A paper tackling the classic ecological question of how manyspecies are lost as a forest or other habitat is destroyed is now published in Ecology Letters, with the collaboration of one of our own, Felix.
The team’s method – novelty – derives new formulas to quickly calculate ranges of immediate species loss expected in different landscapes. The formulas simulate different arrangements of habitat loss, from block deforestation to highly fragmented landscapes. Taking fragmentation into account means enabling improved estimates of the impact on species as forests are cleared which then informs better conservation strategies.
The study also found that the pattern of habitat fragmentation can have enormous effects on species loss, especially at large scales: in the Amazon case study estimated species loss varies by a factor of 16 across fragmentation scenarios.
PhD student Rebecca Senior has just published her research about thermal buffering in selectively logged forests in Global Change Biology.
Selectively logged tropical forests harbour much of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity; their ability to do so in the long term will depend in part on the extent to which temperature-sensitive species can respond to climate change in situ. Using thermal images and temperature dataloggers, Rebecca found that—despite major differences in forest structure—thermal buffering potential in intensively logged forest on Borneo was comparable to that of undisturbed primary forest. Selectively logged forests can therefore play a crucial role in the long-term maintenance of global biodiversity.
Rebecca gave a short interview on BBC Radio Sheffield about this work and what it means for biodiversity:
Welcome Maria Wang (PhD), Callum Nixon and Tom Pearson (MRes), and Gianluca Cerullo (MBiolSci) to the Lab! We’re also delighted that Luke is rejoining and Patrick (Paddy) is staying on as PhD students.
The Edwards Lab got involved with some Science Outreach last week! We took part in the annual Discovery Night event (10th March) at The University of Sheffield as part of the Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/discoverynight). We organised a tropical forest exhibit that included activities for the whole family to learn about the unique features of the tropical rainforest, the extraordinary creatures that live there and the current threats to these beautiful forests. The Nadeau lab joined us and brought live tropical butterflies to the exhibit too! We got to share our current research on tropical forests and provide tips on what the public can do at home to help save these important habitats. The event was packed full of families interested in what scientists have been up to and thoroughly enjoyed the event. Our first outreach event as a lab was a success and all round a great experience!
All set and ready to go!
Cindy and Beth with their forest layer game.
Tamora ready to talk about the microclimate of a forest.
Joli and Patrick teaching about tropical food webs.
Ileana and Katie doing origami of tropical animals!
Manoela with her recreation of the size of an Amazonian tree base.
Felix with his activity about the palm oil issue.
Emma from the Nadeau Lab with their tropical butterflies!
PhD student Felix Lim has published his work on perverse market consequences of conservation actions in Conservation Letters.
The unintended consequences brought about by market feedback effects are often overlooked, yet perverse market outcomes could result in reduced or even reversed net impacts of conservation efforts. Felix and coauthors develop an economic framework to describe how the intended impacts of conservation interventions could be compromised due to unanticipated reactions to regulations in the market: policies aimed at restricting supply could potentially result in leakage effects through external or unregulated markets. Felix reviews how various intervention methods could result in negative feedback impacts on biodiversity, including legal restrictions like protected areas, market-based approaches, and agricultural intensification, and offers suggestions of how to design conservation actions to ensure the risks of perverse market outcomes are detected, if not overcome.
Former masters student Ed Bashman (email) has published his research in Animal Conservation, congratulations! Here is a short summary written by Pam (co-author):
“Amphibian abundance, species richness and threatened species were assessed in cattle pasture, secondary forests (recovering forests) and primary forests in the Tropical Andes. Cattle pasture had the lowest values across all habitats. As secondary forests matured, they recovered to values typically found in primary forests. Also, a positive relationship between carbon stocks and amphibian species richness and abundance suggests that carbon-based funding initiatives can support the regrowth of forests and is likely to conserve threatened biodiversity in the Tropical Andes.” Photo credit: Ed Bashman
Some of us (PhD and Masters students) went to the Tropical Butterfly House near Sheffield to demonstrate for undergraduates in the Tropical Ecology module that David coordinates. The lemurs provided a lot of entertainment!