James is using high frequency repeat UAV lidar scanning and satellite remote sensing to better understand the phenology of tropical forests and their response to future climate change. By conducting regular surveys in the Amazonian forests of French Guiana, he hopes to assess subtle seasonal changes to leaf area/density down to the level of individual trees, and thereby decipher enigmatic rainforest phenomena such as the dry season green-up of the Amazon. He also works on applying deep learning approaches to better understand and predict threats to tropical forests. Supporting the work of international rainforest conservation and climate change NGO Cool Earth.
James reported his field trip in 2020 to the Amazon rainforest of French Guiana on Nature.