Edge project in Brazil
I am collaborating with several researchers in Brazil in projects involving plants at edges or ecotones at various stages. I am collaborating with a research team in Brazil led by Milton Ribeiro to set up an experiment to test the effects of regenerating abandoned pasture on fragmented wildlife populations. Locating regeneration sites immediately next to forest edges will effectively increase the area of protected Atlantic forest for biodiversity conservation. Edges will also greatly enhance regeneration of these sites by providing access to seeds and pollinators through forest influence (effects of the adjacent forest on the regenerating disturbed area). However, abandoned pasture regenerating next to a patch of forest with a maintained edge might be hindered by the adjacent sidewall of vegetation (side canopy of branches, lianas etc.), which could act as a barrier or filter for seed and animal dispersal into the regenerating pasture.This project will provide a rare opportunity for a Ph.D. student to assess edge development at regenerating abandoned pasture – undisturbed forest transitions with and without a sidewall of vegetation; regeneration is rapid in this tropical ecosystem. The Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil is considered to be more diverse and threatened than the Amazon, with scattered forest remnants across mainly agricultural landscapes. Other research projects I am involed with include the change in vegetation structure and composition along an elevational gradient in the mountains near Rio de Janeiro and an investigation of the effects of an invasive ground cover plant at the edges of a large fragment of Atlantic Rainforest near Foz do Iguaçu.