About Our Work:
Human population growth and resource consumption are placing enormous pressures on natural ecosystems. Our group are interested in how and why the world’s forests are changing, and using our research to inform conservation policy. Our research fits into four broad themes:
Airborne Remote Sensing
Airborne laser scanning (ALS) and hyperspectral imaging provides a new perspective on ecological dynamics, allowing us to track both the demography of individual trees and properties of the canopy over vast areas. We are using this technology to understand the impacts of logging, deforestation and forest conversion to oil palm as well as to identify how gradients of environmental factors can influence forest structure. There are also applications within forest dynamics, through use of novel techniques for plant species identification and forest biodiversity estimation from imaging data, and applications within carbon sequestration through above ground biomass estimation.
A blend of ground-based and remote sensing approaches are used to quantify carbon sequestration within forest ecosystems. We are developing expertise in LiDAR and hyperspectral imagery as a method to determine large scale forest structure and composition and we are also investigating factors which influence carbon fluxes such as the impacts of forest fire, herbivory, rates of wood decomposition, and how rates of assimilation change over time within individuals.
We are interested in modelling plant distributions and patterns of species diversity. As georeferenced information from herbaria and museums become more accessible through data portals such as GBIF, we are using species distribution models to predict species richness and diversity patterns at multiple scales. Additionally, we study how global changes such as invasive species, climate warming, eutrophication, and habitat fragmentation are affecting forest biodiversity and how species distributions are changing.
Our group seek to describe and quantify processes such as mortality, regeneration and species interactions, and how they change over time and across the landscape. A clear understanding of forest dynamics is necessary if these forest resources and biodiversity are to be managed and protected effectively, especially in the face of global change.
We combine several different approaches and methods within remote sensing and groundwork to better study forest dynamics. In parallel, the datasets these methods produce are being used to develop new, more accurate and comprehensive predictive models of forest dynamics.