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

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 … Continue reading

Mapping tree architecture with lasers

The complexity of tree architecture may be the reason we find trees relaxing but it is hard to account for in ecology. Continue reading

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

We have quantified the effect of habitat fragmentation on diversity patterns of plants and seed dispersers in an artificial island archipelago, and concluded that differential responses of seed dispersers to habitat fragmentation may lead to pervasive shifts in the plant community structure of regenerating forest fragments. Continue reading

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

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

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 an El Niño event at a site in northern Borneo. Spaceborne measurements (i.e. NDVI calculated from MODIS data) show the rainforest canopy greened throughout 2015, coinciding with a strengthening of the El Niño event in Sabah, Malaysia, then lost greenness in early 2016, when the El Niño was at its peak. Leaf chemical and structural traits measured for mature leaves of 65 species (104 branches from 99 tree canopies), during and after this El Niño event revealed that chlorophyll and carotenoid concentrations were 35% higher in mid 2015 than in mid 2016. Foliar concentrations of the nutrients N, P, K and Mg did not vary, suggesting the mineralisation and transportation processes were unaffected by the El Niño event. … Continue reading

Forest gain doesn’t stop forest fragmentation in China

We have evaluated the history, current situation and trends of forest fragmentation in China, and summarised their effects on biodiversity. Continue reading

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. … Continue reading

Forest protect animals and plants against warming

We have quantified the temperature difference between sites within forests and outside, for the first time across the globe. Measurements occurred at 98 locations spread across five continents, in the tropics, temperate zone and northern boreal forests. The data show that the maximum temperature in forests is … Continue reading

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