Effects of disturbances on forest canopy and microclimate

The TreeD lab is conducting cutting edge research to better understand how different types of anthropogenic disturbance is affecting tropical forests worldwide.

The group currently run experiments in tree different continents, with hundreds of microclimate sensors spread over strategic and unique locations. From logging in Borneo's forests to fragmentation in the Amazon, forest scanning surveys and microclimate data collection may reveal the interaction of canopy change and their effects on microclimate.

Few regions have seen such rapid and extensive transformation as Borneo. The vast majority of the remaining forests in the region have been selectively logged, radically altering forest composition and structure. A combination of land‐use intensification and climate change are rapidly altering environmental conditions at both local and regional scales. We are using a Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS) to investigate how forest canopy structure is affected with different logging intensities across the SAFE Project landscape, one of the largest ecological experiments in the world. Through continuous microclimate measurements, we also investigate how climatic variations (i.e. precipitation, temperature) interact with changes in the canopy due to logging to alter the microclimatic conditions (soil humidity, understory temperature).

In 2019, the TreeD lab also conducted an exciting field work campaign at the "Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project" (PDBFF), in the Brazilian Amazon. During this campaign we collected TLS data along seven transects to create high-resolution 3D models of the forest. Alongside, we installed hundreds of microcliamte sensors which will continuously monitor temperature and soil humidity every 15 minutes. These data will allow us to investigate edge effects from an unprecedented perspective, opening the path to unveiling timely knowledge on how humans are affecting forest environments, and what can be done to mitigate these impacts.

Watch the video to understand our sampling design in the Amazon.