Catherine Finlayson, PhD


My PhD research forms part of a wider project 20998_10155665768785570_4868174425954366691_ninvestigating the restoration of degraded tropical forests by the removal of lianas.

While it is crucial to protect the remaining primary forest, restoring degraded rainforest also holds real potential to mitigate the loss of tropical forests. Lianas (woody climbing plants) thrive in disturbed forest and stunt the growth of trees and forest succession, and studies have shown that liana removal increases the growth of trees and recruitment of seedlings. Removing lianas could also have negative consequences, however, as they are a significant component of the ecosystem and provide food for numerous taxa, alongside other functions.

My research will investigate this cost-benefit trade-off by removing different percentages of lianas from degraded (logged) forest in Sabah, Borneo. I will also consider whether liana removal can generate income from carbon credits to incentivise restoration. Ultimately, I hope to develop a cost-effective practice that wholly restores degraded rainforest, preventing further damaging activities such as logging or conversion to palm oil plantations.


Finlayson, C., Saingamsook, J. and Somboon, P. 2015. A simple and affordable membrane-feeding method for Aedes aegpyti and Anopheles minimus (Diptera: Culicidae). Acta Tropica 152:245-51.

Click here for my CV.

About me

Other than being a researcher I love being active and outdoors – I’m happy trying all kinds of sorts of sports and playing competitive squash. I am also very fond of pubs, beer, eating good food and travelling.