Edward L. Webb

Edward L. Webb
University of Helsinki | HY · Department of Forest Sciences

Ph.D.

About

184
Publications
100,700
Reads
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7,094
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2021 - present
University of Helsinki
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • Professor of Global Forests and Land Use Director if the Viikki Tropical Resources Institute
June 2008 - September 2021
National University of Singapore
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (184)
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Background Mangrove forests are ecologically important but globally threatened intertidal plant communities. Effective mangrove conservation requires the determination of species identity, management units, and genetic structure. Here, we investigate the genetic distinctiveness and genetic structure of an iconic but yet taxonomically conf...
Article
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Aim Mangroves are intertidal plants with sea-dispersed propagules, hence their population structure can offer valuable insights into the biogeographical processes driving population subdivision in coastal species. In this study, we used molecular markers and ocean circulation simulations to examine the effects of ocean currents and land masses on t...
Article
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The structure and dynamics of cyclone-prone tropical forests are driven in part by variation in tree species resistance to and survival after wind-induced structural damage. We determined the factors associated with tree damage and 3-yr survival following Category 5 Cyclone Olaf on the Polynesian island of Ta'u, American Samoa. Despite sustaining a...
Article
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Aims Human‐induced pressures such as deforestation cause anthropogenic range contractions (ARCs). Such contractions present dynamic distributions that may engender data misrepresentations within species distribution models. The temporal bias of occurrence data—where occurrences represent distributions before (past bias) or after (recent bias) ARCs—...
Article
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As deforestation breaches into new tropical frontiers, proactive conservation strategies require a trifecta of information on where deforestation is accelerating (emergent), how drivers of deforestation vary spatiotemporally, and where to focus limited conservation resources in protecting the most integral yet threatened forested landscapes. Here w...
Article
Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is the world’s largest source of anthropogenic mercury emissions and releases. These have devastating consequences for miners' health and the environment. Most of the >20 million ASGM miners worldwide are not officially recognized, registered, regulated, or protected by state laws. Formalization—the proc...
Article
Examining ecosystem functioning of logged-over forests requires a quantitative trait-based monitoring approach, in addition to a taxonomic approach, which allows for evaluation of the accompanying shifts in species traits and functional composition. Our study evaluated forest regrowth after different logging and thinning techniques applied to 60 on...
Article
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Agricultural practices can have long‐lasting impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem properties that persist decades after abandonment. Many Pacific island nations are shifting consumption patterns away from subsistence agriculture and abandoning traditional cultivation practices, and the local extirpation of native seed dispersers across the Pacific...
Article
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Many countries allow lawsuits to hold responsible parties liable for the environmental harm they cause. Such litigation remains largely untested in most biodiversity hotspots and is rarely used in response to leading drivers of biodiversity loss, including illegal wildlife trade. Yet, liability litigation is a potentially groundbreaking conservatio...
Article
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Premise: Rarity is a complex and central concept in ecology and conservation biology. Yet, it is still poorly understood why some species are rare and others common. Here, we aimed to understand the drivers of species rarity patterns in woody plant communities. Methods: We analyzed the local abundance and landscape frequency of 121 woody plant s...
Article
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Increasing urbanization in the tropics has led to the loss of natural habitats and local extirpations and the introduction of non-native plants in urban centers. Non-native plants can have widespread positive and negative ecological implications on native fauna including butterflies. In the small tropical urbanized city-state of Singapore, Aristolo...
Article
Mountains are critical ecosystems that have a strong influence far beyond their topographic boundaries. More than 50 million people inhabit the Himalayas, and more than one billion people depend on the ecosystem services they provide. Anthropogenic activities have driven concurrent deforestation and regeneration in the Himalayas, and interventions...
Article
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Adequate representation of species and habitats is a critical aspect of an effective protected area (PA) network. Here, we evaluate the representation of focal wildlife species and forest types within the existing 11,241-km2 PA network of the Tanintharyi Region in southern Myanmar, a frontier forest landscape and global biodiversity hotspot, and us...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many countries allow lawsuits to hold responsible parties liable for the environmental harm they cause. Such litigation remains largely untested in most biodiversity hotspots and in response to leading drivers of biodiversity loss, including illegal wildlife trade. Yet, liability litigation is a potentially ground-breaking conservation strategy to...
Article
Full-text available
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) encourage nations to substantially increase food production to achieve zero hunger (SDG 2) while preserving life on land (SDG 15). A key question is how to reconcile these potentially competing goals spatially. We use integer linear programming to develop an ‘integrated land use planning framework’ that iden...
