A peatland in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, where degraded peat swamp forest (left) abuts an area recently drained and converted into an oil palm plantation (mature plantings are visible in the background); pioneer species are regenerating in the foreground, amidst felled forest trees, ferns and young oil palms.  [Image taken by L.E.S.Cole.]
September 30th, 2014

A plug for peat

The challenge of conserving tropical peat amidst the rising tide of oily palms “Tropical peat swamps….what, like bogs?” asks a friend, hearing about my research for the first time. “Yes, bogs with trees on top,” I reply. “Why peat bogs?” they ask, entirely bemused. Good question. Tropical peat swamp forests are full of mosquitoes, infested […]

New Guinea fig specimen, georeferencing maps and habitat suitability model integrated in the Google Earth interface
Picture credit: Thomas Starnes, RBG Kew
September 30th, 2014

From 20th Century plant hunters to 21st Century forest modellers – the many uses of biological records in forest biodiversity conservation

What could early 20th Century plant hunters have to do with the contemporary conservation movement? Research conducted by scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew draws on plant collections made from the tropical rainforest of New Guinea over 60 years ago to help make predictions about the past, current and future distributions of ecologically and […]