R. T. Corlett

R. T. Corlett
Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden · Center for Integrative Conservation

BA Cantab. PhD A.N.U.

About

352
Publications
451,599
Reads
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18,345
Citations
Introduction
I am an Emeritus Professor in the Center for Integrative Conservation at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yunnan, China.
Additional affiliations
May 2012 - present
Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Position
  • Managing Director
June 2008 - May 2012
National University of Singapore
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Description
  • Taught ecology to undergraduates and graduates
January 1988 - June 2008
The University of Hong Kong
Position
  • Lecturer to Professor

Publications

Publications (352)
Article
Full-text available
The biological diversity on our planet is in crisis as a result of human activity, and the trends of different elements of biodiversity—species, ecosystems and genetic diversity—are almost all negative. The biodiversity crisis has been well documented by scientists (IPBES 2019) and recognized by world leaders and politicians (e.g., UN General Assem...
Article
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The exceptional density of plant and animal collectors and collections has made Singapore the world’s leading case study of tropical biodiversity under stress. Singapore shows how much native biodiversity can survive under extreme human pressure, but there are also other lessons that can be learned from this small island. Despite two centuries of c...
Article
Full-text available
• Hemiepiphytic figs killing their host trees is an ecological process unique to the tropics. Yet the benefits and adaptive strategies of their special life history remain poorly understood. • We compared leaf phosphorus (P) content data of figs and palms worldwide, and functional traits and substrate P content of hemiepiphytic figs (Ficus tinctori...
Article
Rates of seed dispersal have rarely been considered important. Here, we demonstrate through field observations and experiments that rapid dispersal is essential for the unusually short-lived seeds of Aquilaria sinensis (agarwood; Thymelaeaceae), which desiccate and die within hours of exposure by fruit dehiscence in the hot, dry forest canopy in tr...
Article
Conspecific negative distance- and density-dependence is believed to be one of the most important mechanisms controlling forest community assembly and species diversity globally. Plant pathogens, and insect and mammalian herbivores, are the most common natural enemy types that have been implicated in this phenomenon, but their general effects at di...
Article
Full-text available
: The draft post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework asks CBD parties to conserve at least 30% of the planet by 2030 ‘through a well-connected and effective system of protected areas … with the focus on areas particularly important for biodiversity’. We use Thailand as a case study for the ability of a densely populated, hyperdiverse, tropical, midd...
Article
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Although 23% of Thailand’s land is in protected areas, these are vulnerable to climate change. We used spatial distribution modelling for 866 vertebrate and 591 plant species to understand potential climate change impacts on species in protected areas. Most mammals, birds, and plants were projected to decline by 2070, but most amphibians and reptil...
Article
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Morphological approaches often fail to delimit species in recently derived species complexes. This can be exacerbated in historical collections which may have lost key features in specimen preparation and preservation. Here, we examine the Pedicularis siphonantha complex, endemic to the Mountains of Southwest China. This complex is characterized by...
Preprint
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Epiphytic communities live in a unique, three-dimensional micro-habitat space that offers an original framework to disentangle the contribution of environmental filters, biotic interactions and dispersal limitation to community structure at small spatial scales. We took advantage of a tropical canopy crane facility to record and model spatio-tempor...
Article
For tens of millions of years, herbivorous megafauna were abundant across the globe, fulfilling important ecological roles including seed dispersal. Megafruits are very large fruits that are dispersed most effectively by megafauna. However, megafruits also occur in ecosystems where megafauna are extinct or were never present, emphasizing our incomp...
Article
Full-text available
The hollies (Ilex L., Aquifoliaceae) form a large (>669 spp.) genus of forest trees and shrubs, which is almost cosmopolitan in mesic environments but most diverse in subtropical China and montane South America. Throughout the range of the genus, Ilex species have been utilized as beverages, medicines, ornamentals, honey plants, timber, and for var...
Article
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Southwest China is a plant diversity hotspot. The near-cosmopolitan genus Ilex (c. 664 spp., Aquifoliaceae) reaches its maximum diversity in this region, with many narrow-range and a few widespread species. Divergent selection on widespread species leads to local adaptation, with consequences for both conservation and utilization, but is counteract...
Article
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People are now impacting the natural environment at an unparalleled scale. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) warns that up to one million species may be threatened with extinction. Protected areas (PAs) represent a key conservation strategy for addressing human environmental impacts. In 201...