Article
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Southeast Asian forests are dominated by the tree family Dipterocarpaceae, whose abundance and diversity are key to maintaining the structure and function of tropical forests. Like most biodiversity, dipterocarps are threatened by deforestation and climate change, so it is crucial to understand the potential impacts of these threats on current and...
Article
Logged-over forests comprise a large proportion of tropical forest landscapes, but questions remain on how to fully describe and understand the regeneration of these forests and which selective logging and silvicultural interventions are best for maintaining biological diversity. We used a phylogenetic approach to capture changes on the evolutionar...
Article
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Camera traps have become a popular sampling tool in ecological studies. This is especially true for studies that estimate population densities through spatial capture-recapture models of species with physical traits allowing individual identification. However, misidentification is a potential problem when trying to identify individuals from photogr...
Article
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Aim Palms are an iconic, diverse and often abundant component of tropical ecosystems that provide many ecosystem services. Being monocots, tree palms are evolutionarily, morphologically and physiologically distinct from other trees, and these differences have important consequences for ecosystem services (e.g., carbon sequestration and storage) and...
Article
Species abundance distributions (SADs) characterise the distribution of individuals among species. SADs have rarely been explored on islands and the ecological processes shaping SADs are still not fully understood. Notably, the relative importance of disturbance regime in shaping plant SADs remains poorly known. We investigate the relative importan...
Article
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Large protected areas are essential for the long-term conservation of wide-ranging or low-density large carnivore populations. However, small protected areas can also contribute to carnivore conservation if they have sufficient prey density, if wildlife crime is controlled and if they are connected to other protected areas and/or embedded within a...
Article
Dispersal distances of 17 species of butterflies in tropical Singapore were significantly greater in forest than in urban habitat. Butterflies in urban plots frequently moved within suitable habitat (park/grassland) patches but rarely crossed non‐habitat patches suggesting potential isolation and a need for urban corridors.
Article
Aim Biogeographical barriers restrict the movement of individuals, resulting in population divergence, genetic differentiation, endemism and speciation. Yet, some barriers demonstrate unequal effect across species depending on species dispersal, which manifests in varying genetic structure. We test the hypotheses that the genetic structure of four...
Article
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Mangroves are one of the world's most threatened ecosystems, and Myanmar is regarded as the current mangrove deforestation hotspot globally. Here, we use multi-sensor satellite data and Intensity Analysis to quantify and explain patterns of net and gross mangrove cover change (loss, gain, persistence) for the 1996–2016 period across all of Myanmar....
Article
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Informal gold mining (IGM) is a major driver of deforestation and source of global mercury emissions. Policy makers may seek to control the spread of IGM by enforcing rules and/or providing alternative livelihoods. We investigated the dynamics and drivers of IGM in northern Myanmar to shed light on the conditions needed for alternative livelihood a...
Article
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Urban expansion threatens biodiversity worldwide, therefore urban spaces need to be amenable to biodiversity conservation. On trees in urban environments, natural colonisation and successful translocation of epiphytic orchids are necessary to enhance urban biodiversity, and depend on the availability of compatible orchid mycorrhizal fungi (OMF). Ho...
Conference Paper
Deforestation in the Himalayas has been a long-standing concern and has been well-documented in the literature; however, case studies of afforestation are far and few in between. Additionally, highly focused studies fail to identify the distant actors that influence local processes. A fundamental conceptual map of various social, political and ecol...
Article
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Southeast (SE) Asia holds high regional biodiversity and endemism levels but is also one of the world's most threatened regions. Local, regional and global threats could have severe consequences for the future survival of many species and the provision of ecosystem services. In the face of myriad pressing environmental problems, we carried out a r...
Article
Dispersal allows species to shift their distributions in response to changing climate conditions. As a result, dispersal is considered a key process contributing to a species' long‐term persistence. For many passive dispersers, fluid dynamics of wind and water fuel these movements and different species have developed remarkable adaptations for util...
Article
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Urbanisation has contributed to significant biodiversity loss, yet, urban areas can facilitate biodiversity conservation. For instance, there is evidence of urban trees supporting natural establishments of orchids, the most species-rich plant family on Earth. However, the germination niches—which include both suitable biophysical conditions and orc...
Article
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The Rusty-spotted Cat Prionailurus rubiginosus is thought to be present in most forested areas of Sri Lanka. Though it was suggested that the species may occur in montane regions, there was no photographic evidence to date. Here we present the first photographic record of the Rusty-spotted Cat in Horton Plains National Park. Individuals including c...
