Global monitoring of forests

We are creating and leading international projects to monitor forests

More on Global monitoring of forests
More on Global monitoring of forests

Ecology and global change

Ecology and Global Change

Working in biomes across the world from tropical rain forests to Arctic tundra, the Ecology and Global Change (EGC) group aims to determine the nature of environmental change at a range of temporal and spatial scales. EGC has made major advances in understanding the sensitivity of vegetation to orbital millennial scale climate forcing, carbon cycling in tropical forests and ecohydrological responses of peatlands to past climate change. 

One of our key research areas has been the global monitoring of forests by setting up and leading international projects RAINFOR, FORESTPLOTS, AFRITRON, AMAZONICA and TForces. As a result, our work has made important contributions to both international and national climate and environmental management policy agendas.

Our research

Ecosystems and evolution

  • Understanding ecological patterns of diversity, composition and ecosystem function in time and space
  • Quantifying the magnitude, rate and timing of ecosystem response to current and future climate change
  • Identifying the drivers of evolution in tropical ecosystems

Palaeoecology, palaeoclimate and chronostratigraphy

  • Understanding the nature and timing of climatic and environmental changes over millennial to decadal timescales
  • Quantifying past human impact on ecosystems
  • Examining the long-term ecohydrological dynamics of peatland environments
  • Developing high-resolution chronologies of past environmental change

Biogeochemical cycles

  • Analysing regional and global CO2 records to identify trends and the onset of feedbacks in the coupled climate-carbon cycle system
  • Dynamic vegetation modelling to predict the response of land vegetation to climate change
  • Analysing recent changes in the tropical hydrological cycle and plant functioning using tree ring isotopes
  • Analysing and modelling soil development
  • Understanding the importance of soil physical and chemical properties to ecosystem function in the tropics

Global environmental science

  • Designing and implementing measurement schemes to characterise and reduce global environmental uncertainties
  • Assessing dryland degradation and the sustainability of environmental management
  • Modelling long-term trends in national land use and land cover
  • Managing multiple ecosystem services
  • Communicating science concerning global environmental governance to policy makers

Contact us

If you would like to discuss an area of research in more detail please contact Dr Roel Brienen or Professor Oliver Phillips.

Equality and inclusion

We recognise that people experience barriers to participation in our activities based on characteristics including race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, health and economic background due to institutional discrimination. We endeavour to address this inequity of opportunity in the field of ecology and in academia. We seek to foster diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our research and teaching and to create an environment that is comfortable for everyone and which allows everyone to thrive. We commit to meeting these aims through demonstrable and measurable actions. To find out more about what we are doing to make our research cluster diverse and inclusive follow us on twitter or contact us via email at Further information on equality and inclusion in the Faculty of Environment can be found here.