Tropical forests play an important role in the functioning of the Earth system. Attempts to understand some of these roles brings a novel combination of some of the traditional approaches with new toolkits associated with the Earth system sciences, toolkits such as satellite remote sensing, atmospheric observations and global biosphere-atmosphere models. In his talk, Yadvinder will showcase how these various approaches can work together to provide understanding of the influence of tropical forests at a planetary scale. He will focus on the specific case of the 2015/2016 El Niño, and try to answer the question: why do tropical forests pour out carbon dioxide during El Niño events, and what does this tell us about the future prospects for tropical forests and the global climate?
About the speaker
As Professor of Ecosystem Science at the School of Geography and the Environment, and Programme Leader of the Ecosystems Group at the Environmental Change Institute, Yadvinder’s research interests focus on understanding the functioning of ecosystems and how it is altered by processes of local and global change. He has a particular interest in tropical forests, but has recently been frequently sighted in polar regions. The broad scope of Yadvinder’s research interests is the impact of global change processes such as atmospheric change and direct human modification on the ecology, structure and composition of terrestrial ecosystems, and in particular temperate and tropical forests. This research addresses fundamental questions about ecosystem function, diversity and dynamics, whilst at the same time providing outputs of direct relevance for conservation and adaptation to climate change. His group applies a range of techniques including field physiological studies, intensive and long-term ecological monitoring, quantitative and qualitative social science methodologies, satellite remote-sensing and GIS, ecosystem modelling, and micrometeorological techniques. He also runs an active research programme at Oxford University’s Wytham Woods research site. In recent years he has developed an international research network (GEM: http://gem.tropicalforests.ox.ac.uk/) collecting data on ecosystem function in a number of research sites across the tropics.
Yadvinder is a Fellow of the Royal Society and President of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.