Article
Most biological invasion literature—including syntheses and meta-analyses and the resulting theory—is reported from temperate regions, drawing only minimally from the tropics except for some island systems. The lack of attention to invasions in the tropics results from and reinforces the assumption that tropical ecosystems, and especially the conti...
Article
Full-text available
The phylogenetic relationships between species of the genus Dumasia have been revealed by previous studies. However, some taxonomic problems still remain to be resolved. In this article, we recognize 10 species of Dumasia. We re-circumscribe D. yunnanensis Y. T. Wei & S. K. Lee, promote D. nitida var. kurziana Predeep & M. P. Nayar as a distinct sp...
Article
Stingless bees (Meliponini) form a large monophyletic group with a pantropical distribution. Southern China is on the northern border of this distribution in Asia, and previous studies have recorded a single species in Taiwan and twelve species in Yunnan. In this study, by extensive sampling from both natural nests and the nests of bee keepers in Y...
Article
Full-text available
Most biological invasion literature—including syntheses and meta-analyses and the resulting theory—is reported from temperate regions, drawing only minimally from the tropics except for some island systems. The lack of attention to invasions in the tropics results from and reinforces the assumption that tropical ecosystems, and especially the conti...
Article
Full-text available
The plastid genome (plastome) is highly conserved in both gene order and content and has a lower mutation rate than the nuclear genome. However, the plastome is more variable in heterotrophic plants. To date, most such studies have investigated just a few species or only holoheterotrophic groups, and few have examined plastome evolution in recently...
Chapter
Consumption of fleshy fruits by frugivorous animals, which then disperse the seeds inside, is a key ecological process, particularly in forests. Fruit is an easy food to consume but is nutritionally dilute so specialist frugivores need adaptations for efficient location, harvest, and digestion. High dependence on fleshy fruits has evolved in many b...
Article
Full-text available
It has been hypothesized that biotic interactions are stronger towards lower latitudes and elevations. However, results vary among interaction systems and experimental protocols. Our goal was to examine the validity of this prediction by using a standardized method to investigate seed-animal interaction. We assessed removal by animals for 40 960 se...
Article
Full-text available
Transboundary conservation plays an increasingly important role in maintaining ecosystem integrity and halting biodiversity loss caused by anthropogenic activities. Despite forceful appeals for global transboundary conservation, lack of information on species distributions in transboundary regions, and lack of understanding of the major threats in...
Article
Full-text available
Protected areas are the backbone of biodiversity conservation but vulnerable to climate change. Thailand has a large and well-planned protected area system, covering most remaining natural vegetation. A statistically derived global environmental stratification (GEnS) was used to predict changes in bioclimatic conditions across the protected area sy...
Article
Ecologists and conservation biologists conducting long-term research programs in the tropics must confront serious ethical challenges that revolve around economic inequalities, cultural differences, supporting the local communities as much as possible, and sharing the knowledge produced by the research. In this collective article, researchers share...
Article
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China is home to a small but expanding population of wild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Both research interest and conservation efforts have increased in recent years, but these have been fragmented. Here we present the results from a collaborative, multi-sectorial, multi-stakeholder exercise to identify priorities for Chinese elephant researc...
Article
Full-text available
Biodiversity science in China has seen rapid growth over recent decades, ranging from baseline biodiversity studies to understanding the processes behind evolution across dynamic regions such as the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. We review research, including species catalogues, biodiversity monitoring, the origins, distributions, maintenance, and threat...
Article
Full-text available
Biodiversity science in China has seen rapid growth over recent decades, ranging from baseline biodiversity studies to understanding the processes behind evolution across dynamic regions such as the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. We review research, including species catalogues; biodiversity monitoring; the origins, distributions, maintenance and threats...
Article
Conspecific negative distance- and density-dependence is often assumed to be one of the most important mechanisms controlling forest community assembly and species diversity globally. Plant pathogens, and insect and mammalian herbivores, are the most common natural enemy types that have been implicated in this phenomenon, but their general effects...
Article
Full-text available
The holly genus, Ilex, in the monogeneric Aquifoliaceae, is the largest woody dioecious genus (> 664 spp.), with a near‐cosmopolitan distribution in mesic environments. We constructed a phylogeny based on two nuclear genes, representing 177 species spread across the geographical range, and dated using macrofossil records. The five main clades had a...
