 2017-current
  • Represented New Zealand for New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade at the Academy of science of South Africa (ASSAf) Poverty Reduction meeting in Pretoria. 2016
  • Blogs for ALERT – the Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers and Thinkers. ‘Massive superhighway imperils Nigeria’s environment’ and  ‘China’s rapacious appetite for timber is devastating West Africa’s woodland’ 2017
    Chair of the Taraba State UN_REDD Technical Committee 2010-14
  • Worked with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) to interact with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Environment on the revision of the National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (NBSAP) for Nigeria. 2012
  • Invited participation in the Wildlife Conservation Society ‘Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee conservation action planning group’ Calabar meeting. 2009.
  • Raised $50,000 US and organised the building of a nursery school for 300 children from Yelwa village nearby the Nigerian Montane Forest Project, Taraba State. 2008.
  • Seconded onto the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) Taraba State Community Forestry Advisory Committee (2004-2007)
  • Contract with Birdlife International GEF funded botanical survey of Tchabal Mbabo, Cameroon 2004