Forest Ecology:
so much more than just trees…

Welcome to the home of all things forest ecology, from the diverse canopies of tropical and temperate rainforests, to the sprawling underground networks of essential, but often forgotten fungi. Here we hope to bring you some of what we consider to be the best and most fascinating science associated with forested ecosystems globally. We will be doing our best to synthesise and communicate this information in a way that doesn’t keep all the goodies locked away behind an impenetrable fortress of unfamiliar and overly technical wording.

There is a growing recognition across all disciplines of a need to communicate science and research more effectively to a wide range of audiences. To make sure the content you read here is both interesting and accessible we implement a peer-review process that brings together both specialists and general enthusiasts. Once drafted, articles are passed to a panel of non-specialists for review. Any comments are then reviewed and implemented by the original author to increase its accessibility following which the article is then published on this website. In the interests of transparency, both the author and the reviewer will be detailed alongside the article and both our authors and reviewers have a short bio detailing their background and research interests, enabling you to see who’s been involved along the way. Ultimately we hope this is a recipe for a positive, collaborative approach between scientists and non-specialists that ensures our content is accessible to as many people as possible.


A research journey...

This research blog is where I’ll be documenting my own personal research journey, the trials, tribulations, successes and failures. Part of the joy of a PhD is knowing that in one way or another, you will contribute something novel to science, pushing our knowledge and understanding in a positive direction, little by little, experiment by experiment. Every failure is its own form of success, but fingers crossed I find something interesting to share none the less! Check here for the latest and (hopefully) greatest.


What lies beneath...

Global ecosystems would literally cease to function without fungi. They recycle organic matter, help plants access both water and nutrients through symbiotic associations and form complex subterranean networks linking individuals and species to each other. Considering we are more closely related to fungi than plants and that they form a whole kingdom of their own, these are both fascinating but In many ways understudied organisms.


Nature's solar panels...

Plants in all their shapes and forms harness the light from the sun to fix carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into food that is the first step in the cascade of all life on earth. As a result we call these plants primary producers or “autotrophs” and their diversity and adaptability is bewildering! They provide the oxygen we breath, structure many of the habitats in which species live and regulate the climate, in short they are the green architecture upon which most of life, in one way or at one time or another relies.


The birds and the bees...

Every creature you can think of from the beautiful Amazon milk frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix), to the European badger (Meles meles) to the New Zealand bell bird (Anthornis melanura) contribute, to a greater or lesser extent, a functional role to forest ecosystems. Animals of all shapes and sizes help to disperse seeds, modify their environment and help to sustain either directly or indirectly many of the services we derive from the natural world, sometime in ways that are not immediately obvious. The maintenance of global biodiversity, across all kingdoms, has thus become a core priority in many parts of the world.


The foundation of understanding…

Theory underpins all we know, and what we think we might know about the natural world. But what good is a theory if it can’t be communicated and understood?  This section looks into some of the more interesting (possibly just to me..)  and foundational concepts in ecology, contextualised where possible within forest systems and presents in a no-nonsense and easy to understand format. Naturally not everything can or will be covered, and many of the topics will be a simplification of a considerably more complex concept, but that’s what extra reading is for! Some of which I’ll try to include.