Article
Full-text available
It has been hypothesized that biotic interactions are stronger towards lower latitudes and elevations. However, results vary among interaction systems and experimental protocols. Our goal was to examine the validity of this prediction by using a standardized method to investigate seed–animal interaction. We assessed removal by animals for 40 960 se...
Chapter
This 381-paged book covers the biology, ecology, impact and management of 34 common alien invasive species, with reviews on the history and context of avian introductions and invasions in five major regions (Oceania, Africa, Europe (including the Middle East, Asia and South America)), as well as management challenges and the potential of citizen sc...
Preprint
Full-text available
Conspecific negative distance- and density-dependence is believed to be one of the most important mechanisms controlling forest community assembly and species diversity globally. Plant pathogens, and insect and mammalian herbivores, are the most common natural enemy types that have been implicated in this phenomenon, but their general effects at di...
Article
Biochar can enhance crop production and sequester carbon, but there have been few studies with tree crops. Rubber plantations cover more than 8 million hectares in Southeast Asia, so we assessed the feasibility of biochar application in these plantations with a pot trial. Rubber seedlings were planted in soil with four concentrations (0, 1.25%, 2.5...
Article
Rubber plantations expanded in Southeast Asia at the expense of tropical forests. Projected future demand will likely be met by plantations in New Guinea and West Africa. A new study attempts to reconcile this rubber expansion with biodiversity conservation. This is an invited commentary on the article.
Article
Full-text available
Protected areas are the backbone of biodiversity conservation but are fixed in space and vulnerable to anthropogenic climate change. Myanmar is exceptionally rich in biodiversity but has a small protected area system. This study aimed to assess the potential vulnerability of this system to climate change. In the absence of good biodiversity data, w...
Article
Asking authors who have tested interventions to explain how they have placed their paper in context will help ensure conservation science reduces the perils of cherry picking scientific evidence and will improve the design of future work. It will not provide a complete remedy to bias in conservation articles. Ideally, the impact of this measure wil...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Until 50 years ago, Xishuangbanna was a heavy forest-covered region with high biodiversity. Attributed to the rubber boom that took place in the region during the last decades, natural forest area decreased quickly and was replaced by monoculture rubber plantations (Hevea brasiliensis). To slow down the deforestation rate and encourage...
Article
Full-text available
In the last 50 years, intensive agriculture has replaced large tracts of rainforests. Such changes in land use are driving niche-based ecological processes that determine local community assembly. However, little is known about the relative importance of these anthropogenic niche-based processes, in comparison to climatic niche-based processes and...
Article
Full-text available
Myanmar is botanically rich and floristically diverse: one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. However, Myanmar is still very unevenly explored, and until a plant checklist was published in 2003, relatively little work was done on its flora. This checklist included 11,800 species of spermatophytes in 273 families. Since this checklist was publish...
Article
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Vegetation in tropical Asia is highly diverse due to large environmental gradients and heterogeneity of landscapes. This biodiversity is threatened by intense land use and climate change. However, despite the rich biodiversity and the dense human population, tropical Asia is often underrepresented in global biodiversity assessments. Understanding h...
Article
Full-text available
Conserving biodiversity in the face of ever-increasing human pressure is hampered by our lack of basic information on species occurrence, distribution, abundance, habitat requirements , and threats. Obtaining this information requires efficient and sensitive methods capable of detecting and quantifying true occurrence and diversity, including rare,...
Article
Full-text available
The Anthropocene is marked by twin crises: climate change and biodiversity loss. Climate change has tended to dominate the headlines, reflecting, in part, the greater complexity of the biodiversity crisis. Biodiversity itself is a difficult concept. Land plants dominate the global biomass and terrestrial arthropods probably dominate in terms of num...
Article
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The outbreak of COVID-19 started in mid-December 2019 in Wuhan, China. Up to 29 February 2020, SARS-CoV-2 (HCoV-19 / 2019-nCoV) had infected more than 85 000 people in the world. In this study, we used 93 complete genomes of SARS-CoV-2 from the GISAID EpiFlu TM database to investigate the evolution and human-to-human transmissions of SARS-CoV-2 in...
Article
Full-text available
Hunting and deforestation are the two biggest threats to vertebrates in Southeast Asia. In the last 50 years, monoculture rubber plantations replaced large areas of tropical rainforests in Xishuangbanna, southwest China. We set up camera traps at 109 stations (57 in forest reserves and 52 in rubber plantations) to determine the distribution of mamm...
