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David Edwards

My research interests include the impacts of land-use change on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and the restoration ecology of degraded forests. I focus on these issues in Asia and direct my work towards conservation policy relevant questions. Studying birds, as well as a variety of other taxonomic groups, I identify the biodiversity value of undisturbed rainforest in Borneo and how the predominant forms of forest disturbance—selective logging and conversion to oil palm—affect the conservation value of the remaining habitat. I am also seeking to identify whether more environmentally sound logging techniques, which reduce the residual damage incurred during timber extraction, also offer additional biodiversity benefits.

My work highlights the high biodiversity value of degraded logged over lands, and I thus also search for novel sources of funding for the protection of these threatened forests, including restoration of forest carbon under a REDD+ future and Biodiversity Banking. In conjunction with Brendan Fisher (STEP) we combine these ecological data with economic costs and benefits of different management strategies to identify opportunities for biodiversity protection at minimal financial cost to conservation.
I received a BSc in Ecology (2000) and a PhD (2005) at University of East Anglia (UEA), UK. Subsequently, I have been working as a research fellow at the University of Leeds, UK. At STEP I will be working with Professor David Wilcove to continue my work on the Asian biodiversity crisis.
Selected Publications:
Edwards DP, Fisher BF, Boyd E. Protecting degraded rainforests: enhancement of forest carbon stocks under REDD+. Conservation Letters, in press.
Edwards DP, Larsen TH, Docherty TDS, Ansell FA, Hsu WW, Derhé MA, Hamer KC & Wilcove DS (2010) Degraded lands worth protecting: the biological importance of Southeast Asia’s repeatedly logged forests. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.1062
Edwards DP, Hodgson J, Hamer KC, Mitchell SL, Ahmad AH, Cornell S & Wilcove DS (2010) Wildlife-friendly oil palm plantations fail to protect biodiversity effectively. Conservation Letters DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2010.00107.x
Edwards DP, Ansell FA, Ahmad AH, Nilus R & Hamer KC (2009) The value of rehabilitating logged rainforest for birds. Conservation Biology 23:1628-1633.