Toby is working on the effects of wind on tropical forests. Wind causes large-scale damage to forests but the rates of damage are poorly constrained, especially in the tropics. In addition, trees adapt to their local wind conditions, meaning that wind can affect canopy height and carbon storage even in the absence of damage. This 4 year NERC funded project uses both airborne and terrestrial LiDAR to map forest structure and so model wind flow over a complex forest landscape. Toby will also be measuring wind speeds and the bending response of tall trees in situ. The project will begin at the local and regional scales and progress to a comparison of the effect of wind on forests in Malaysia, French Guiana and Puerto Rico.
Adventures in the forests
Publications and Blog
We have all seen trees swaying in the wind, but did you know that tree motion can teach us about ecology? Researchers have monitored tree motion for different purposes, from assessing wind damage risk to monitoring drought stress. Our new paper brings all this data together to study the differences between types of trees and test whether previous results generalize across a range of data sets. We computed a set of descriptive features from the tree motion time-series data and found that the conifers clustered into a relatively tight group.…
Expedition finds tallest tree in the Amazon
New research has discovered the tallest known tree in the Amazon, towering above the previous record holder at a height of 88.5 metres. This giant could store as much carbon as an entire hectare of rainforest elsewhere in the Amazon. Toby wrote a report of his expedition on The Conversation.
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 of tree height. Through consideration of both mechanical (risk of wind damage) and ecophysiological constraints we argue that this tree is close to the maximum height possible for angiosperms, around 100 m, and discuss more broadly what the nature and location of this tree imply…