Article
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Regime shifts–rapid long-term transitions between stable states–are well documented in ecology but remain controversial and understudied in land use and land cover change (LUCC). In particular, uncertainty surrounds the prevalence and causes of regime shifts at the landscape level. We studied LUCC dynamics in the Tanintharyi Region (Myanmar), which...
Article
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Forest fragmentation as a result of urbanisation can adversely affect gene flow between wildlife populations. Although gene flow among fragmented populations has been investigated for many species, there has been little research into the effects of urbanisation on gene flow in large mammals. Singapore is a small, densely urbanised tropical city-sta...
Article
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Abstract Effective conservation planning needs to consider the threats of cropland expansion to biodiversity. We used Myanmar as a case study to devise a modeling framework to identify which Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are most vulnerable to cropland expansion in a context of increasingly resolved armed conflict. We studied 13 major crops with th...
Article
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Urbanisation is expanding at an unprecedented rate, affecting multiple taxa the world over. Ex situ conservation practices in urban areas (e.g. managed relocation) can help mitigate species extinction. However, systematic evaluations of ex situ practices and quantification of niche spaces, especially in urban areas, are largely lacking. Using epiph...
Article
Molecular tools are crucial in the conservation management of small populations, but they have rarely been used for conservation of threatened plants, especially in the Tropics. Next-generation sequencing allows realistic access to detailed measurements of genetic diversity even in the rarest species. We used 12 170 genomic markers to investigate d...
Article
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Habitat loss and urbanisation in the tropics have been recognised as major drivers of species extinctions. Concurrently, novel habitats such as urban parks have been shown to be important as habitats and stepping stones in urban ecosystems around the world. However, few studies have assessed long-term patterns of species extinctions and discoveries...
Article
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Robust quantitative estimates of land use and land cover change are necessary to develop policy solutions and interventions aimed towards sustainable land management. Here, we evaluated the combination of Landsat and L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data to estimate land use/cover change in the dynamic tropical landscape of Tanintharyi, southe...
Article
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Aim: To determine the role of regional forcing on plot-level species diversity and composition, and to quantify the relative importance of biogeographical and climatic factors in explaining woody plant diversity and composition at the local-, island- and archipelago-scale. Location: Forty-one tropical islands of the Indo-Pacific region from Madagas...
Article
Molecular tools are crucial in the conservation management of small populations, but they have rarely been used for conservation of threatened plants, especially in the Tropics. Next-generation sequencing allows realistic access to detailed measurements of genetic diversity even in the rarest species. We used 12 170 genomic markers to investigate d...
Chapter
Illegal logging is a threat to protected areas, yet the factors motivating it need to be better understood. Here, rural household participation in timber felling in the Barisan I Nature Reserve is described, the household contextual factors relating to this participation analyzed, and the importance of these activities to household income assessed....
Article
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Knowledge about the biogeographic affinities of the world’s tropical forests helps to better understand regional differences in forest structure, diversity, composition, and dynamics. Such understanding will enable anticipation of region-specific responses to global environmental change. Modern phylogenies, in combination with broad coverage of spe...
Article
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Patterns of genetic structure are essential for a comprehensive understanding of the evolution and biogeography of a species. Here, we investigated the genetic patterns of one of the most widespread and abundant mangrove species in the Indo-West Pacific, Sonneratia alba J. Sm., in order to gain insights into the ecological and evolutionary drivers...
Article
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Political and economic transitions have had substantial impacts on forest conservation. Where transitions are underway or anticipated, historical precedent and methods for systematically assessing future trends should be used to anticipate likely threats to forest conservation and design appropriate and prescient policy measures to counteract them....
Article
Political and economic transitions have had substantial impacts on forest conservation. Where transitions are underway or anticipated, historical precedent and methods for systematically assessing future trends should be used to anticipate likely threats to forest conservation and design appropriate and prescient policy measures to counteract them....
Article
Full-text available
Conservation of faunal diversity in highly urbanized landscapes is facilitated through the integration of anthropogenic and natural elements in urban green spaces. Roof gardens have the potential to provide resources for urban wildlife populations, yet they typically offer marginal ecological conditions relative to ground-level habitat so it is nec...
Article
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Political transitions often trigger substantial environmental changes. In particular, deforestation can result from the complex interplay among the components of a system—actors, institutions, and existing policies—adapting to new opportunities. A dynamic conceptual map of system components is particularly useful for systems in which multiple actor...