William F. Laurance

William F. Laurance
James Cook University Brisbane · TESS- Centre for Tropical Environmental & Sustainability Science

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669
Publications
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69,277
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Publications

Publications (669)
Article
Full-text available
Lianas are increasing in abundance in many tropical forests. This increase can alter forest structure and decrease both carbon storage and tree diversity via antagonistic relationships between lianas and their host trees. Climate change is postulated as an underlying driver of increasing liana abundances, via increases in dry-season length, forest-...
Article
Biodiversity advocate and Amazon expert
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Full-text available
‘We have kicked the can down the road once again – but we are running out of road.’ – Rachel Kyte, Dean of Fletcher School at Tufts University. We, in our capacities as scientists, economists, governance and policy specialists, are shifting from warnings to guidance for action before there is no more ‘road.’ The science is clear and irrefutable; hu...
Preprint
Full-text available
For leaders, planners and people around the world facing uncertainty about actions to resolve our planetary crises, we offer a concrete framework for action. We take the six core areas identified for urgent action by humanity from our 2019 paper in BioScience, World Scientists Warning of a Climate Emergency, and convert these into a framework for c...
Article
Full-text available
(Replaces preprint) We have kicked the can down the road once again-but we are running out of road.'-Rachel Kyte, Dean of Fletcher School at Tufts University. We, in our capacities as scientists, economists, governance and policy specialists, are shifting from warnings to guidance for action before there is no more 'road.' The science is clear and...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Road‐infrastructure projects are expanding rapidly worldwide while penetrating into previously undisturbed forests. In Sumatra, Indonesia, a planned 88‐km‐long mining road for transporting coal would imperil the Harapan Forest, the island's largest surviving tract of lowland rainforest. Such roads often lead to increased forest encroachmen...
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Full-text available
The ability of animals to adjust their behaviour can influence how they respond to environmental changes and human presence. We quantified activity patterns of terrestrial mammals in oil palm plantations and native riparian forest in Colombia to determine if species exhibited behavioural changes depending on the type of habitat and the presence of...
Article
Tropical forests are the most diverse and productive ecosystems on Earth. While better understanding of these forests is critical for our collective future, until quite recently efforts to measure and monitor them have been largely disconnected. Networking is essential to discover the answers to questions that transcend borders and the horizons of...
Article
Full-text available
The forests of Amazonia are among the most biodiverse plant communities on Earth. Given the immediate threats posed by climate and land-use change, an improved understanding of how this extraordinary biodiversity is spatially organized is urgently required to develop effective conservation strategies. Most Amazonian tree species are extremely rare...
Article
Tropical forests are the most diverse and productive ecosystems on Earth. While better understanding of these forests is critical for our collective future, until quite recently efforts to measure and monitor them have been largely disconnected. Networking is essential to discover the answers to questions that transcend borders and the horizons of...
Article
Tropical forests are the most diverse and productive ecosystems on Earth. While better understanding of these forests is critical for our collective future, until quite recently efforts to measure and monitor them have been largely disconnected. Networking is essential to discover the answers to questions that transcend borders and the horizons of...
Preprint
Full-text available
In a time of rapid global change, the question of what determines patterns in species abundance distribution remains a priority for understanding the complex dynamics of ecosystems. The constrained maximization of information entropy provides a framework for the understanding of such complex systems dynamics by a quantitative analysis of important...
Article
The forests of Amazonia are among the most biodiverse plant communities on Earth. Given the immediate threats posed by climate and land-use change, an improved understanding of how this extraordinary biodiversity is spatially organized is urgently required to develop effective conservation strategies. Most Amazonian tree species are extremely rare...
Article
Full-text available
A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-20999-7.
Article
Full-text available
A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20537-x
Article
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Much of the lowland tropical forests in the Solomon Islands have been heavily logged. However, little is known about the recovery status of these forests. We examined factors that influenced the recovery of forest structural attributes within 50 years after selective logging on Kolombangara Island in the western Solomon Islands. Twelve study sites—...
