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ENV East Doctoral Training Partnership


Applications to the EnvEast Doctoral Training Partnership are now closed.

Below you can browse some of the PhD projects we have previously funded; if you would like to be informed when applications open, or if you have any questions about EnvEast and our application process, please email us.

Projects previously funded by EnvEast


Understanding covariation between biodiversity and ecosystem functions across a modified tropical landscape (CASE award with the Royal Society South East Asia Rainforest Research Programme)

Project description

Tropical forests support much of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity yet, globally, approximately half their extent is considered degraded. Human influences have resulted in environments dominated by disturbed forests, agricultural mosaics and other modified habitats, leading to concerns that ecosystem functions are being eroded and greenhouse gas emissions elevated. The long-term persistence of biodiversity, and the important biogeochemical cycles it underpins, are thus dependent on how the wider tropical landscape is managed.

Several policies/certification schemes are available to mitigate the impacts of rainforest exploitation and agricultural expansion, typically favouring the preservation of forest remnants and riparian vegetation within production estates. However, most ecological research informing the design of tropical landscapes has focussed on fragmentation, without explicitly examining the value of riparian corridors. Against this backdrop, the United Nations REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) programme aims to enhance carbon stocks via payments for ecosystem services. One key assumption of REDD+ is that forest management to secure carbon will also benefit biodiversity, but few studies have tested this. This project aims to delineate and model biodiversity and carbon provision at a fine-scale, assessing whether degraded areas significant for carbon are also important for species of conservation concern.

The study will be nested within the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) project in Malaysian Borneo, and will run in parallel the NERC Human-Modified Tropical Forests programme.

Dr Zoe Davies
Dr Glen Reynolds (RS-SEARRP, CASE supervisor)
  • Start date 1 October 2014