Presentation
Full-text available
The outbreak of COVID-19 started in mid-December 2019 in Wuhan, China. Up to 29 February 2020, SARS-CoV-2 (2019-nCoV) had infected more than 85 000 people in the world. In this study, we used 139 complete genomes of SARS-CoV-2 from the GISAID EpiFluTM database to investigate the evolution and human-to-human transmissions of SARS-CoV-2 in the first...
Article
Full-text available
Limiting climate change to less than 2°C is the focus of international policy under the climate convention (UNFCCC), and is essential to preventing extinctions, a focus of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The post-2020 biodiversity framework drafted by the CBD proposes conserving 30% of both land and oceans by 2030. However, the combin...
Article
Full-text available
Limiting climate change to less than 2°C is the focus of international policy under the climate convention (UNFCCC), and is essential to preventing extinctions, a focus of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The post‐2020 biodiversity framework drafted by the CBD proposes conserving 30% of both land and oceans by 2030. However, the combin...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background. The outbreak of COVID-19 started in mid-December 2019 in Wuhan, Central China. Up to February 18, 2020, SARS-CoV-2 has infected more than 70,000 people in China, and another 25 countries across five continents. In this study, we used 93 complete genomes of SARS-CoV-2 from the GISAID EpiFluTM database to decode the evolution and human-to...
Article
Full-text available
Research Highlights: The reasons for persistence of forest fragments in human-dominated landscapes have rarely been examined, despite their importance in biodiversity and ecosystem services. We determined these reasons for forest fragments on collective land in Xishuangbanna prefecture, southwest China. Background and Objectives: Reconciling econom...
Article
Species exposed to anthropogenic climate change can acclimate, adapt, move, or be extirpated. It is often assumed that movement will be the dominant response, with populations tracking their climate envelopes in space, but the numerous species restricted to specialized substrates cannot easily move. In warmer regions of the world, such edaphic spec...
Article
Full-text available
Spondias pinnata (Linn. f.) Kurz (Anacardiaceae) is widely distributed in tropical Asia, where it is commonly used as a vegetable and fruit, and is attracting increasing research attention. In this study, we investigated the chemical composition and the cytotoxic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory activities of the fruit peel essential oil of S....
Article
Full-text available
Background: The genus Ilex (Aquifoliaceae) has a near-cosmopolitan distribution in mesic habitats from tropical to temperate lowlands and in alpine forests. It has a high rate of hybridization and plastid capture, and comprises four geographically structured plastid groups. A previous study showed that the plastid rbcL gene, coding for the large s...
Article
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A key feature of life’s diversity is that some species are common but many more are rare. Nonetheless, at global scales, we do not know what fraction of biodiversity consists of rare species. Here, we present the largest compilation of global plant diversity to quantify the fraction of Earth’s plant biodiversity that are rare. A large fraction, ~36...
Article
Fungi are key organisms in terrestrial ecosystems, functioning as decomposers, pathogens, and symbionts. Identifying the mechanisms that shape metacommunity patterns is likely to be critical for predicting how ecosystems will respond to global environmental change. Using fungal occurrence data and a hierarchical approach that combines three element...
Article
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Fungi are among the most widely distributed organisms on Earth, performing key roles in nutrient cycling, disease, and the global carbon cycle. However, studies on regional-scale fungal assemblage patterns and the underlying drivers, are scarce. The aim of this research was to determine the relative importance of environmental heterogeneity and spa...
Article
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We reported in November 30, 2018 that a jumping spider, Toxeus magnus, feeds its juveniles with milk and provides extended parental care until they reach sexually maturity. Benoit et al. (February 07, 2019) pointed out that providing a nutritive substance to offspring is not uncommon in the Arthropoda and argued that spider milk should be considere...
Article
Full-text available
The expansion of rubber plantations in northern Southeast Asia over the last 20 years displaced shifting cultivation and tropical forests. In Xishuangbanna, SW China, rubber occupied 22% of the area by 2010, reducing lowland forest to scattered fragments, with severe impacts on plants, animals, and ecosystem services. The rubber price has declined...
Book
Tropical East Asia is home to over 1 billion people and faces massive human impacts from its rising population and rapid economic growth. It has already lost more than half of its forest cover and has the highest rates of deforestation and logging in the tropics. Hunting and the trade in wildlife products threaten all its large and many smaller ver...