Empirical field work
Empirical field work forms the base of the Forest Ecology and Conservation Research Group, with team members working in places as diverse as New Zealand, Brazil, Kenya, Malaysia and the Comoro Islands. Although much of the work focusses on the responses of invertebrate communities to spatial patterns of forest cover, group members have also studied bird, mammal and amphibian communities. Field projects range from small-scale, focused projects conducted in a single field season through to the S.A.F.E. project, a ten-year experimental manipulation of forest cover across a 8500 ha landscape in Borneo.
Explaining and predicting deforestation
Explaining and predicting deforestation patterns in space and time is an important component of research. To fully understand the impacts of land use change on biodiversity, we need to understand how and why landscapes are changing. To this end, team members combine biophysical and economic data to explain historical patterns of land use change, using these analyses to generate future scenarios of changing forest cover. This work ranges in scale from regional case studies through to global analyses.
Biodiversity scenarios combine land use change models with empirical data on species responses to land use change, allowing us to make reasonable predictions about the future of biodiversity. This work is both analytical, trying to understand the formal mechanisms underlying changes to diversity that arise from forest loss and fragmentation, and statistical, extrapolating observed responses across future landscapes.