Article
Full-text available
Many global environmental agendas, including halting biodiversity loss, reversing land degradation, and limiting climate change, depend upon retaining forests with high ecological integrity, yet the scale and degree of forest modification remain poorly quantified and mapped. By integrating data on observed and inferred human pressures and an index...
Article
Full-text available
The carbon sink capacity of tropical forests is substantially affected by tree mortality. However, the main drivers of tropical tree death remain largely unknown. Here we present a pan-Amazonian assessment of how and why trees die, analysing over 120,000 trees representing > 3800 species from 189 long-term RAINFOR forest plots. While tree mortality...
Chapter
Full-text available
Restoring heavily or repeatedly logged forests in the Solomon Islands is a growing priority given that economic pressures are frequently driving forest degradation to extreme levels. In such logged stands, damage can be so intense that natural regeneration is insufficient to allow floristic and functional recovery to pre-cut levels. Poor logging pr...
Article
Full-text available
The carbon sink capacity of tropical forests is substantially affected by tree mortality. However, the main drivers of tropical tree death remain largely unknown. Here we present a pan-Amazonian assessment of how and why trees die, analysing over 120,000 trees representing > 3800 species from 189 long-term RAINFOR forest plots. While tree mortality...
Article
Full-text available
The carbon sink capacity of tropical forests is substantially affected by tree mortality. However, the main drivers of tropical tree death remain largely unknown. Here we present a pan-Amazonian assessment of how and why trees die, analysing over 120,000 trees representing > 3800 species from 189 long-term RAINFOR forest plots. While tree mortality...
Article
Full-text available
Amazonian forests are extraordinarily diverse, but the estimated species richness is very much debated. Here, we apply an ensemble of parametric estimators and a novel technique that includes conspecific spatial aggregation to an extended database of forest plots with up-to-date taxonomy. We show that the species abundance distribution of Amazonia...
Article
Full-text available
Amazonian forests are extraordinarily diverse, but the estimated species richness is very much debated. Here, we apply an ensemble of parametric estimators and a novel technique that includes conspecific spatial aggregation to an extended database of forest plots with up-to-date taxonomy. We show that the species abundance distribution of Amazonia...
Article
Full-text available
Amazonian forests are extraordinarily diverse, but the estimated species richness is very much debated. Here, we apply an ensemble of parametric estimators and a novel technique that includes conspecific spatial aggregation to an extended database of forest plots with up-to-date taxonomy. We show that the species abundance distribution of Amazonia...
Article
Amazonian forests are extraordinarily diverse, but the estimated species richness is very much debated. Here, we apply an ensemble of parametric estimators and a novel technique that includes conspecific spatial aggregation to an extended database of forest plots with up-to-date taxonomy. We show that the species abundance distribution of Amazonia...
Article
Full-text available
Amazonian forests are extraordinarily diverse, but the estimated species richness is very much debated. Here, we apply an ensemble of parametric estimators and a novel technique that includes conspecific spatial aggregation to an extended database of forest plots with up-to-date taxonomy. We show that the species abundance distribution of Amazonia...
Article
Full-text available
Padma Bridge is the most challenging construction project in the history of Bangladesh. With its progress and impending completion it will open up huge prospects for local economy. But there is a downside, it also poses an increasing threat to an imperilled ecosystem – Sundarbans – the world's largest mangrove forest stretching over 10,000 square k...
Chapter
Full-text available
Fearnside, P.M., W.F. Laurance, M.A. Cochrane, S. Bergen, P.D. Sampaio, C. Barber, S. D’Angelo & T. Fernandes. 2020. O futuro da Amazônia: Modelos para prever as conseqüências da infraestrutura futura nos planos plurianuais. p. 161-180. In: Fearnside, P.M. (ed.) Destruição e Conservação da Floresta Amazônica, Vol. 1. Editora do INPA, Manaus. 368 p....
