Event Detail

6
Dec
2007

Tropical forests: deforestation and climate change

Stuart Davies
Thursday, 6 Dec 2007

THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY HONG KONG presents "Tropical forests: deforestation and climate change"
by Dr Stuart Davies on
Thursday, 6 December 2007 The Jardine Penthouse, 48/F Jardine House, One Connaught Place Complimentary Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm We are delighted to welcome to Hong Kong, Dr Stuart Davies, to lecture on checking the "health of the lungs of the earth" by researching how deforestation and climate change are affecting tropical forests. Dr Davies is a world expert on tropical forests and is the Director of the world Centre for Tropical Forest Science. The activities of the world's people have caused a 15 per cent. increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide in the past 40 years and are set to increase atmospheric CO2 levels even more dramatically in the coming decades. This increase, coupled with equally dramatic increases in other greenhouse gases, is having a profound effect on global climate, and terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems. Tropical deforestation continues at around 13 million hectares per year. This and other landuse change in the tropics contributes greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, reduces the ability of forest to regulate climates, and threatens the many species that are only known from tropical rain forests. Regrettably, there is a tremendous gap in our understanding of the role of tropical forests in the global carbon cycle, in regulating hydrological cycles, and the likely impact of these changing global conditions. The Center for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS) is developing methods to understand how deforestation and climate change are affecting tropical forests. CTFS coordinates research activities using standardised methods on forest plots ranging from 16148 hectares in 20 sites in 15 tropical forest countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The CTFS plots involve hundreds of scientists from more than two dozen institutions. Over the past 25 years, the CTFS network has formed the first actuarial table for tropical trees around the world, thus providing a basis for determining quantitatively how trees and forest ecosystems are responding to Earth's changing climate. This international collaboration is now monitoring the growth and survival of 3.5 million trees of over 6,500 species over 12 per cent. of all known tropical tree species to investigate key indicators of global environmental health. In this talk, Dr Davies discusses some of the key findings of this global network of tropical forest research. Dr Davies is the Director of the world Center for Tropical Forest Science. This programme coordinates a global network of 20 largescale tropical forest research plots in 15 countries. The goals of the CTFS programme are to: (i) to monitor representative biodiverse tropical forests of the world through a network of large longterm plots; (ii) to conduct research on the origin and maintenance of diversity in tropical forests; (iii) to understand the function of tropical forests and how tropical forests and their biodiversity can best be conserved, managed and used in sustainable ways for human benefit; and (iv) to develop opportunities in training, capacity building, education and international collaborative studies in tropical forest science. Dr Davies received his PhD. from Harvard University. He is a tropical ecologist and taxonomist specialising in the plants and ecosystems of Southeast Asia. Dr Davies's research investigates ecological and evolutionary influences on variation in rain forest communities across the tropics. Prior to becoming the Director of the CTFS, Dr Davies coordinated the Asia Programme of CTFS, which is cosponsored by Harvard University. Before joining CTFS, he was a Senior Research Associate at the Center for International Development at Harvard University and Associate Professor at the Institute for Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation, University of Malaysia Sarawak. This lecture is being held in the fine surroundings of the Jardine Penthouse. Members and their guests are most welcome to attend at HK$100 for Members, HK$150 for Members' guests and $200 others. This includes a complimentary drinks reception prior to the lecture.

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