Project Leader: Prof Yadvinder Malhi

Belize Project
Our work in Belize takes place with the collaboration of the Belize Forestry Department.  Three notable features of Belize's forests are: (1) the frequency of hurricane damage; (2) the widespread limestone bedrock leading to non-acidic tropical soils and (3) the extensive past legacy of the Mayan civilization. 

The team: 

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Project Leader: Prof Yadvinder Malhi
 
SAFE and BALI
The Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems project (SAFE) explores how forest biodiversity and ecosystem function vary along a gradient from intact forests (Maliau Basin), through to logged forest, fragmented forest and oil palm plantations in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. This is a 10-year, multi-partner project led by Imperial College. More details can be found at www.safeproject.net. Our team installed and runs the intensive monitoring plot and a flux tower measuring the impacts of conversion of forest to oil palm plantation.  
​In association with the SAFE, the BALI project (Biodiversity and Land Use Impacts on Tropical Ecosystem Function) is a large NERC funded consortium project looking at the interactions between biodiversity and biogeochemical functioning along disturbance gradients in Borneo.  It is centred on the SAFE and Maliau sites, but also includes old-growth forests at Lambir Hills (Sarawak) and restoration forest at Danum Valley.  BALI runs from 2013 to 2017.  

The team: 

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Project Leader: Prof Yadvinder Malhi
 
GEM-TRAIT Ghana: KWAEEMMA
As part of our global network of intensive plots and plant traits collection, we are working on a gradient in Ghana ranging from wet rainforest (Ankasa National Park) through semideciduous forest (Bobiri Experimental Forest) through to forest-savanna transition (Kogyae Wildlife Reserve). Along this gradient we are studying the relationships between drought, biodiversity and ecosystem function. This work is in close collaboration with the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) and also the University of Tuscia in Italy. The research is funded by grants from NERC (2011-2014) and the European Research Council (ERC), and also a new grant from the Leverhulme-Royal Society Africa Programme (2014-2016), focussed on "water stress, ecosystem function and tree functional diversity in tropical African forests".

The field campaign started in October 2014 and the main campaign finished in April 2015, but a follow-up study by Ghanaian PhD student Teresa Peprah is looking at the seasonal variation in lead traits and photosynthesis.

The team: 

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Project Leader: Prof Yadvinder Malhi
 
RAINFOR, AFRITRON and T-FORCES

RAINFOR (the Amazon Forest Inventory Network) is a network of forest inventory work across Amazonia. We co-founded RAINFOR together with Oliver Phillips of the University of Leeds in 2001. Since then RAINFOR has led to fundamental new insights into the Amazon carbon sink and its response to drought, and the functional biogeography of Amazonia. It has been funded by the European Union, NERC and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

AFRITRON is a sister network in Africa, co-ordinated by Simon Lewis of UCL/University of Leeds, obtaining similar insights for sites in Africa. We contribute sites in Ghana and Gabon (and in the future Ethiopia) to AFRITRON.

T-FORCES is a  project supported by the European Research Council that integrates and expand these plot networks, and also develops a similar network in SE Asia. Oxford's role is to conduct ecophysiological transects along elevation gradients in Peru (2014), and Australia (2015). The Peru campaign was completed in October 2014. The Australia campaign was completed in 2015.

The team: 

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Project Leader: Prof Yadvinder Malhi
ECOLIMITS

This is a new consortium project, looking at ecosystems services, degradation and links to poverty in the cocoa farm and forest landscape around Kakum National Park, Ghana, and the coffee growing landscape of south-western Ethiopia. It is funded by the NERC/DfID programme ESPA (Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation) and run from July 2013 for three years. It is in partnership with the University of Reading, The Nature Conservation Research Centre in Ghana and Ethiopia, and numerous other partners in both African countries.

The project field campaign kicked off in Ethiopia and Ghana in Feb-April 2014 and will continue for 2.5 years. A project workshop in Elmina, Ghana in October 2015 showed excellent progress, and a fascinating dataset being collected covering both natural and social science. A number of our DPhil students (Festus Asaaga, Gonzalo Griebenow, Christine Moore, Victoria Ferris) have attached additional projects to this core project.

In 2016 we have been awarded an additional grant by NERC, to examine the impacts of the 2015/2016 El Niño event on both these focus social-ecological systems. Both these study areas were affected by a strong drought during the El Niño. With the new grant we will be continuing to work at this site well into 2017.

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Project Leader: Prof Yadvinder Malhi
 
ECOFOR

ECOFOR is a UK-Brazil consortium project jointly funded by NERC and FAPESP. It looks at the links between biodiversity and ecosytem function along forest disturbance gradients in Brazil, one site in the costal Atlantic Forest of the Serra do Mar in Sao Paulo state, and the second main site in the Amazon Forest near Santarem, Para. The work will involve installing intensive monitoring plots in both sites, and collected information on plant traits and also bird communities.

The traits campaigns associated with this work have been underway through 2015

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Project Leader: Prof Yadvinder Malhi
Ancient southern temperate forests of Chile

The project is exploring the functioning and carbon dynamics of the magnificent Fitzroya forests of Chile. The magnificent southern temperate forests  contain some of the oldest trees on Earth, some of them several thousand years old. The project is led by the Universidad Austral de Chile and in particular Antonio Lara, and funded by Chilean government funding agencies. We have installed weather stations and intensive monitoring plots operated by DPhil student Rocio Urrutia, and in early 2014 a flux tower will be installed.

 

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Project Leader: Prof Yadvinder Malhi
Wytham Woods

Wytham Woods is Oxford University's own long-term research site, and has played in pivotal role in the history of ecology. Our group has a range of research there. This includes an 18 ha plot where 20,000 trees are being monitored as part of the SIGEO (Smithsonian Institute Global Earth Observatory) network, lots of 1 ha plots (including in edges and fragments) that are a joint project with Earthwatch, and an eddy covariance flux tower in partnership with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
 

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