Article
Full-text available
Competition among trees is an important driver of community structure and dynamics in tropical forests. Neighboring trees may impact an individual tree’s growth rate and probability of mortality, but large‐scale geographic and environmental variation in these competitive effects has yet to be evaluated across the tropical forest biome. We quantifie...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many global environmental agendas, including halting biodiversity loss, reversing land degradation, and limiting climate change, depend upon retaining forests with high ecological integrity, yet the scale and degree of forest modification remains poorly quantified and mapped. By integrating data on direct and indirect forest pressures and lost fore...
Article
Full-text available
The forests of Borneo—the third largest island on the planet—sustain some of the highest biodiversity and carbon storage in the world. The forests also provide vital ecosystem services and livelihood support for millions of people in the region, including many indigenous communities. The Pan-Borneo Highway and several hydroelectric dams are planned...
Article
Full-text available
Road development in tropical forest landscapes is contentious. Local preferences are often subordinated to global economic and environmental concerns. Opportunities to seek solutions based on local context are rare. We examined local perspectives on road development within Cambodia’s Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary to explore opportunities for optimiz...
Article
Full-text available
Amazonian forests are extraordinarily diverse, but the estimated species richness is very much debated. Here, we apply an ensemble of parametric estimators and a novel technique that includes conspecific spatial aggregation to an extended database of forest plots with up-to-date taxonomy. We show that the species abundance distribution of Amazonia...
Article
Full-text available
Higher levels of taxonomic and evolutionary diversity are expected to maximize ecosystem function, yet their relative importance in driving variation in ecosystem function at large scales in diverse forests is unknown. Using 90 inventory plots across intact, lowland, terra firme, Amazonian forests and a new phylogeny including 526 angiosperm genera...
Article
Full-text available
Higher levels of taxonomic and evolutionary diversity are expected to maximize ecosystem function, yet their relative importance in driving variation in ecosystem function at large scales in diverse forests is unknown. Using 90 inventory plots across intact, lowland, terra firme, Amazonian forests and a new phylogeny including 526 angiosperm genera...
Article
Full-text available
Approximately 20% of the Brazilian Amazon has now been deforested, and the Amazon is currently experiencing the highest rates of deforestation in a decade, leading to large‐scale land‐use changes. Roads have consistently been implicated as drivers of ongoing Amazon deforestation and may act as corridors to facilitate species invasions. Long‐term da...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forests are known for their high diversity. Yet, forest patches do occur in the tropics where a single tree species is dominant. Such “monodominant” forests are known from all of the main tropical regions. For Amazonia, we sampled the occurrence of monodominance in a massive, basin-wide database of forest-inventory plots from the Amazon Tr...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forests are known for their high diversity. Yet, forest patches do occur in the tropics where a single tree species is dominant. Such “monodominant” forests are known from all of the main tropical regions. For Amazonia, we sampled the occurrence of monodominance in a massive, basin-wide database of forest-inventory plots from the Amazon Tr...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forests are known for their high diversity. Yet, forest patches do occur in the tropics where a single tree species is dominant. Such “monodominant” forests are known from all of the main tropical regions. For Amazonia, we sampled the occurrence of monodominance in a massive, basin-wide database of forest-inventory plots from the Amazon Tr...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forests are known for their high diversity. Yet, forest patches do occur in the tropics where a single tree species is dominant. Such “monodominant” forests are known from all of the main tropical regions. For Amazonia, we sampled the occurrence of monodominance in a massive, basin-wide database of forest-inventory plots from the Amazon Tr...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forests are known for their high diversity. Yet, forest patches do occur in the tropics where a single tree species is dominant. Such “monodominant” forests are known from all of the main tropical regions. For Amazonia, we sampled the occurrence of monodominance in a massive, basin-wide database of forest-inventory plots from the Amazon Tr...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forests are known for their high diversity. Yet, forest patches do occur in the tropics where a single tree species is dominant. Such “monodominant” forests are known from all of the main tropical regions. For Amazonia, we sampled the occurrence of monodominance in a massive, basin-wide database of forest-inventory plots from the Amazon Tr...
