My research goal is to understand the dynamics of carbon and biodiversity in the world’s tropical forests, how these change with our changing climate, and how they feedback on the whole planet. My aspiration is to help create, sustain and grow the expertise capable of tracking Earth's most precious ecosystems through this century.
The scale of these endeavour is large. Its requires global team-work, a multidisciplinary approach, and an emphasis on growing capacity together with partners.
Because tropical forests are so productive and still occupy a relatively large portion of the planet's surface, small differences in their carbon balance can have a significant impact on slowing, or accelerating, the rate of global climate change. They also harbour at least half of all species on Earth, so it is vitally important to understand how the diversity of these forests is impacted by global atmospheric and climate change and how such changes in turn affect the carbon cycle. I lead long-term monitoring in Amazonia that has been tracking forest dynamics, biomass and biodiversity for 25 years. This work now spans 200 sites across Amazonia (the RAINFOR project) as well as beyond with the pan-tropical ForestPlots.net initiative which I lead.
Fellow of the Royal Society