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We use high-resolution remote sensing to understand how forests are responding to global environmental changes including logging, land management and climate change,  addressing key issues in ecology and conversation.

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Latest research


Partial river flow recovery with forest age is rare in the decades following establishment

River flow responses to forestation at annual time scales The landscapes of the future might look very different to those today, and many have argued that increasing tree cover is essential to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. But forests affect many naturalprocesses, including water availability. We systematically reviewed the literature to determine how … Continue reading Partial river flow recovery with forest age is rare in the decades following establishment

A Research Agenda for Microclimate Ecology in Human-Modified Tropical Forests

Logging and habitat fragmentation impact tropical forest ecosystems in numerous ways, perhaps the most striking of which is by altering the temperature, humidity, and light environment of the forest—its microclimate. Because local-scale microclimatic conditions directly influence the physiology, demography and behavior of most species, many of the impacts of land-use intensification on the biodiversity and … Continue reading A Research Agenda for Microclimate Ecology in Human-Modified Tropical Forests

Imaging spectroscopy reveals the effects of topography and logging on the leaf chemistry of tropical forest canopy trees

In this study we show that logged tropical forests have reduced leaf nutrient concentrations compared with old-growth forests and this becomes more pronounced as forests recover in stature. Our findings suggest rock-derived nutrients, such as phosphorus, in short supply in tropical forests on old soils, are depleted by as much as 30% by logging. This … Continue reading Imaging spectroscopy reveals the effects of topography and logging on the leaf chemistry of tropical forest canopy trees

Seasonal drivers of understorey temperature buffering in temperate deciduous forests across Europe

Forest understorey microclimates are often buffered against extreme heat or cold, with important implications for the organisms living in these environments. We quantified seasonal effects of understorey microclimate predictors describing canopy structure, canopy composition and topography (i.e., local factors) and the forest patch size and distance to the coast (i.e., landscape factors). The local canopy … Continue reading Seasonal drivers of understorey temperature buffering in temperate deciduous forests across Europe

Changes in leaf functional traits of rainforest canopy trees associated with an El Niño event in Borneo

El Niño events generate periods of relatively low precipitation, low cloud cover and high temperature over the rainforests of Southeast Asia, but their impact on tree physiology remains poorly understood. Here we use remote sensing and functional trait approaches – commonly used to understand plant acclimation to environmental fluctuations – to evaluate rainforest responses to … Continue reading Changes in leaf functional traits of rainforest canopy trees associated with an El Niño event in Borneo

Using image spectroscopy to study diversity in tropical forests

Tropical forests harbour remarkable density and diversity of woody plants, but how different processes interact to enable so many species to co-exist despite intense competition for resources is yet unresolved. Traditionally, tropical diversity has been studied by establishing field inventory plots, but this is difficult and labour-intensive task, which limits the area that can be … Continue reading Using image spectroscopy to study diversity in tropical forests

The world’s tallest tropical tree in three dimensions

Here we report the recent discovery of the world’s tallest tropical tree (Shorea faguetiana), possibly the world’s tallest angiosperm (flowering plant), located in the rainforests of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. In addition, we provide a novel three-dimensional exploration of the dimensions of this remarkable tree and use these data to speculate on what drives the limits … Continue reading The world’s tallest tropical tree in three dimensions

Forest gain doesn’t stop forest fragmentation in China

Most studies exploring habitat fragmentation effect on biodiversity were conducted at the local or regional level. These studies generally ignored background information (e.g. history, drivers and dynamics) of forest fragmentation which is critical for biodiversity conservation at large scales (e.g. national scale). Hence, these studies provided little practical implications for forest management in fragmented landscapes. … Continue reading Forest gain doesn’t stop forest fragmentation in China

Indirect effects of habitat fragmentation on seed dispersers influence plant community structure

Traditional studies generally consider habitat fragmentation as a driver of downsizing of plant seeds due to the disappearance of large seed dispersing vertebrates. However, most of these studies focuses on old‐growth forests, and much less is known about influences of habitat fragmentation on seed size pattern in patches of regenerating forests. This pattern may differ … Continue reading Indirect effects of habitat fragmentation on seed dispersers influence plant community structure

A critique of general allometry-inspired models for estimating forest carbon density from airborne LiDAR

There is currently much interest in developing general approaches for mapping forest aboveground carbon density using structural information contained in airborne LiDAR data. The most widely utilized model in tropical forests assumes that aboveground carbon density is a compound power function of top of canopy height (a metric easily derived from LiDAR), basal area and … Continue reading A critique of general allometry-inspired models for estimating forest carbon density from airborne LiDAR

The microclimate mapping challenge

Organisms experience climate at a small scale, where the topography and the vegetation cause microclimates that vary greatly in space and time. The difference in temperature between north and south facing slopes of a mole hill on a hot summer’s day in Europe, for example, is comparable to the temperature difference between the Mediterranean and … Continue reading The microclimate mapping challenge

Canopy height mapping with drones

We have assessed the quality of three dimensional forest models produced from drone surveys, and conclude that concerns about their quality for canopy height and carbon measurement are unjustified. The rise of drones has been explosive. Rapid advances in technology and decreases in price have resulted in products that can be used off-the-shelf to survey … Continue reading Canopy height mapping with drones

A simple approach to forest structure classification using airborne laser scanning that can be adopted across bioregions

Reliable assessment of forest structural types (FSTs) aids sustainable forest management. We developed a methodology for the identification of FSTs using airborne laser scanning (ALS), and demonstrate its generality by applying it to forests from Boreal, Mediterranean and Atlantic biogeographical regions. First, hierarchal clustering analysis (HCA) was applied and clusters (FSTs) were determined in coniferous … Continue reading A simple approach to forest structure classification using airborne laser scanning that can be adopted across bioregions

Topography shapes the structure, composition and function of tropical forest landscapes

Topography is a key driver of tropical forest structure and composition, as it constrains local nutrient and hydraulic conditions within which trees grow. Yet, we do not fully understand how changes in forest physiognomy driven by topography impact other emergent properties of forests, such as their aboveground carbon density (ACD). Working in Borneo – at … Continue reading Topography shapes the structure, composition and function of tropical forest landscapes


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