Professor McDonald holds a personal chair in ecology and catchment management at Bangor University. She is Head of the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography which has >450 undergraduate students, 162 masters students, 60 PhD students and 30 members of faculty. She has been an active researcher in international environmental issues for over 20 years, with broad research expertise in soil conservation and fertility; impacts of anthropogenic and natural disturbance on forest ecosystems; tropical forest regeneration; agroforestry systems, water regulating ecosystem services and forest restoration through fallow management. She has field experience in 14 countries. She is a founder and consortium member of the joint European MSc programme in Sustainable Tropical Forestry (SUTROFOR), and the global PhD programme in Forest and Nature for Society (FONASO). She is a Practitioner of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment; Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy; and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.