Article
Tropical forests are known for their high diversity. Yet, forest patches do occur in the tropics where a single tree species is dominant. Such "monodominant" forests are known from all of the main tropical regions. For Amazonia, we sampled the occurrence of monodominance in a massive, basin-wide database of forest-inventory plots from the Amazon Tr...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forests are known for their high diversity. Yet, forest patches do occur in the tropics where a single tree species is dominant. Such "monodominant" forests are known from all of the main tropical regions. For Amazonia, we sampled the occurrence of monodominance in a massive, basin-wide database of forest-inventory plots from the Amazon Tr...
Article
Full-text available
The Heart of Borneo initiative has promoted the integration of protected areas and sustainably-managed forests across Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. Recently, however, member states of the Heart of Borneo have begun pursuing ambitious unilateral infrastructure-development schemes to accelerate economic growth, jeopardizing the underlying goal of...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forest regions in equatorial Africa are threatened with degradation, deforestation and biodiversity loss as a result of land-cover change. We investigated historical land-cover dynamics in unprotected forested areas of the Littoral Region in south-western Cameroon during 1975–2017, to detect changes that may influence this important biodiv...
Article
Full-text available
The island of New Guinea hosts the third largest expanse of tropical rainforest on the planet. Papua New Guinea-comprising the eastern half of the island-plans to nearly double its national road network (from 8,700 to 15,000 km) over the next three years, to spur economic growth. We assessed these plans using fine-scale biophysical and environmenta...
Article
Full-text available
Roads facilitate development in remote forest regions, often with detrimental consequences for ecosystems. In the Congo Basin, unpaved logging roads used by timber firms, as well as paved and unpaved public roads, have expanded greatly. Comparing old (before 2003) and new (2003–2018) road datasets derived from Landsat imagery, we show that the tota...
Article
Assessing the persistent impacts of fragmentation on aboveground structure of tropical forests is essential to understanding the consequences of land use change for carbon storage and other ecosystem functions. We investigated the influence of edge distance and fragment size on canopy structure, aboveground woody biomass (AGB), and AGB turnover in...
Article
Full-text available
While the conservation role of remaining natural habitats in anthropogenic landscapes is clear, the degree to which agricultural matrices impose limitations to animal use is not well understood, but vital to assess species’ resilience to land use change. Using an occupancy framework, we evaluated how oil palm plantations affect the occurrence and h...
Article
The Sundarbans, in southern coastal Bangladesh, is the world's largest surviving mangrove habitat and the last stronghold of tiger adapted to living in a mangrove ecosystem. Using MaxEnt (maximum entropy mod- eling), current distribution data, land-use/land cover and bioclimatic variables, we modeled the likely future distribution of the globally e...
Article
Lianas (woody climbers) are structural parasites of trees that compete with them for light and below-ground resources. Most studies of liana–tree interactions are based on ground-level observations of liana stem density and size, with these assessments generally assumed to reflect the amount of liana canopy cover and overall burden to the tree. We...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan) sustains ~37 million hectares of native tropical forest. Numerous large-scale infrastructure projects aimed at promoting land-development activities are planned or ongoing in the region. However, little is known of the potential impacts of this new infrastructure on Bornean forests or biodiversity. We found t...
Article
Full-text available
Most of the planet's diversity is concentrated in the tropics, which includes many regions undergoing rapid climate change. Yet, while climate-induced biodiversity changes are widely documented elsewhere, few studies have addressed this issue for lowland tropical ecosystems. Here we investigate whether the floristic and functional composition of in...
Article
Full-text available
Road-infrastructure development in Southeast Asia is opening new resource frontiers but also consolidating earlier investments in agriculture and trade, as illustrated by the 2,700-km Trans-Sumatra Highway planned for Sumatra, Indonesia. In contrast to earlier broadscale forest losses in Sumatra, driven historically in Sumatra infrastructure and ag...