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…

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…

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…

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…

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. Along with our colleagues from UCL and Wageningen University, we mapped the range of tree architecture using terrestrial laser scanning data. This was done by scanning trees and forests from multiple locations, fitting…

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….

Forests 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, on average across the globe, 4 degrees lower…

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…