New paper on fragmented species–area relationships published in Ecology Letters

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 arrangeimage20ments 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.

For a nice summary of the study check the main author’s lab website.

Access the publication HERE.


Rebecca Senior publishes in Global Change Biology

PhD student Rebecca Senior has just published her research about thermal buffering in selectively logged forests in Global Change Biology.

Themal-image2Selectively 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:


Click HERE for the full article (Open Access).

Click HERE to read the story on the University of Sheffield news page.




Edwards Lab does Science Outreach!

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 ( 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!



Lots of good feedback about Discovery Night!




Felix Lim publishes in Conservation Letters

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.

Click HERE for the full article

Masters student, Ed Bashman, publishes in Animal Conservation!

EWB0312 (13)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


Farmlands and bird phylogenetic diversity

How to best protect avian phylogenetic diversity when converting natural habitats to farmland? By integrating wildlife friendly habitats within farmlands or by intensifying farming in some areas to allow tTrogon personatushe offset of natural reserves?

Edwards et al. (2015) study the effects of these two strategies (land-sharing vs land-sparing) and conclude that small-scale integration of wildlife friendly patches may not be enough for many bird species to persist without the protection of larger natural areas. Thus, a land-sparing strategy is more likely to retain evolutionary distinct bird species while establishing highly productive farmland areas.

For a nice summary of the study check GrrlScientist’s article in The Guardian and some great bird pictures here.

Access the Current Biology publication HERE

Photograph by James Gilroy. Female masked trogon, Trogon personatus, an agriculture loser (land-sparing is best)

Lewis, Edwards and Galbraith in Science

DSC_0544“Increasing human dominance of tropical forests” co-authored by Dr Edwards has just been published in Science. Four chronological phases of human influences on tropical forests are discussed: phase I, hunting and megafauna extinctions; phase II, low-intensity shifting cultivation; and phase III, global integration in which economics drives land-use and climate change.

Finally, the very dreaded phase IV may take place in the near future, so-called “global simplification” by which intensive logging and rapid climatic changes would cause worldwide loss of species. The future lies in the hands of humankind…

Click HERE for the full article