I am interested in understanding how human activities impact tropical forest biodiversity, and the ecosystem services and functions that biodiversity delivers. I have been working in the Brazilian Amazon since 1998, but also work in other tropical countries in Africa and South and Central America.
My main research projects are:
ECOFOR (Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in degraded and recovering Amazonian and Atlantic Forests)
I am the UK principal investigator of the NERC-FAPESP funded ECOFOR consortium project, which is part of NERC’s Human-Modified Tropical Forest programme. This is being conducted in partnership with Prof. Carlos Joly at UNICAMP, and other institutions in the UK, Brazil and Sweden. This project aims to improve our understanding of the responses of tropical forests to climate change, logging and deforestation. ECOFOR’s fieldwork is focussed on the Amazon and Atlantic Forests of Brazil and combines data from a network of intensive long-term monitoring sites and a large-scale set of extensive plots, all of which are distributed along a gradient of human-modification, from intact to severely altered forests.
The Sustainable Amazon Nework (Rede Amazônia Sustentável):
Working in the eastern Brazilian Amazon, the Sustainable Amazon Network brings together scientists, conservation practitioners and local stakeholders to further our understanding of the environmental and socio-economic trade-offs in the world's largest remaining expanse of tropical forest.
RAS website: http://www.redeamazoniasustentavel.org/
Recent press releases:
Long-term monitoring of forest management:
I am one of the lead investigators of the Jari long-term monitoring project, which is assessing the biological impact of selective logging and plantation forestry in the Jari region of the northeast Brazilian Amazon. Work has been ongoing for more than 10 years, with key publications in PNAS & Ecology Letters. The research is currently funded by the Brazilian Research Council (CNPq) as part of its Long-Term Ecological Study programme (PELD) (PI, Julio Louzada).
The functional consequences of forest degradation in Amazonia:
Forest degradation through logging, fire and fragmentation effects are well known to impact on forest composition. However, the functional consequences of these changes are much less known. Does degradation favour tree communities dominated by small-seeded and wind-dispersed species, reducing their value for large-bodied mammals? This project will test this be combining a detailed dataset on tree traits with the Sustainable Amazon Network’s data on the responses of tree communities to human impacts in two regions of the Brazilian Amazon. This research is funded by the Brazilian Research Council (CNPq), with Ima Vieira as PI, as part of the science without borders programme.
I teach on a variety of modules within the Ecology and Conservation and Geography undergraduate and post-graduate programmes, using my expertise in tropical forests to illustrate the many tensions between economic development and conservation.