The theme of our research is to understand the fate and conservation opportunities of biodiversity under anthropogenic impacts. Around this theme, current research in our lab follows two main directions:
1. Understanding how habitat degradation influences the ecology of wild species to inform forest restoration design
Through field data collection in a number of forest ecosystems in China and desktop analysis of map products and existing literature, we aim to assess how forest degradation – driven by agricultural land use and plantation development – influences the community composition and basic ecology of avian and arthropod diversity. We approach these influences mainly on the local scale, but where appropriate, we also consider their spatial pattern. Beyond understanding these influences per se, our work also aims to inform forest restoration design, in terms of what types of tree cover to restore and where, for better delivering the biodiversity conservation potential of forest restoration.
Our fieldwork is being conducted in China’s Sichuan (southwest), Guangxi (southeast), Inner Mongolia and Hebei (northern) Provinces, with more work planned for Zhejiang (eastern) and Heilongjiang (northeast) Provinces.
2. Assessing and harnessing the synergies and trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and other major societal needs from forest ecosystems
Our motivation of this research direction is to identify opportunities for biodiversity conservation by tackling some of the root causes of biodiversity declines (including agriculture and timber production), and by gauging the ‘co-benefit’ scope of biodiversity conservation in relation to other prominent environmental pursuits that often get major policy attention (e.g. nature-based climate solutions). Similar to the research direction above, we approach this direction using a combination of fieldwork and desktop analysis, and where appropriate, by integrating a socioeconomic perspective aimed at understanding the hurdles to conservation in relation to production and profit in the working landscapes.
Our fieldwork is being conducted in the same research systems as the direction above.