Graduate student in the Forest Ecology and Conservation group,
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
Tropical peatlands play an important role in the global carbon pool but are currently under severe anthropogenic pressure due to drainage, fire and logging. Peat swamp forests covering so-called peat domes in the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan are shaped by strong nutrient availability and waterlogging gradients. While research has broadly addressed composition and structure changes of rain forest communities along small-scale light gradients and large-scale soil fertility and precipitation gradients, far less is known about waterlogging gradients and in general about these processes in peat swamp forests. Using a field and an airborne remote sensing (LIDAR – LIght Detection And Ranging) approach, I will measure vegetation traits along the environmental gradients and in different degradation types. LIDAR will allow interpolating plot-based data to landscape scale and explore structural signatures of changing forest communities due to environmental gradients and to short-term and long-term effects of anthropogenic disturbance.