The world’s tropical forests harbor the majority of Earth’s biodiversity, regulate global climate, and form the basis for the livelihoods of rural communities worldwide, but the extent, structure, and composition of these forests are changing dramatically under the influence of human activities and their future is uncertain. Research in the Uriarte lab examines forest ecological dynamics in response to natural disturbance and human land use. We also examine the consequences of these changes for the ecosystem services. From a purely ecological perspective, this means that we focus on disturbance ecology, forest succession, and community assembly questions. Our research examines forest dynamics from stand and landscape perspectives, and includes geographic regions where forests have been subject to different forms of natural or anthropogenic disturbance, including fire, hurricanes, fragmentation, and expansion of tree plantations. The methodological thread that unites the diverse research projects housed in the lab is the application of spatially-explicit modelling techniques, simulation, and other advanced statistical and modelling tools to understand and forecast the dynamics of tropical landscapes.
Research Keywords: Tropical forest dynamics, Landscape ecology, Spatial ecology
Uriarte, M. M. Pinedo‐Vasquez , R. DeFries, K. Fernandes, V. Gutierrez-Velez, W. Baethgen, and C. Padoch. 2012. Depopulation of rural landscapes exacerbates fire activity in the Western Amazon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 109: 21546–21550.
Uriarte, M. J. S. Clark, L. S. Comita, J. Thompson, and J. K. Zimmerman. 2012. Multi-dimensional tradeoffs in species responses to disturbance: Implications for successional diversity in a subtropical forest. Ecology 93: 191-205.
Uriarte, M., C. Yackulic, Y. Lim, and J. Arce. 2011. Influence of land use on water quality in a tropical landscape: A multi-scale analysis. Landscape Ecology 26: 1151-1164.
Uriarte, M., C. D. Canham, J. Thompson, J. K. Zimmerman. 2009. Understanding natural disturbance and human land use as determinants of tree community dynamics in a subtropical wet forest: Results from a forest simulator. Ecological Monographs 79:423-443.